- The Green House owner Mark Walter needed to find a supplier willing to lend to a new business with no credit history.
- That’s when he discovered Hokodo’s digital trade credit solution via FlorAccess.
- Since then, Mark has been able to sell more, pay on his terms and plant the seeds for future growth.
Meet The Green House
After 12 years of teaching in primary schools, Mark decided it was time for a change. Combining a longtime interest in interior design and firsthand experience of helping his partner to run a retail business, Mark began the process of opening his own store, The Green House, in 2021.
Establishing the roots
In the beginning, indoor plants were used to supplement the antiques and unique decorative items that were the store’s main focus. However, Mark soon began to learn what his customers were really after.
“It became evident early on that plants were going to be the bread and butter of the business,” Mark says.
He already had a supplier of plants who offered highly lenient payment terms. The problem was that the prices of this stockist’s items were much higher than average. As Mark ordered an increasing number of botanical goods, it began to eat at his margins.
Meanwhile, many other suppliers were unwilling to offer trade credit to The Green House at all. Mark would be forced to buy limited amounts from these merchants, which he’d have to sell before he was able to afford to restock, leading to missed sales.
“The relationship between supplier and retailer should be symbiotic, but some suppliers don’t see it that way,” he adds. “It was very difficult and nobody was willing to lend me money because I was a new business with no credit history.”
Making the switch
From his experience of supporting his partner’s retail business, Mark knew he needed reliable access to a flexible line of credit that would cover large orders of plants. Particularly impressed by their competitive prices and smooth, B2C-like online shopping experience, Mark identified FlorAccess as a potential supplier.
“I could reduce the cost of the plants and therefore the yield would be better. But by the time I’d filled my trolley I was looking at a £1,500 order and I just didn’t have that money available at the time. I knew if I did spend that money at that moment, then I’d have to sacrifice other things.”
Mark created an account with FlorAccess but was unable to take the leap and switch suppliers until 6 months later when he received an email from the merchant informing him of their new partnership with Hokodo.
“I remember thinking ‘I can actually do it now,’” Mark tells us, “I can get some nice things in and have the abundance that I want in this shop at a reasonable price.’”
Flourishing with flexible credit
Since then, Mark hasn’t looked back. He continues to purchase his plants from FlorAccess, and each time he pays using Hokodo’s digital trade credit solution.
The main draw, of course, is that it solves Mark’s issue of not being able to order enough stock. Now, The Green House has the abundance of plant life that Mark always envisioned, but without impacting the cash flow of his business.
“If you pay up front and then have a dip in sales, you're in a position where you don't have the cash to place a new order or to freshen up your stock or to take steps to make it more attractive,” Mark explains. “Whatever you need to do to boost sales, you can't do without credit.”
Mark also uses his improved cash flow to pay himself and to buy products which he simply can’t get credit for.
The cherry (blossom) on top has been the support and service offered by Hokodo. Mark describes a recent scenario in which he had to request a payment extension of one day. Within hours, Hokodo’s customer support team had granted him an extra week in which to pay his invoice.
“It was such a relief. It was one of those moments where you think, ‘Oh, I just need a bit of help here,’ and that help was so readily forthcoming from Hokodo.”
Over the next year, Mark plans to sow the seeds for a second branch of the Green House. He calculates that the acquisition and fitting out of a new retail premises alone will require the majority of the money he’s made over the last 18 months, and that’s before he’s filled the shop with lush greenery.
“To stock a new retail outlet from scratch takes a lot of money,” explains Mark, “so credit will be a key part of expansion.”
Want to find out more about how Hokodo is helping businesses to improve cash flow and grow? Learn how access to trade credit is helping Chinley Cheese to thrive as a seasonal business.