The Showroom is a contemporary and spacious environment with the exclusive distribution contracts for eight Fashion brands from both the UK and European countries. The company expanded rapidly in its first number of years and as it approaches it’s sixth year of trading, the focus is now on consolidating the operation – growing brands in the market, staying fresh and being aware of which brands may be coming to the end of their lifespan. With 300 accounts both in the Republic and Northern Ireland, The Showroom trades in both Euro and Sterling.
The business is run by Barbara Meade, a UCC graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and Master’s Degree in Electronic Business and Commerce. Barbara gained her grounding experience in the fashion industry in London before moving back to Dublin.
“I saw a niche in the market for a contemporary space showcasing commercially priced, high-quality brands, and opened up The Showroom – with its offices, showroom and warehouse all located at one site in Dublin’s Fashion City, Ireland’s hub for fashion businesses,” says Barbara.
The nature of the business is based on both forward orders – they work a season ahead, meaning that cashflow is a huge consideration as it can take months to get paid in full. Plus, they are close to season brands, allowing the buyer to be reactionary to the ever-changing market place.
Their bigger brands can turn over €300,000 – €400,000 per season, with the requirement for The Showroom to pay 50% up front. Newer brands that come on board need to be paid 100% up front for delivery of goods so, as a result, The Showroom is constantly turning cash around, particularly during their busy periods of July to October and January to April.
Working with Bibby Financial Services Ireland
For The Showroom, there is a two-fold benefit to working with Bibby Financial Services Ireland. Firstly, it allows Babara to offer better credit terms to customers, and this in turn has the knock-on effect of aiding sales turnover.
Barbara already understood invoice finance as a result of her time working with a previous employer. The advantages of having an invoice finance facility to support the working capital requirement of the business as it grew was, therefore, obvious to her. As a result, Barbara and her team at The Showroom have been using invoice finance since the business was founded, helping her to hit the ground running. Bibby Financial Services Ireland now work with Barbara and her team on an ongoing basis to ensure the cash keeps turning to meet the needs of the business, offering Barbara real peace of mind.
Brexit will be a challenge for the company, particularly as they work on a 32-county basis and have a number of UK based brands. They’re already trying to address this with their NI customers by only converting Euro priced brands on the day of invoicing and not on the day of order, which could potentially be six months in advance of invoicing. This measure allows the best possible conversion rate for buyers.
With her three UK based and operated brands, Barbara has already begun taking steps, in conjunction with her debtors, to avoid the difficulty and additional costs that a no deal Brexit may bring. This preplanning will help to avoid the potential pitfalls of brands increasing in price to the extent of pricing them out of the market space they exist in and delay on speed of goods to market.
Barbara also anticipates transport challenges due to predicted restrictions at UK hubs. With most of the brands being transported through the UK, conversations are underway on how to navigate the issues post Brexit and work through potential strategies with their existing brands, with some already re-routing through distribution hubs in the Netherlands.
Despite challenging and uncharted times ahead, Barbara is certain that with the support of Bibby Financial Services Ireland, The Showroom will continue to trade confidently through the period to come.
You can find out more about The Showroom at theshowroom.ie.