How this luxury dog accessories business increased turnover by more than 200% in a year
At a glance
A small business loan and a line of credit from Prospa helped PUPSTYLE founders Tatum and Adam Ioannidis to:
- Quickly restock products to fulfil an unexpected influx of orders
- Have funds on hand to take advantage of new opportunities
- Triple the business’s revenue in the past year
At the start of the pandemic, Tatum Ioannidis predicted that her fledgling side hustle creating stylish dog accessories would come to an end. Who would want to buy fancy matching gingham harnesses and bandanas, or high-end vegan leather collars and leads for their canine companions during this challenging time?
As it turned out, a lot more people than Tatum predicted.
Lengthy lockdowns resulted in a high demand for puppies and these new dog mums and dads wanted fashionable accessories for their new family member.
It was this lack of style in pet products that led Tatum and Adam to start PUPSTYLE in 2017 they welcomed miniature dachshund Pippa into their lives.
“We went to the pet shop to buy a harness, lead and all the things you need for your dog and it was such a letdown,” she says. “A lot of the products were cheap, flimsy and ugly. PUPSTYLE is our solution for modern pet parents looking for fashionable, durable, functional and comfortable accessories that match their own personal style.”
American dog-lovers were the first to clamor for PUPSTYLE’s products at the start of the pandemic. “Our US market went bananas,” according to Tatum. “I found myself packing triple the amount of orders than usual.”
Taking advantage of a huge growth opportunity
Realising she needed to restock items quickly to cope with and meet the sudden influx of orders and demand, Tatum made the decision to apply for a Prospa small business loan after a recommendation made from her business coach. “We’d sold out of a lot of things in a short space of time and I didn’t have the money to spend on a reorder,” she explains. “But if I didn’t reorder straight away, I’d have all these new customers finding us and not being able to buy anything.”
The small business loan came “in the nick of time”, says Tatum. “We were able to order all our new stock while customers were still interested,” she says. “The funds came through at the perfect time and that wouldn’t have happened if we’d gone to a bank, because the application and approval process would have taken too long. Prospa helped us to take advantage of a huge growth opportunity.”
More recently Tatum and Adam took out a business line of credit with Prospa. As her existing loan was coming to an end, a Prospa customer success account manager contacted her to check in. When Tatum explained that she didn’t need funds immediately but predicted she would in the future although she wasn’t sure of the amount, the account manager advised her to consider, and apply for a line of credit facility.
“It was such peace of mind to have funds approved that we can draw down when we need to,” says Tatum. “It helps with cash flow as we grow our ecommerce store and invest in more marketing.”
Both the small business loan and line of credit served different purposes for Tatum’s business. “The first time when I applied for funding, I knew what products we needed to restock and how much it would cost, so the small business loan made sense,” she says. “Switching to a line of credit means I can have funds available when I need them.”
One of the reasons Tatum has stayed with Prospa is because of the fast and flexible access to capital. The application process was so simple in fact that she can’t remember it! “All I know is that it was quick and easy,” she says.
Tested on animals (in a good way!)
As a result of the funds from the small business loan and line of credit, PUPSTYLE’s sales have increased by more than 200% in the past year. “Prospa has helped us grow and make the most of opportunities that we wouldn’t have been able to without extra funding,” says Tatum.
The company is aiming to be the top choice for pooch lovers across the globe and PUPSTYLE’s top ‘staff members’ are doing their part to make this happen.
Pippa and Bowie (another miniature dachshund) are the face of the brand, showcasing the products beautifully on their website. Their favourite products are the company’s signature step-in harnesses. “Our first baby, Pippa, looks stunning in the Berry Milkshake collection and I think she knows it,” laughs Tatum. “And Bowie likes the Emerald Envy collection so much he even sleeps in it.”
So, which is easier: running a business or training a puppy? “They both need a lot of patience!” says Tatum.
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