Two Magpies Bakery is an Independent Artisan Bakery, producing bread, pastries and savory products by hand to 9 retail sites, 7 days a week. The company was founded in 2012 by Rebecca and Jim Bishop. It remained a single site until Steve joined the business in 2018 and bought 50% equity. (Jim had moved on by now)
The business has been a roaring success with a substantial period of growth following investment and involvement from Steve since 2018. Despite a serious hit during the Covid pandemic (one site went from taking £16k a week to just £35!), Steve managed to keep the business not only going but expanding, with an amazing bounce-back last year, and continued growth since then.
From 60 staff in 2021 to 171 in 2023
From £450k in 2013 to £8 million in 2023.
“I know if I was struggling next year that I could go to Liberis and it would work… if I’m in that situation I’ve got a solution that makes the business survivable. I could have borrowed money from other sources, potentially cheaper, but this would have taken longer and I would have had to do more personal guarantees, so the process was much simpler and I don’t think the cost was too expensive for short-term cash at all”
In a business where all products are handmade and quality is of utmost importance, employees are highly trained professionals and are at the heart of what makes the Bakery so successful. Not only this, but Two Magpies Bakery is a huge part of the local community, with 204 staff across 10 sites in the region.
However, this type of business sees enormous seasonal peaks and troughs. August sales were 3x that of January, meaning there were significant periods whereby, without additional funds, the business would not be able to maintain its vital staff base. The cost to let go, then re-hire and re-train staff is exponentially high, as well as the cost to the wider community and their company reputation as a fair, honest business with integrity. So, in December 2021 the business needed funds quickly to retain their employees during the upcoming, quieter winter months.
Two Magpies took out £220,000 of Revenue Finance from Liberis, which allowed them to keep staff fully employed during their less busy months. These funds have been invaluable in keeping the growth momentum of the business. Steve was able to work with the Liberis team following a simple application process, to decide how long he needed to pay the funds so he could plan his cash flow effectively for the year ahead. Steve describes the Liberis funding as a “comfort blanket”, reassuring him that in his business that’s characterized by ebbs and flows, he can rely on fast, simple funding when he needs it.
Since then, Steve has taken further funding, and invested in 2 town sites. This shift away from the reliance on coastal sites has meant that the summer revenue is now only 1.9x higher than winter, rather than 3x. This has created more seasonal stability for the businesses, as well as leading to an increase in growth from revenue and staff.
Both staff retention and the addition of a further 2 sites created a shift in the growth trajectory of the business. Further growth was (and is) at the forefront of this business’s ambitions.
Steve set his sights on taking Two Magpies to an even higher level. The latest funding round of £250k allowed Two Magpies to invest in a large café, covering 24 customers. This site has huge potential because it’s located –in a popular, prime footfall area.
As well as this, the funding allowed Steve to upgrade his production facilities, moving 2 small production units into one larger unit. This will create cost and resource efficiencies and allow the business to take on the increased demand these additional sites have provided.
Finally, in addition to the £250k, Steve has just been approved for a further £500k, this will allow him to invest in further sites. The first is already being scouted out and planned for summer 2023. This will take Two Magpies total to 10 cafes and 3 production units.
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