PVH is a global fashion house with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein in its portfolio. The head office of PVH Europe is located in the Houthaven district of Amsterdam. Frederick Kolff’s responsibilities include managing the credit insurance business. Especially when it comes to concluding the – often multi-year – policies, he has relied on the expertise of Xolv for many years.
Frederick has known Fred Colin, managing director and one of the founders of Xolv, for over 20 years. “After our previous broker was bought out, we went without a broker for a while until I got back in touch with Fred. As an expert in credit management, he started Xolv with several partners. Since then, we have been working with Xolv to our complete satisfaction – for at least some 15 years.”
Risk for retailers covered
PVH covers the risk that buyers, individual stores, retail chains, and franchisees with a Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein store cannot pay with credit insurance. “That is such a specific subject; you just need an independent specialist and advisor for that. Xolv speaks the language of credit insurers such as Atradius, resulting in a policy that is perfectly tailored to our business and methods. The strength of Xolv is that we always have a policy that offers clarity to both parties so that everyone knows exactly how to act when difficult or exceptional situations arise.”
As a partner in Keystone Trade Credit, Xolv can also provide optimal support to customers doing international business. They also benefit from the scale advantage that the partnership with Keystone offers. “Remember that PVH is responsible for sales throughout Europe from our office in Amsterdam and also in several African countries. Wherever we operate, we absolutely cannot afford to be inadequately insured. In that respect, Xolv takes a lot of worries off our shoulders.
What really makes the difference in Frederick’s opinion is the fact that there is one fixed point of contact. “In 99% of all cases, Fred is our contact person at Xolv. This works nice and fast. Together with the optimal personal contacts that Xolv has with Atradius, this means that we get an insurance product that fits in perfectly with our business environment, corporate culture, and business ethics.”
Open and honest
In addition to the personal contact and thorough knowledge, PVH particularly appreciates how Xolv conducts its business. “They operate openly and honestly. There are never any unpleasant surprises, and they are very flexible: if something comes up, they promptly find a solution. Asked if he has any improvement points for Xolv, Frederick, after a long pause for thought, answers negatively: “We are super satisfied with Xolv, and I suspect that’s mutual.”
Start-Up New Amsterdam Apparel was founded in September 2020 and holds the license for Michael Kors’ men’s line for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India. However, founder Niek op den Dries is anything but a starter in the fashion industry. He worked as a merchandiser (the pivot between design, sales, and production) at PVH, the parent company of brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. He did not have to start from scratch with this start-up as he took over an existing business.
During the start-up phase of his company, Niek talked to a fellow businessman, who said: go and talk to Xolv because they are very good at finding financial solutions. By now, I can only confirm that. Initially, Xolv helped me find a factoring company. Fred Soers was my sparring partner for this. After that, I started working with Erik Bolsius for the credit insurance.”
Long term payment
According to Niek, it is also an advantage that Xolv is well-versed in the fashion industry. Niek: “Xolv also has fashion group PVH as a client. So, they know how the fashion industry works. Factoring is particularly important for us to achieve sufficient cash flow and working capital. Our customers are large retailers in Europe, such as El Corte Inglés in Spain and Zalando in Germany. All these companies have long payment terms, usually 90 days. So factoring is no luxury in order to be able to plan and purchase collections.”
Shortly before the Corona breakout in March 2020, Niek had already decided to start his own business and wrote the business plan for New Amsterdam Apparel. When asked whether it was not very risky to start a new company in the middle of the corona crisis, Niek replies: “In fact, I think we started at exactly the right time because during such an unprecedented crisis you get a bit more leniency from all parties as the whole industry is affected. Moreover, we started with a modest number of customers, not too big, so you know you can only grow. Now that we have the Michael Kors license, we are completely ready to take off as soon as the market picks up after corona.”
Corona and opportunities
Corona has set the entire fashion market in motion. Niek: “Brand portfolios are thoroughly reviewed. Where do we find new opportunities? Brands disappear, new brands appear. People are coming up with new concepts, brands, and, therefore, new agents. As a licensee of Michael Kors, we have acquired 15 countries in an extremely short period of time. We couldn’t have done that in normal times.”
Jip and Janneke
“What I like about Xolv is their personal approach. You can call them whenever. They are very good at introducing you to a world and subject matter that is not yours. They are well seasoned financial professionals who explain to you in plain language how financial solutions work. It’s also nice that Xolv, as an independent broker, doesn’t push products but offers solutions,” says Niek.
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