After raising American bison for nearly 40 years, Ron and Theresa Miskin launched The Buffalo Wool Co. to manufacture and sell high quality bison products.
The couple has spent the last 12 years developing a supply chain that brings together bison ranchers, small independent mills, and local manufacturers. Through these connections, the family aims to bolster the U.S. economy by focusing on American-made products while also preserving America's national mammal: the American Plains Bison.
Today, The Buffalo Wool Co. sells its fine yarn and bison garments online powered by Shopify. Although the brand has grown about 20% year-over-year since inception, the Miskins continually struggled with the gap of time between paying merchants and their busy selling season.
The Buffalo Wool Co. applied for funding through Shopify Capital to bridge this gap, using Capital's quick funding to grow inventory before the winter and holiday season.
After receiving funding through Shopify Capital, The Buffalo Wool Co. has been able to:
- Stock up on best-selling products ahead of peak season
- Manage and sync their finances all on Shopify
- Support a growing regional supply chain
Overcoming seasonal inventory challenges
With an emphasis on cold weather gear, The Buffalo Wool Co.’s business cycle is heavy on 3rd and 4th quarter sales. However, most of their business expenses occur January through June, which can be challenging to manage.
To get ready for the holiday season every year, the brand needs to spend cash to secure inventory to make their cozy products. “We have a large warehouse, and from January to October, we pack it with our hats, socks, blankets, and more to get our warehouse as full as possible for Q3 and Q4,” Ron explains.
The Miskins have bootstrapped their business from the beginning, so they began searching for new ways to boost inventory without needing to take out a bank loan.
To acquire cash flow to stock up on inventory ahead of peak selling season, The Buffalo Wool Co. applied for funding through Shopify Capital. The whole process was easy and convenient for the Miskins.
We needed funds to buy supplies to manufacture our products in time for the holiday rush, and we weren’t comfortable with a traditional bank loan. We needed a straightforward way to get funding without complications.
Shopify Capital offers straightforward funding opportunities to businesses like The Buffalo Wool Co. Through a simple application process, their past performance allowed them to apply for funding.
Unlike traditional bank loans, funding through Shopify Capital can be available in as fast as two days. This quick turnaround time helps alleviate unexpected expenses and enables business owners to seize time-sensitive opportunities, such as taking advantage of bulk ordering discounts. The Miskins also welcomed the chance to avoid the invasive process of a personal credit check.
“I applied quickly and got money into my account in a matter of days,” Ron says. “We didn’t have to fill out a bunch of paperwork or spend time putting together long financial statements like with banks. It couldn’t be any easier.”
When it comes to paying back your loan, you can automatically make payments as a percentage of your daily sales—without compounding interest or a rigid repayment schedule. “This approach helps the repayment burden for businesses like ours that experience slower selling seasons,” Ron shares.
Entrepreneurs at any stage can use funding through Shopify Capital for inventory, marketing, payroll, and much more. It’s especially beneficial for retail companies who want to try a new product line, launch a new marketing campaign or, as in Buffalo Wool’s case, stock up on products.
With Shopify Capital, we were able to buy inventory for our peak season. And it was so much better than a traditional loan—no hassle and no strings attached.
By partnering with Shopify, The Buffalo Wool Co. has achieved remarkable growth, going from zero to seven-figure sales. The company has used Shopify Capital four times in recent years to continue growing and managing inventory.
“We’re a very vertical company. We start and harvest all of our raw materials,” Ron says. “Money is needed to pay ranchers to collect the bison fiber, wash the hair, and then de-hair it to get the fine, soft hairs—which is extremely expensive. Then it’s turned into yarn and sent to knitting so it can be manufactured into socks and gloves. Each of these processes means a big bill for our company.”
Shopify has been so impactful to The Buffalo Wool Co. that Ron continues to recommend the ecosystem to other suppliers in his supply chain who want to sell online. “Shopify Capital is just one part of the larger platform that helps us to grow and thrive as a small business,” he says.
As the Miskins scale The Buffalo Wool Co., they plan to continue leveraging funding through Shopify Capital to help carry the brand between their annual expenses and their busy sales season.
You need money to make money, and Shopify Capital was the lever we needed to 10X our business to 7 figures. Our business would not be anywhere near where we are today without Shopify.
All loans in the US through Shopify Capital are issued by Webbank.