Merchant Factors’ clients, who operate in a wide variety of industries – including apparel, accessories, home goods, toys, consumer electronics and more – “are always seeking” the company out for general business advice and counsel, according to CEO and President Adam Winters.
“It’s one of the added values above and beyond the financing we offer, as we’re always trying to help our clients grow their businesses,” he says. “That is why the light bulb went off to start our own licensing division where we would broker licensing deals.
“We had known and worked with Vicki for a number of years, and were successful in doing deals together,” Winters continues. “So in 2014 we brought her in and started our division. It’s been going remarkably well. We are very pleased with the trajectory of business we’re seeing on the licensing side on a monthly basis.”
Along with Engel, her colleague Josh Solowiejczyk, whom she met in 2007 at Iconix Brand Group, was brought in to help expand on the continuing licensing success. “We work on different projects,” Engel says. “Every day we work to be creative, studying what’s working in the market from a branding, pop culture and new business standpoint across a variety of retail sectors with an emphasis on fashion. We identify interesting, often overlooked synergies, leverage our unique industry know-how and licensing relationships – connecting licensees with brands and vice versa to establish successful partnerships.
“Whichever side we represent, we work hard to broker relationships and business terms that serve both parties best interests,” she adds. “The more companies and more brands we’re in touch with, the better equipped we are to grow our licensing brokerage business to new heights.”
With three offices throughout the country – in New York, Los Angeles and Florida – Merchant Factors’ small but mighty team of 70 employees deliver a personalized experience to its nearly 1,000 clients.
“We bring a level of entrepreneurial spirit to lending that just isn’t out there,” Winters says. “So we’re flexible, have superior customer service and do a lot of handholding with our clients. It’s almost like the days where you borrowed from your local community bank. Everyone, including the tellers, assistant managers and president, knows who you are and supports your business.”
The company’s nimbleness allows it to maintain close relationships with clients, Winters notes. “We’re not a bank and there is no red tape,” he explains. “So we can get close to our clients to really understand their business, principles, desires and needs. Most importantly, we can truly see the vision of where they see their company going as we help them execute that plan.
“So whether it’s providing purchase order financing or financing accounts receivable, we do what’s necessary to provide adequate capital to our clients in order to help them grow,” Winters continues. “We think outside of the box, and are entrepreneurs just like our clients. We have been doing it every day for years and are quite good at it. Our track record speaks for itself and our growth has been phenomenal.”
Looking ahead, Merchant Factors wants to grow its presence on the West Coast. “We conduct some business on the West Coast, but we’d like to expand,” Winters says. “In addition to our existing factoring business, I think we’d have a better reach if we had a licensing team member working out of our Los Angeles office.
“My philosophy is that if you keep your employees happy, it will permeate to the clients,” he concludes. “The customer service that clients receive from a happy employee is a tremendous difference. So we really try to maintain a very informal family type of atmosphere. Again, I think it’s paid off tremendously with respect to our growth and profitability, and we’re excited about the future.”