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Even with a unique product it can be challenging for a small- or medium-sized business to set itself apart. Eyewear company Kirk & Kirk has come up with an unusual solution.

How did you get started?

“Doing things differently is key to the Kirk & Kirk ethos. Jason’s forebears, brothers Sidney and Percy Kirk started their glasses brand in 1919 and were among the first to employ motorbike couriers to deliver their goods around London. This spirit of innovation is still alive. Jason and Karen founded Kirk Originals in the 1990s, drawing on a rich family heritage of design when discovering classic eyewear created by Jason’s grandfather in a suitcase, which provided inspiration for their styles.”

What challenges did you encounter?

“When you’re a small business it’s not always obvious where the money’s going to come from for simple things like stock, and turning away customers just feels wrong. Traditional financing opportunities are slow and not reactive, whereas we needed flexibility.”

Originally published on Guardian Labs Photo: Suki Dhanda as part of a paid partnership with Guardian Labs

What impact has the financing from Spotcap had for Kirk & Kirk?

“In 2016 we turned over a few hundred thousand, which was encouraging for our first full-year’s trading. That year we forecast growth of 8-10%. The reality was very different: we saw a 55% increase in turnover. Spotcap allowed us to finance the stock to deliver great client service, which in turn allowed us to open our office in Philadelphia. In 2018 it looks likely that we’ll pass the £1m mark, with commensurate profits. A couple of years ago a 10% growth forecast seemed ambitious, but now when we put 25% into our spreadsheets I ask myself why we are being so cautious!”

Ready to take your business to the next level?

Co-owners Jason and Karen Kirk