Juice Global

Read time: 3 mins        Added date: 28/11/2023

Learn how Juice used an Invoice Finance facility to unlock investment for growth.

Juice’s colourful accessories on display in a shop

Photo source: Juice’s colourful accessories on display in a shop - all Juice packaging is made from a new form of plastic made entirely from post-consumer waste.

“Boring, boring, boring, there was no colour,” says Juice Founder and CEO, Joe Bennet of the mobile phone accessories market back in 2012. After realising that his entrepreneurial, non-conformist approach was a challenge for employers, Joe decided to start his own business and bring some colour to the market.

Although he had the drive and the passion, there was a snag. “I had no money and my risk profile meant most of the banks wouldn’t talk to me. It was a sobering moment,” he admits.

Having banked personally with Lloyds Bank for many years, he secured a meeting with the business and commercial banking team. It paid off. With an initial £100,000 overdraft facility secured with a personal guarantee, Joe launched his business . “I wanted to put choice and passion into that boring market,” he says. “The thing that differentiates Juice is that we approach consumers with a desire rather than a need. We put joy into their purchases.”

Overcoming scale-up barriers

Juice began with a strong start and its success meant that Joe was soon looking for more funding. “We simply didn’t have enough cash to do business. We had enough to trade but not to grow or to engage with the large retailers.”

Long cash cycles and lengthy payment terms proved to be an issue. Juice’s products are manufactured in China where suppliers expect upfront payment. Shipping adds 60 days and the large retailers want 60-90 days’ credit. 

“It’s a familiar story for smaller businesses trying to break into the supply chain of large retailers,” says Fernanda Antunes, Relationship Manager at Lloyds Bank. “Working with a business that’s clearly going from strength to strength with people who are so passionate, gives a true sense of partnership, and a desire to be part of the solution that could unlock those barriers to scaling up the business.”

“In the early days, Invoice Finance was the life force of the business. As we’ve grown as an organisation, the Invoice Finance facility has grown with us.” Joe Bennet, Founder, Juice.

A ‘life force’ for business

The solution was Invoice Finance, a facility that gives businesses early access to funds owed to them in unpaid invoices. It can unlock up to 90% of the invoice value, usually within 24 hours. For Juice, it was a game-changer.

“I can’t overstate how useful that was. Without the Invoice Finance facility, I couldn’t have got any money; I would have gone bust,” says Joe.

Not only did the facility support Joe at that critical moment, but as the business has grown, so too has the Invoice Finance facility Lloyds Bank provides. 

Joe Bennet, Juice Founder and CEO

Joe Bennet, Juice Founder and CEO

He explains: “In the early days, Invoice Finance was the life force of the business. As we’ve grown as an organisation, the Invoice Finance facility has grown with us, and we’ve been able to use it for different things – like investing for more growth or weathering storms.”

Juice is now funded entirely using Invoice Finance, which has enabled Joe to keep 100% of the equity in the business. 

Growing sustainably

And growth has been incredible, with Juice achieving a 25% revenue boost in the first nine months of 2023. One of the reasons behind that, Joe believes, is the decision to focus on sustainability.

“We were the first brand in our category to embrace that environmental messaging. Even though our board was initially resistant because of the cost implications, it was clear that our customers cared about the impact they have, so it was the right thing to do.”

Since 2019, Juice has committed to achieving zero single-use plastic in its packaging. All its packaging is made from plastic waste and is fully recyclable. This move led to a jump in sales. Encouraged by the consumer response, Juice invested further. Now with all its products as well as its packaging made out of waste plastic, sales to both consumers and retailers have increased again. 

Looking ahead

So, what next? “Growth, growth, growth,” says Joe. “We’re number one in the UK, but we want to be number one globally. That’s our focus for 2024. I’m also excited about the next phase of our product development.”

That development aims to take the brand’s core themes of sustainability and wellbeing and turn them into marketable products. “It will try to give people a positive choice to make for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of the world,” adds Joe. 

But entering new markets and developing new products is expensive, he admits. Having the Invoice Finance facility can help businesses like Juice access capital to invest in new ideas and products. 

“Once the facility is in place and growing with the business, it means that you don’t have to approach the bank for a new funding line every time you spot an opportunity,” says Fernanda Antunes . “It can help businesses be more agile.”

Joe agrees: “Having Lloyds Bank as a funding partner, and having funding that flexes to our needs, is truly empowering.”

 

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