Eyewear manufacturer expands pan-European and US growth with global partnership

11-Feb-2019

A well respected, industry expert, Jamie Denholm, spent 11 years working for the UK’s largest supplier of eyewear. But in the midst of a changing global market, with retailers’ margins squeezed and growing demand for competitive supply, he identified a way he could lower prices and meet the needs of the sector.  

In 2007, Jamie left his job and founded Eyeworks Industries with ambitions to facilitate the manufacture and supply of cost-effective, high-quality eyewear across the globe. Moving away from the traditional supply methods he established a network of global partners; recognising that through a business-model based on vertically integrated joint-ventures he could reduce manufacturing time, increase volumes and significantly lower prices and lead times for retailers and brands.

In the last decade, Eyeworks has become an industry leading supplier, driven by continued innovation and supply to the fashion, travel retail, high street and grocery/value sectors. It is now one of the largest volume suppliers of quality eyewear.

From its supply base in China, products are manufactured and distributed to leading retailers and brands across 130 different countries. To expand its global footprint further, Eyeworks also has operations in the UK, USA, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Growing at speed and with a focus on pan-European & US expansion, the company sought a nimble and specialist finance partner in order to facilitate the next stage of growth, and fast. After seeing no potential in a finance package from traditional lenders, a referral in 2015 from a friend brought BFS and Eyeworks Industries together.

Eyeworks partnered with Bibby Financial Services (BFS), who provided a mixture of trade finance, bad debt and FX facilities within 72 hours of the introduction. BFS’s trade finance team structured a flexible funding line to support the business’s ongoing working capital requirements whilst providing same-day supplier payment and access to multi-lingual trade and currency specialists.

This has allowed Eyeworks Industries to invest and continue to expand its global customer base by manufacturing products in even greater volume to meet growing demand. The business is now generating multi-million dollar revenues annually.

Jamie Denholm, managing director, Eyeworks Industries commented:

“In the retail industry, you can’t afford to sit still, you need to innovate. Markets, product design, production methods are constantly changing, so as a business we need to be agile and demonstrate leadership.

“We’ve invested heavily in our production capabilities and infra-structure over the last four years in reaction to market changes and demand, and as a result we’re now able to manufacture high-quality, volume eyewear more competitively.  But while we had the vision, it is the funding facility and support from BFS that has significantly allowed us to develop and focus on growing the business.

“The FX facility we have in place allows us to be more flexible. We now consider BFS as one of our committed, long-term, global supply chain partners, supporting the growth and on-going performance of our business”.

Francesca Entwistle, relationship manager at Bibby Financial Services added:

“Eyeworks Industries is a great example of how growth funding can propel the success of a business. At a time when traditional lenders are retreating from the market, we were able to structure a funding package to suit the needs of a global business model.

 “Businesses often wish to purchase goods from overseas suppliers, but don’t have sufficient working capital or supplier credit terms to do so. Trade finance makes this process happen and is one of the key ways in which we support Eyeworks.

“Starting from an initial order of 1,800 units from a major retailer back in 2008, the business now sells millions of pieces of eyewear every year. We are excited to see where Eyeworks goes next as we continue to support them in securing global deals to further broaden their pan-European/US reach.”