Sometimes having a very different perspective on how to do business can be your biggest advantage when running your own company. This has definitely been the case for Navneet Kalra, the President of Perfume Store Inc., a perfume and cosmetics wholesaler in Doraville, Georgia.
Having had a successful career as a practicing research scientist, Navneet might seem like a surprising candidate to take charge of the perfume retail business that his wife and father-in-law started in the early 2000s. But as he explained, the long hours working in the research lab in his previous career gave him a special appreciation for finding the unexpected path to your desired solution. It all comes down to being confident enough to try something new and being patient enough to see where it takes you.
"My idea from the time I joined my wife in the business was to change our business model to make it easier to source the best products we could," Navneet told us. "I just suggested that we could work directly with the manufacturers of our customers' favorite brands."
It was a simple idea. But Navneet and his family knew that it had a lot of power to improve the results they were seeing.
The new approach involved an ambitious plan. It meant that Perfume Store Inc., which was officially launched as a new company in 2009, would set up wholesale relationships with some of the biggest perfume and cosmetics companies in the world. From high-end designers like Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera and Calvin Klein, to famous brands like Givenchy and Burberry, the business now had to build up partnerships that would help them create an exclusive presence in Atlanta's fragrance market.
As Navneet says, this is where his academic background really paid off. "If you are well-educated and highly qualified it always helps you in these situations," he says.
The new approach to business has made a major difference for Navneet and his family. For the first six years after opening its doors, Perfume Store, Inc. focused exclusively on its wholesale relationships with the manufacturers, building a strong client base in the local market. Clients would come in with six-figure order requests, or larger. As word got around, the business's client base started to grow more and more, with many large retailers sourcing their products from Navneet's company.
As the business became more successful, Navneet realized that one area that he needed to focus on was his outstanding receivables. With many retailers paying Net 30 or Net 60 on their invoices, Perfume Store Inc.'s cash flow was not always where he wanted it to be. So in 2015, Navneet made the decision to open up his doors to more and more consumers.
Bringing in a larger number of customers meant that new patterns in the business started to emerge. Perfume Store Inc. had always been especially busy leading into the holiday season at the end of the year. But as more consumers were coming directly to the store or shopping online through the website Navneet noticed that demand was even higher during those holiday months - almost 6 times as much. The savvy business owner realized he needed to change the way he was managing his inventory to work with his new approach.
From his wholesale experience, Navneet knew that stocking up ahead of time was a must with the bigger manufacturers he worked with. "You always need funds to buy the merchandise ahead of time," Navneet told us. "The bigger manufacturers are out of stock in November so any orders you want before the holidays have to be placed 30-60 days advance notice."
This year, Navneet wanted to go one better and stock up a number of exclusive products he knew his new retail customers would love. A new line of Rihanna's perfume was launching which he had already started to get inquiries about.
Knowing he needed to place an order in July, Navneet got in touch with the funding specialists at Biz2Credit in the early summer to secure inventory financing.
He worked with his case manager to understand all his funding options. His case manager was able to get him an offer by the next day. With that financing at the ready, Navneet was able to go quickly to his manufacturing partners and place a series of orders for the full quantity that he needs for the holiday season.
"I'll give Biz2Credit a 10 out of 10," Navneet says. "The whole team I worked with did an excellent job - they understood my business and everyone from my case manager to the underwriters were very friendly and communicative."
The funding is helping Perfume Store Inc. at the best possible time. As the economy is doing even better, there's a higher demand than ever for high quality perfumes. "Just the other day I was talking to one of my employees about this line of Versace perfume that's just flying off the shelves. The retail price has gone up almost 50% because demand is so high, and it's still selling out."
Without the ability to get his full quantity stocked, Navneet would have been missing out on valuable revenue for the business. Instead, he's able to take advantage of the "eau du jour" tastes of his customers, and still stay on top of the coming holiday rush.
"If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone running their own business it would be to say "you should always take financing that will help your business grow," Navneet says. Wise words from an entrepreneur who has proven to be a master in the art of timing.
Navneet got in touch with the funding specialists at Biz2Credit and worked with his case manager to understand the best way to secure inventory financing. His case manager was able to get him an offer the next day. "
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Raza and David Bolos
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Dr. Ravindra Gautam
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