We are in the business of fashion & textiles. We are the UK voice and meeting place for suppliers of fashion & textiles providing: practical support, export advice, information exchange and a voice - to government - to retailers.
Much has been written about how easy/difficult it is for UK companies, especially designer start-ups, to access finance. Whilst access to trade finance and investments remains an issue for the industry, at least two of the high street banks (Royal Bank of Scotland/Natwest and HSBC) regard our industry as being of great interest and have extensive dealings with fashion companies in particular. Branch managers/bank personnel, especially where there are concentrations of fashion and textile companies, often have a far better understanding of the specific issues facing companies in the sector than those based elsewhere.
Raising business finance is complex and needs to be done carefully. The fashion, accessories and textile industries have often suffered from a negative perception as potential investors have felt that the industry is a difficult one in which to run profitable businesses. Certainly, there have been many horror stories about companies whose relationships with private backers have turned sour, usually because the backer has failed to understand the cash-flow implications of running a fashion brand and expected a faster return. And yet, there are plenty of companies in this industry running profitable businesses and a report recent commissioned by the Demos Think Tank (“Risky Business” please see our Publications pages) confirmed that many companies in this sector potentially represent good potential for investors.
At any stage of raising business finance, good financial disciplines and access to accurate legal and financial information are essential. A number of UKFT’s Associates will be happy to offer their services to UKFT members, often at preferential rates. UKFT can also link members at varying stages of the process to make sure that members are able to ask questions of companies in the sector which have been through the process. In addition, UKFT runs seminars on this and other important topics throughout the year.
The following document is intended to help UKFT members to consider whether they could be a potential candidate for investment and what they need to look out for.