Hair and beauty
After years of working in a barbershop in Soho, London, business owner Bobby Gordon was ready for a change. He wanted to take his experience and do something new with it; and so, 10 years ago, he took on a rundown barbershop in Canterbury and opened Fella.
“I saw a gap in the market with the Canterbury shop,” says Bobby. “It’s a student town so there’s a lot of demand. I used my experience from the city and just took it to the suburbs. When we opened, I did it alone for 1 and a half years before taking on more staff.”
It wasn’t long until - in Bobby’s words - “the barbering scene blew up”. Word of Fella spread through the area fast and so the business grew in tandem; with more customers calling for more staff - and more chairs too. But in order to fuel the business’ growth, Bobby would need funding.
“We were looking to expand and add new chairs to the shop. So we spoke to Liberis Finance about their flexible funding solutions and took out our first Business Cash Advance with them in 2015. It was super helpful from the start, I just couldn’t fault it,” he says. “The extra funding meant we could flip the shop over and refit it entirely - whilst only paying it off as our customers paid us. We managed to fit another chair in to the shop and, as soon as we had that, things started to get really busy.”
Besides the additional funding, Bobby puts a lot of his business’ success down to the use of social media and the engagement of his customers: “We’ve had a lot of support via word of mouth and getting involved in the local community. The area has changed a lot in the last few years, and there are now a lot of independent businesses too. We all want to see each other to succeed, especially along these coastal towns.”
“Myself and two friends of mine even set up a magazine to share news about all the cool things going on in our area. I’ve got the small business connections and they’ve got the knowhow about the media publishing industry. It’s great for marketing the barbershop and getting involved with nearby shoots.”
Following the brand’s success in Canterbury, Bobby decided to open a second barbershop in Folkestone; and later, a weekend popup in Margate. Pleased with the smooth payment system and speedy access to funding, he chose to return to Liberis Finance when looking to fund his ideas:
“I like that fact that I can get the money quickly and within about 6 months it’s all paid off. That’s the winning ticket for me. And because money often comes in in dribs and drabs, paying as a percentage of our takings means we don’t even notice the payments going,” says Bobby. “It’s helped us massively. From my personal experience, I couldn’t recommend it enough.”
Bobby and his team have just completed the basement refurbishment for the Folkestone shop, kitting it out for wedding packages and private bookings. But what’s next?
“Ultimately we’re just riding the wave whilst things are going good,” he says. “But, speaking with some old colleagues of mine, I have ideas for a London branch and potentially franchising the business further down the line. We’ll need to get the funds together to make any of this happen, so we may need Liberis’ help again soon!”