Since 1970, family-owned and operated Bee International has delighted customers with novelty candies and gifts like their popular Easter egg candy holders and gingerbread house kits.
Located in San Diego, California, the business has scaled to include an in-house art department and design team with state-of-the-art equipment to turn imaginative concepts into colorful delectables that look, smell, and taste amazing.
Growth, however, can be precarious in an industry that revolves around holidays, celebrations, and most recently— global pandemics. Seasonality tends to create significant cash flow gaps, leaving businesses to fret about how they’ll continue operations, pursue fresh ideas, take on new clients, and resupply for the next busy season.
The call that jeopardized Bee International’s future
Prior to working with LSQ, Bee International managed seasonal risks by combining funds from a long-standing bank line of credit with financial assistance from family and friends. One day VP of Operations Chuck Block received an unexpected call from his lender notifying him that the business would need to exit their bank line due to new lending policies.
This dilemma left Bee International in a compromised position. With insufficient time to find a suitable replacement to provide working capital, the business began financing their accounts receivable (AR) with an unvetted alternative financing company. Regrettably, this resulted in unmet cash flow needs and even legal action on Block’s part against the new lender.
Back on track with AR Financing
During this time, Block met with LSQ to explore better AR financing options. After discussions about Bee International’s business, clients, and growth plans, he and LSQ kicked off what has become a 16-year business relationship.
“We met with LSQ and started with AR financing, eventually including inventory financing, which helped a lot,” Block said. “You guys were great right away.”
With a restored, reliable source of funding, Bee International had the freedom to pursue new customers, secure larger orders, and diversify the company’s capabilities to claim additional market share. As a business managing seasonal demand, having the ability to ramp up during the off-season and scale was essential to Bee International’s success.
“We’re seasonal, and that revolves around the major holidays,” Chuck elaborated. “We have reduced sales from March until we start shipping again for Halloween. Even inventory is low with Halloween several months away. LSQ was very good about making funds available during that time. You guys provided the services we needed.”
Thriving with robust working capital solutions
LSQ’s working capital solutions enabled Bee International to expand operations, improve business relationships, and more easily get products to their larger customers— Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens. In addition to funding, the intuitive cash flow management platform, risk management services, and dedicated account manager provided by LSQ were vital in safeguarding Bee International’s financial health.
“We loved the fact that for any new customers, we were able to leverage LSQ for our credit checks,” Block said. “They had better insights and spotted potential issues in our customer’s financials to protect everyone from potential losses.”
Block cites the advanced technology as one of the reasons Bee International continued to factor receivables with LSQ.
“We’d go online and submit what we had,” he said. “I knew exactly where to find information, how to request funds online, and in general, we never had to contact LSQ directly for capital. Your cash flow management platform is very nice, and the resources you’ve invested in it have been very well spent!”
Bee International’s 16-year relationship with LSQ has played an integral role in increasing revenue by tens of millions of dollars, helping Block expand his family’s company. The business recently transitioned back to bank financing, exemplifying LSQ’s steadfast commitment to positively impacting a client’s financial health.
As Block puts it, “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the funding that we got from LSQ. You always responded very well to our requests and allowed us to scale. It’s been very pleasant working with LSQ.”
The future looks bright for Bee International
What’s next for this novelty candy and gift products business? Block revealed plans to expand into new seasons and even hinted at taking more ownership of his supply chain.
“We know that we want to expand into producing more of our own goods,” said Block. “It’s not inconceivable that we’ll double sales in the next three to five years. We know where we fit in our market, what people are buying, and we know our products sell. We expect a steady increase in revenue.”
Discover how LSQ can help your business increase revenue and improve operations by visiting lsq.com or emailing [email protected].