Helping small businesses is core to what we do. That’s why we worked hard to deliver government-backed loans safely and efficiently to our customers.
Two years on, we hear from two companies that used a Bounce Back Loan to sustain and ultimately grow their businesses.
Cornelia James, glovemaker by Royal Appointment
Glovemaker Cornelia James was founded in 1946 and has been a glovemaker by Royal Appointment since 1979. Its gloves (seen in the image above) are made in their premises in East Sussex and sold online.
Managing Director Freddie Lawson, 33, applied for a Bounce Back Loan with Starling shortly after the scheme launched in May 2020.
“We’d seen a big uptick in sales in the US and we knew we were going to have to hire and train new machinists and make our production more efficient. When the money came through, it was a huge relief.” At the time, there were nine people in the team. There are now 18.
New equipment, new growth
“We bought a hydraulic press, which we couldn’t have done without the Bounce Back Loan and it’s benefitted us hugely. Up until that time, we’d been using a really antique, manual lever-operated machine to cut the gloves,” he says.
“We also bought additional sewing machines and changed the motors on our existing machines. The new motors are quieter and you can set the speed, which makes training new machinists much easier.”
Cornelia James also expanded its premises. “The loan gave us the cushion to pay the rent until we achieved the forecast sales,” says Freddie.
The investment into their machinists, equipment and premises has paid off. “We’re up 100% this year compared to last year in terms of sales.” Cornelia James has banked with Starling since 2019. “Starling is a joy to use and every contact we’ve had with them has been a pleasure.”
Matter, structural engineering company
Christina Hseih started her structural engineering company, CH Simple Design, in 2015. She has since rebranded to Matter, a change that was enabled by a Bounce Back Loan from Starling. “The loan meant I could be sure that I could pay for the new website and branding,” she says.
Structural engineering involves the design, analysis and safety planning of the structural components of buildings, bridges and other architecture. Christina, 44, has been a Starling business customer since 2018. “Starling is efficient, trailblazing and personal.”
Rebranding and gaining clients
“The rebranding has really helped the business,” she says. “When I started, the branding was all about me and when people came to me, they would ask if I had capacity. Now, they ask if me and my team have the capacity to help. It communicates the scale of what we do.” Christina works with an established team of up to 10 senior contractors and freelancers and can take on private and public sector projects.