Andy Jefferies and Ben Muller founded Dock & Bay in 2015.
"We were two guys in the corporate world, wanting to make a change and do work that meant something to us and the world around us" said Andy.
Feeling a little lost in corporate life, Andy and Ben began plotting ways they could build something of their own. "As two people who loved travel and spent all of their spare money traveling around the world, travel was at the heart of our ideas," explained Andy.
The pair came up with plenty of business concepts — mostly apps and travel products — and after months of back-and-forth, one idea resonated. "The quick-dry towel just stuck with us because it was a product that we knew sold well and one we used ourselves. We knew it could be better." "We weren't crazy entrepreneurs with the grand vision of building a humongous company,” said Andy reflecting on the early days of the business.
“We wanted to create something that we were passionate about and had fun doing — something different to the corporate world we'd been in where you have to fit a certain mold and be a certain person."
Managing finances in a seasonal business
Since its launch, the seasonality of its sales has been a constant challenge for its founders.
"The number one thing that keeps me awake at night is that we are still a pretty seasonal business," Andy explained. "We make like 50-60% of our revenue and profits in like four months of the year."
Dock & Bay has expanded its product range to feature year-round products in areas like beauty, fitness, and home. But seasonality still causes cashflow headaches. "We have to buy most of our stock in the winter months ready for summer," explained Andy.
For Dock and Bay, retail selling starts around January and February, with its online sales ramping up in March and April. So stock ordered in winter is sitting around for months before being sold to customers.
"We're paying for all this stock that's not being sold in the months we have the least, and we're burning the most cash," said Andy. "We tend to have a cash hole that comes around October to November and lasts until around April or May."
Finding the right funding solutions
Dock & Bay has used a number of funding solutions to aid its growth. "We have an investor that owns 10% of the business," Andy told us. "But generally, outside funding has come in the form of loans."
This approach worked well, but Andy felt there was a limit to how much loans could help the business to scale. So he decided to give Wayflyer a try.
"Wayflyer looks a bit more at the buying cycle [compared to banks and loan providers], which was why it was quite interesting," explained Andy.
"Wayflyer understands how our money moves in and out whereas other providers don't. Other finance providers might see our bank accounts, but they don't connect to our platforms and consider our sales like Wayflyer," he said.
"Wayflyer understands how our money moves in and out whereas other providers don't. Other finance providers might see our bank accounts, but they don't connect to our platforms and consider our sales like Wayflyer."
Working capital without the work
For Andy, the most significant benefit of Wayflyer funding is "its availability." Wayflyer offers fast approval and highly flexible terms based on business needs, so high-growth eCommerce brands can access funding as it’s required. "There's stronger availability with Wayflyer because there's an understanding of how our money moves," Andy explained.
Dock & Bay uses revenue-based funding from Wayflyer to support its cashflows around the periods where it has to order inventory ahead of the brand's peak sales months.
"Over the next three months, the stock that we may not have had if we didn't get funding from Wayflyer will start to sell," Andy explained in early 2022, before Dock & Bay's peak spring and summer seasons.
"We're aiming for around 70-90% growth this year. If we hit those goals, we can attribute some of that to the fact that we have the money from Wayflyer to buy the stock to make the extra sales."
Andy said that without looking for external funding and working with Wayfyer, "we could have sat back and just made fewer sales.”
A trusted partner that "thinks outside the box"
After working with Wayflyer for a few months, Andy explained that: "Wayflyer thinks outside the box in terms of how they can use their data, tech, knowledge, and skills to provide wider services to eCommerce companies."
"Wayflyer thinks outside the box in terms of how they can use their data, tech, knowledge, and skills to provide wider services to eCommerce companies."
"Wayflyer plays more of an advisory role, which I haven't seen from other finance providers," explained Andy. "It's something I enjoy as they have some clever programs and ideas."