Specialist branded merchandise agency secures £1.35m funding and CBILS loan from IGF

Specialist branded merchandise agency, HMA Creative, has secured a £1.35m funding facility from Independent Growth Finance (IGF), which combines a CBILS loan and confidential invoice discounting solution.

The Aylesbury-based creative agency provides promotional marketing merchandising to some of the leading drinks brands in the UK, such as Jameson Whiskey, Absolut, and Malibu. The team of product engineers, designers and production managers primarily work in the realm of drinks, beauty and clothing. In recent years, the agency has put emphasis on creating designs for environmentally friendly products and ethical warehouse and distribution practices.

HMA Creative primarily sources items from manufacturers with long lead times. This can result in client invoice payments coming in months after initial costs are paid. The agency needed to source funding for additional headroom to avoid supplier payment delays as a result of COVID-19. Most customers pay their invoices to terms of 30 or 45 days, but HMA Creative wanted to prepare for the potential risk of late payment and supplier delivery delays.

Sue Hurst, Managing Director of HMA Creative, explains: “Initially, we went to a high street bank, but ultimately we needed a more flexible facility to see us through this next chapter. Every day has been different and sprung on new challenges since the start of lockdown. The facility had to be put in place quickly to allow for a 6-month window starting in August and then ramping up to our peak trading in October and November. Not only did this funding give the business a safeguard, it ensured we could keep our team employed ahead of a recession.”

The £50k bounce back loan offered by a high street bank didn’t provide the headroom that HMA Creative needed. By combining an invoice discounting and CBILS facility, IGF was able to provide three times the funding amount and the flexibility needed for growth.

Jeff Greenfield, ABL Director at IGF, added: “When HMA Creative initially approached us back in March, they were simply looking to see what an ABL provider could offer them as an alternative to the high-street banks. With the onset of lockdown headroom became the primary focus and, within a couple of days, IGF offered a solution that fit their specific requirements. In the end, we built a flexible facility that combined invoice discounting and £150,000 CBILS support.”

Sue Hurst, Managing Director of HMA Creative, explains: “The entertainment industry has always been strong and resilient. I have no doubt it will bounce back. It may take some time, which allows us the time right now to build out creative ideas for the coming year.”

Nigel Goodman, Audit Partner at Barnes Roffe, provides tax and accountancy guidance to HMA Creative and was the introducer on the company’s deal with IGF: “This funding has given HMA Creative the headroom to focus on driving the business, rather than firefighting cashflow management. As a result, they’re able to look beyond the challenges of Covid-19 and position themselves to succeed in the future.

“We moved away from high street banks, as we simply weren’t getting the flexibility or speed we needed. Jeff and the IGF team were honest, transparent and demonstrated a strong understanding of the industry. By always asking the sensible questions, they supported us in getting to the right solution. They also introduced us to Golding McEvoy, who sourced a very comprehensive credit insurance policy for the business. IGF provides more than just finance – they provide complete solutions.”