When we met with this Fifo Capital client, we knew we were looking at a success story waiting to happen. An internationally proven concept brimming with potential in the local market, our client had the experience necessary for the new venture and extensive business planning to make it a success.
What was a disused South Melbourne park only a few months ago, has been transformed into a popular community space by the arrival of a Boutique Food Market, held once a week and already enjoyed by more than 3,500 locals.
So how did it all start?
“The once-a-week Street Food business model has been proven overseas and I really wanted to prove it here. I worked in Street Food overseas for two years and picked up a few do’s and don’ts. There’s a massive following of Street Food in San Francisco, New York and it’s been growing in London for about five years. While it’s kind of been establishing itself in Melbourne, until now it has been mostly in the North.”
Spotting a gap in the market in South Melbourne, our client started investigating the potential for a Boutique Street Food Market two years ago. Crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s has been a big job including: working with the council to find the best site; securing licences; and defining the target market that would not only deliver the best business result, but also those who would benefit most from the market. All of these elements have been brought together to create a win/win for the business and the community.
“We worked with the council on three locations before settling on the site we secured. There’s a lot of due diligence involved in terms of traffic management, local business impact – like being far enough away from bricks and mortar businesses – etc. The location we chose was previously an under-utilised park, so the market has actually reactivated it and it’s now a beautiful space that everyone appreciates.”
“With 40 stalls, we’ve also generated a lot of work – at a rough estimate we bring in about $200,000 in revenue in a week and we are creating employment, which of course the council is happy about.”
“One of the things we’re really happy about is that we’ve solved a problem for a lot of the people who live in the area. We’re all about mums and dads, families who don’t have anywhere else to go and chill and relax. Of the 4,000 people who came last week, the majority walked up to the park by foot; they didn’t need to put the pram in the boot and drive somewhere. The market has taken the hassle out of a good outing and is becoming part of the community.”
A smart well-planned business model that is also adding value to the community. That’s a great success in our book. But until speaking with Fifo Capital, getting the funding for the Market was proving to be an up-hill battle.
“Fifo Capital is an absolute breath of fresh air. Their ability to see the potential business asset for what it actually is, is so rare.”
“With banks you have to perfectly fit into a box and have two years trading history, which we didn’t have. The only other option was to get an angel investor, but then I’d have to give up a percentage of equity, which I really didn’t want to do.”
“Fifo Capital is completely different to other lenders. They are flexible, nimble and actually willing to help you. They’re down-to-earth and know what they are doing. Working with them took an immense amount of pressure off – it was valuable time that I didn’t have to spend looking for the capital and I could instead spend that time executing the brand and product well.”
Being flexible is essential in financing a start-up venture. Another example of tailoring solutions to specific client needs, in this case we structured a Fifo Capital business loan that was secured by invoices for services yet to be rendered. The strength of the client’s business planning, council licence and trader contracts played a key role in our ability to see the potential asset and the opportunity to help make it a reality.
“The speed at which the funds came through was amazing. It meant we could invest in marquees and furniture and everything we needed to look good on day one. There was also a real feeling of security once the deal was done.”
“Fifo Capital is an absolute breath of fresh air. Their ability to see the potential business asset for what it actually is, is so rare. I highly recommend working with Fifo Capital – I have never dealt with someone more flexible and understanding. The interaction, the flexibility, their knowledge and their ability to fund you quickly – that’s really valuable.”
And the vision for the future?
“My vision for the market is to keep it intimate. We want to work with the environment we’re in, maintain the quality of traders and customers that we have. We want to grow – of course – but we want to do that in a lasting way. We’re also looking at another location that could be ten times as big in terms of revenue, and we might need to talk to Fifo Capital again at that point. But for now, we want to focus on making the market a quality part of the community; weaving it into the fabric of what local families do each week.”
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