Growth Street enabled Squint to reach new markets and customers with their bespoke, hand-crafted products.
Who are Squint?
Squint is a British luxury design house. It was founded in 2005 by Lisa Whatmough with only a credit card and a vision for the future. Coming from an art background she felt divorced from her audience by the gallery system. Her motivation comes from creating products she loves and that she is proud of putting into the world. Her goal when starting her business was to grow her own brand and company, while maintaining the feel of a small business.
They started with a small space in Shoreditch and have now grown to serving international markets. With Lisa leading the way Squint is an ambitious and developing business, constantly pushing the boundaries and expanding the world of art, design and furniture.
What was their challenge?
Squint’s biggest single market is China, which can be tricky and expensive to import into. They sell through the largest luxury reseller out there and online sales has grown 300% over the last year. Building presence in international markets is touch business. You often have to deal with tricky import procedures, and staying ahead of the curve with marketing and product development is challenging.
As the business develops Lisa is understanding that one income stream is no longer enough and that along with retail, wholesale, trade fairs, design, licensing and collaborative partnerships are key to Squint’s development and their marketing strategy. But undertaking this kind of brand and awareness growth campaign puts pressure on finances.
Finding a solution
Working on a wide array of different projects to support and fuel growth in different markets Lisa had to look for a solution on how to finance suppliers, manufacturing and exports for new product ranges. This process can be long and arduous, and she was determined to remain focused on running her business rather than chasing relationship managers at the bank.
“A Growth Street facility allowed us to invest in new products and marketing without having to give up equity and control”
Working with Growth Street
Being able to access the full amount of her limit helped Lisa be responsive in relation to investment in new products and sales and marketing. It also gave her a flexible funding partner that understood the intricacies of her business as well as her strategy and ambitions.
What does the future hold?
Squint are now launching a more involved soft home collection in the US. These new products will be their calling card into new international wholesale market as the initial investment will be small for buyers and easy to post on.
They are also developing their interior design in the UAE with established English designers based there. Equally exciting is their new partnership with Morgan and their London dealership. The partnership will produce a limited edition of Squint for Morgan cars – with international sales in mind. This type of project is perfect to push Squint in to lifestyle design and should take them into a new type of market.
As Lisa says:
“We are a small business with big ambitions and I love it!”