Before coronavirus, Shropshire-based Capital Cashmere relied on county shows, game fairs, horse events and pop up shops to sell its cashmere clothing and accessories. With lockdown in place and cashflow tied up in stock and event deposits, owner Alan Ball had no alternative but to furlough his employee.
Discussions with Santander identified a multi-solution approach to help support the business. A Bounce Back Loan was secured to help manage cashflow challenges. Next, Alan and his Santander business manager, Sue Lane, turned their attention to how Capital Cashmere could adapt and keep selling its range of products, which are manufactured in Scotland.
Sue introduced Alan to Elavon, a leading provider of payment-processing solutions. The relationship was off to a warm start with Alan keen to set up an online shop so his customers could keep buying. The result is Capital Cashmere’s brand-new website and online shop, all powered by Elavon. Alan and his employee are now back serving customers at events and, for the first time, its luxury cashmere products can be bought online too – no matter where the customer is.
Alan Ball, Owner of Capital Cashmere, commented: “Both Santander and Elavon have been extremely supportive. The Bounce Back Loan was pivotal to my business surviving the past few months. Through Santander, I connected with Elavon who gave me the opportunity to set up a website and online shop, which meant we could keep operating and has opened up new opportunities for the business.”
Sue Lane, Business Banking Manager for Liverpool, Stoke and North Wales, Santander UK, commented: “Alan is extremely passionate and determined to make his business a success. Like so many small business owners he’s invested a lot of his time, energy and funds to achieve this. I am delighted we have been able to support him to successfully adapt his business.”
Richard Nash, Regional Sales Director Business Banking, West Midlands, Elavon, commented: “Overnight coronavirus put the brakes on Capital Cashmere’s sales. Given the face-to-face nature of his business, Alan was keen to innovate and explore new options. We’re delighted that our ‘shop-in-a-box’ solution is such a great fit for Alan and his business. It’s fantastic to see the website up and running and Capital Cashmere’s range of fantastic products reaching a wider customer base.”
Santander UK has published new research exploring the impact of the pandemic on businesses. The research revealed that a third of SME leaders feel anxious about the future of their business with only a fifth (19%) expecting to return to normal operating levels by the end of 2020 and almost a third (32%) by July 2021.
The majority (60%) of leaders at SMEs are worried about their ability to attract customers back as the economy re-opens, with nearly a fifth (18%) concerned about the level of investment in marketing needed to restore customer spending to pre-coronavirus levels.
The findings come as Santander launches a business support programme, ‘Survive and Revive’ designed to help businesses transition successfully out of the lockdown and ensure they have the capabilities and tools to prosper in a post-pandemic environment.