Named after their founder, David James Kerr has grown from a small fashion concierge service out of Belfast to one of the most recognizable high-end fashion retailers in the UK, carrying brands like Balenciaga, Gucci and Fendi.
David got his start in the industry selling clothes from niche Italian brands out of the boot of his car and at small events. Gradually, he incorporated social media, mainly Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram into his strategy. He would take orders from his direct messages and deliver them himself.
Soon after, David recognized the importance of expanding his online presence and started his own retail website, which now accounts for the bulk of his sales.
Supply chain challenges
Luxury brands are particularly difficult to work with since they tightly control how many pieces they put out, and don’t usually like to make a surplus. Although this may be good for their own D2C businesses, it puts retailers like DJK in a bind.
‘We feel great about our ability to move inventory once we receive it. It’s quite a battle every day to try to find more stock, so when we find a good deal, it’s important to have the ability to jump on it before our competitors do.”
Like David mentions, growth in his business is deeply tied to his ability to find good available stock, and to acquire it right then and there. This can be difficult for businesses with limited access to capital, or poor cash flow conditions, which is not DJK’s case.
Making cash accessible to DJK
Through Wayflyer, DJK is able to pull down cash whenever he needs to cover an inventory order. Their first round of funding was for £180,000 GBP.
‘Last Black Friday was off the scale for us - so much we ran out of stock. Our suppliers are willing to fulfill our demand throughout the year, and particularly around those key sales times, but if we can’t cover those buys, it’s no good. Wayflyer allows us to fund the buy, and if we have the stock, we’ll sell it.’
DJK’s suppliers take payment up front for inventory orders, and if DJK can’t secure the goods within a short timeframe, the supplier will just send them somewhere else.
‘It’s like the stock market, every day we come in and we have a number of offers with prices higher and lower based on a number of things. We need to be ready to buy when opportunities open up. The worst we can do is miss a good deal because we didn’t have the cash, and then have a stockout.’.
I’ve worked with Wayflyer for only a month or so and this is my second video call, numerous emails, all those digital marketing recommendations… I feel like I have a partner with Wayflyer, whereas with the other funder, there is not much more than the advance they give us, and once we repay the money they just want to leave. The feeling I get is not very supportive.