Secco, based at Vigo Place in Aldridge, offers a wide-range of products for the outdoor industry including the renowned Flexidome and Ridgidome quick erect tents and campervan and motorhome awnings which it sells online, at its store in Somerset and through a carefully selected group of retailers.
The company’s largest market includes the sale of its Khyam brand tents and awnings – a name synonymous with quick erect tents. The brand was introduced to the market 25 years ago and has since expanded into the family camping and motorhome market with over 30 models available.
Secco will use the cash injection to increase Khyam stock in the run-up to the outdoor camping season and to also support the development and launch of a new caravan awning range.
Nicholas Roberts, financial director at Secco, said: “Unprecedented demand last year saw popular Khyam stock lines sell out way before the end of the season. Allowing for manufacturing lead times and delivery, it was necessary for Secco to re-order swiftly.
“Sales usually start to increase from March onwards and peak in July and August – because Khyam is our biggest selling brand it is essential that we keep stock fluid.
“The £325,000 has allowed us to get ahead of the game providing additional working capital which has enabled us to increase stock levels across the whole brand. “We are also looking to bring a range of Khyam caravan awning products to the market later this year so the funding has supported with the development and stocking of that.
“Obtaining the investment was a really simple process. Lloyds bank introduced us to Ludgate Finance which is a specialist in raising business loans in the peer-to-peer lending market. “The ThinCats network then allows you to monitor the process and it was really interesting to see the figure rise. I think we all realised the popularity of the brand and also the trust people must have in it.”
David Grocott, of Ludgate Finance, said peer-to-peer lending networks such as ThinCats are a well-suited alternative for businesses seeking investment.
“In this case, Secco needed to raise finance in quite a short period of time to have the ability to increase its stock and prepare for what is usually its busiest trading period,” he said.
“It is particularly important for seasonal businesses to have that initial injection of working capital to be able to take advantage of an increase in demand but traditional lending isn’t always viable.
“Secco had a number of industry shows in the pipeline when it sought advice and thanks to the efficiency of securing the loan through the ThinCats network it has been able to replenish its stock.”
Secco was formed in April 2014 following the merger of Khyam and Somerset Camping. The group supplies a number of outdoor camping ranges including Wynnster, Alpinus and Campus.
Nigel Turner, product director at Secco, said the investment will help to boost the company’s success.
“The motorhome market continues to be our biggest area of growth but we have also seen steady growth across our tent and family camping range,” he said.
“In the past, we were wholesaling the products to retailers but we now also sell direct to customers via online sites, industry shows and at our store Somerset Camping which is based in Taunton.
“Our focus now is to export overseas. We often have enquiries from customers and retailers in Europe and would like to expand into Denmark and Germany.”