Trading for: 17 months
Reason for funding
Buy more stock and open new showroom
- Unsecured business loan
- Fixed repayments
- £20,000 over 12 months
- Funding time: two days
- Purchase of additional stock
- Completion and launch of showroom
One of the core principles of starting a business is identifying a gap in the market for your product or service. Ben Pearson, founder of Scunthorpe-based plus-size clothing retailer Big Clothing 4 U did just that, realizing that larger men were ill-catered for in the clothing market.
Ben founded Big Clothing 4 U in August 2015, having grown frustrated at the lack of properly fitting garments on the high street for bigger men. Having found that traditional high-street fashion outlets tend to cater only for men of small to extra-large build, Ben began to look at retailers specializing in plus-size clothing. And whilst many of these retailers had a good product offering for larger men, he found that too many of them simply “scaled up” regular fitting garments, rather than making garments that were designed to fit bigger chests and waistlines.
Determined to solve this problem, Ben established Big Clothing 4 U in his native Scunthorpe. Starting out in an industrial unit lying in the shadows of the Tata Steel Plant and Scunthorpe Steel Works, Ben set about rapidly building his business from scratch. Although not exactly the most conventional of locations for a high-quality clothing retailer, it suits Ben’s customers perfectly.
Building the brand
Despite some initial early success, Ben didn’t rest on his laurels, regularly growing his product offering to include well-known brands such as Espionage, Ed Baxter London and Kam Jeanswear. Steadfastly focused on superb customer service and experience, he’s also introduced a free returns options for customers and a same-day dispatch service.
Since establishing the business, Ben has expanded his product offering online, setting up Big Clothing 4 U’s website, as well as shops on both eBay and Amazon, allowing him to reach a global audience. It was at this point that the young entrepreneur began to look at the next steps for his business – the most pressing being the expansion of his premises to include a customer showroom.
However, with regular business expenses and the purchase of new stock leaving Ben in a tight cashflow situation, he realized that completion of the showroom would require some additional capital. He first turned to the bank that had lent him the money to get his business off the ground. Yet despite Big Clothing 4 U experiencing a good level of growth in a relatively short amount of time, Ben found that the bank that had helped him launch his business was now reluctant to lend. His business profile didn’t match the lending criteria, which the bank had tightened up since the recession.