Trading for: 5 years
Location: St Albans
Reason for funding
Stock for the Christmas season
- Unsecured business loan
- Fixed repayments
- £25,000 over 18 months
- Funding time: four days
- £65,000 lent in total
- Purchase of additional stock ahead of Christmas season
The mission was to open a toy shop in St Albans – the quaint Hertfordshire market town. Longtime local resident, Kirit Kumar, had noticed that among the bustling street markets and high street retailers, the town’s children were not catered for.
Kirit made it his quest to open a series of independent toy stores, driven by fond memories of picking out toys and games in shops as a boy. This nostalgia compelled him to bring that magical experience back to his community.
Kirit started by creating the Cuthberts Toys brand by naming it after Fireman Cuthbert - a character from the 1960s hit children’s TV programme, Trumpton. Opening its doors for the first time in September 2009, Kirit flung himself into the unknown as a first-time small business owner. But since then, he has grown Cuthberts into an award-winning business, with an online shop and four popular stores around Hertfordshire.
Certainly not child’s play
Running a toy store is by no means child’s play - strong commercial acumen is just one of the building blocks of a successful retail enterprise. Even with a steady stream of revenue, a loyal customer base and continuous expansion, Kirit inevitably experiences dips in cash flow during the slower months. Sometimes, maintaining a busy SME makes Battleships seem easy - Kirit is always planning his next move.
He needs to predict the new crazes and, with 70% of Cuthberts’ annual revenue coming in over the Christmas period, his stock orders need to be right on the button. Not only that, but lead times for orders taking up to 4 months to arrive, so a magician-like ability to balance the finances is crucial. As is knowing when external funding can help.