For 35 years, Toronto, Ontario-based California Innovations has been passionately designing and manufacturing high-quality, soft-sided insulated products for consumers in Canada, US, Australia, Europe and the UK. As its name suggests, the company is driven by innovation and is proudly made up of creative, dedicated employees. After experiencing significant growth, the company looks ahead to future expansion.
“We’ve tripled in size over the last four years,” says Adam Bryk, COO and CFO of California Innovations. “We can attribute this growth to our focus on providing customers with a better performing product and fashionable designs, which continues to be a major industry trend,” says Adam.
With strong annual sales projections, including a private label program with Wal Mart, California Innovations developed a strategic plan to manage their growth, which included financing. Adam shares, “In order for us to continue to be a leader in our space, we needed to have the right capital in place to run our day-to-day operations and dedicate resources to innovate and expand.”
Working capital was also needed to accommodate for lead times on design and product development – which can be upwards of 12 months – and operational costs such as talent, equipment and materials.
Enter First West Capital. Adam was introduced to Managing Director, David Hastie, through the company’s accounting firm, who suggested junior capital would be an ideal solution to fund further growth.
“We knew it was a good fit with First West Capital right away,” Adam says. “We had a great personal connection with David and the team, and we like that First West Capital is a growing, Canadian business like us. It’s a really good match.”
Having been a financial advisor himself, Adam says that sometimes the financing industry can be impersonal. “In my experience, the best partners are humble, reasonable and collaborative. We found First West Capital to be all those things.”
First West Capital provided $10 million in junior capital for California Innovations to fund their continued expansion. “The funds provided working capital to manage our growth,” shares Adam.
“California Innovations is a great Canadian success story that has grown significantly internationally. They’ve created a truly sustainable company with strong values and a very unique culture – just ask their K-9 staff!” says David. “It always gives us great pleasure to support growing Canadian companies that value partnership, employees and the communities that they operate in. We look forward to continuing to support California Innovations’ future vision.”
Adams adds, “The process was great with David, he put a lot of attention and care into the deal and the partnership. He was also able to offer insights into our business and provide a refreshing perspective on the opportunities that impact our business.”
Next up for the company is product expansion, including hard sided coolers, back packs and hydration, as well as extending its sales reach into Asia where it’s now licensed to sell products directly in China.
“For us, the focus now is on manageable growth and profitability. We want to “blue sky” our future opportunities and be able to look beyond day-to-day operations; the funds from First West Capital give us the flexibility to do it.”