Programme: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Having dedicated funds to buying in stock for Royal Ascot 2020, London tailors Oliver Brown were left significantly short when the lockdown was enforced and the racing event took place without spectators. With a huge drop in sales and demand overall, the business had to find working capital elsewhere, and so applied to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Read what it had to say in this CBILS case study.
British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your organisation does?
Kristian Ferner Robson, proprietor of Oliver Brown: Oliver Brown is a specialist London-based tailoring business for gentlemen, offering wedding attire, casualwear, top hats and accessories, and a bespoke garment service.
The coronavirus has affected a huge number of businesses across the UK. What problems were you facing as a result of the outbreak and what made you apply for CBILS support?
We made the decision to close the shop and head office in mid-March, as we didn’t believe it was possible to continue trading without putting the health of customers and staff at risk during the coronavirus outbreak. Once the Government announced a few days later that retail and leisure businesses were to close, we felt our decision was justified.
Obviously, the closure was hugely detrimental to our business, which by its very nature involves face-to-face dealing with clients. As part of our normal business operations, we’d stocked up in advance of Royal Ascot 2020. However, the imposed lockdown meant the public weren’t permitted to attend, which amounted to far fewer sales. The coronavirus has further contributed to reduced sales overall and virtually no demand for wedding attire.
How long did the application process take? Did you need any support?
Our CBILS loan was released within two weeks, and we received all the necessary support from Arkle Finance, who were great. The whole system was very efficient and we couldn’t be more grateful – truly a brilliant outcome.
Don’t hesitate to apply for CBILS, if, like many businesses, you need financial assistance in these very uncertain economic times.
Kristian Ferner Robson, proprietor of Oliver Brown
What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying for a CBILS loan?
Don’t hesitate to apply, if, like many businesses, you need financial assistance in these very uncertain economic times.
How has the CBILS loan helped your organisation to weather the outbreak? And what might have happened if you hadn’t received it?
We used our CBILS loan for working capital during the lockdown, and to pay for Royal Ascot stock. However, we won’t be able to sell that stock until Ascot 2021, due to the 2020 event taking place behind closed doors.