Chief executive officer
Matthew Cortland and David Duckworth
London and New York City
Things began in London 2017 with a funding round financing a five-month pop-up bar that saw more than 15,000 budding mages through its doors in search of chemistry, magic and a damn good cocktail. With that kind of product validation, the harvesting of serious customer feedback and a firm belief in the Lean Startup Methodology, The Magic of Things looked to expand – and New York City seemed like the natural next step. That turned into a two-storey molecular bar, gastropub and magical cocktail experience in the Big Apple’s historic Stone Street district.
But that, of course, brought with it a whole new set of challenges, as it does for many small businesses every day.
The Magic of Things was soon seeing a healthy turnover in US dollars. But with escalating costs and a keen desire to invest in a permanent UK home for the pop-up London Cauldron, they needed funds in sterling to finance and solidify their future. And that meant finding an efficient, easy and cost effective foreign exchange (FX) service.
It’s true to say that many people and businesses don’t even know foreign exchange currency transfer specialists like us exist, and so are transferring often huge sums of money using traditional (or rather, old school and outdated) channels with banks – incurring huge and unnecessary costs along the way.
The Magic of Things was introduced to us through a specialist lawyer, consultant and Clear Currency affiliate who helps people setting up companies in the UK and US with everything from opening an overseas bank account to recommending a reliable foreign exchange service. And with us now on their radar, we were able to get in touch, talk them through our foreign exchange processes and explain how we could save them from the ignominy of paying a bank thousands of pounds in needless transaction fees.
The Magic of Things’ foreign exchange requirements are actually quite simple, but bring with them a unique set of challenges.
As a young business, it’s difficult to accurately forecast turnover and profit over the long term, which makes it hard (if not impossible) to forward plan bulk currency transfers at the best exchange rates. Not knowing their risk exposure over the next year or more rules out forward contracts as a viable option.
Instead, we act flexibly depending on their more immediate currency requirements. With their account up and running and ready when they need it, they can make transfers on an ad hoc basis as their business demands. Importantly, we can usually complete the very same day, removing much of the pressure around needing quick access to funds even if it’s being held in a foreign currency.
A quick call to the Clear team and once we know how much money they want to transfer, we provide them with the best short term rates and the absolute minimum of hassle – a crucial factor when time is short and you’re being pulled in every direction by a demanding business.
Every business relationship is unique, and we recognise that being versatile and adaptable is key not just to our success but also to the businesses we work with. We pride ourselves on finding the right balance between being proactive and reactive – something that’s particularly key to a business like The Magic of Things.
Once our relationship was up and running, The Magic of Things’ first point of call became the Clear Payments Platform – a secure online portal that gives our clients anytime, anywhere access to their account details and previous transactions as well as the tools to organise an exchange without the need for input from us. Instant rates, same day transfers and progress updates make it quick and easy to do with the added safety net of phone support should they need it.
As they only need our help on an ad hoc basis, it’s down to us to maintain our relationship and let Matt and Dave know when opportunities arise they might want to capitalise on. We’re in touch regularly, whether it’s a quick follow-up to see if they need our help with anything or because we’ve seen something special like a favourable swing in the exchange rate they might want to take advantage of if cash flow allows.
Alongside the Clear Payments Platform, it’s this side of things in particular – the advice and proactive approach to information aimed at helping them achieve the best rates and make the most of every foreign exchange transfer – that we believe delivers the real value to businesses of this size and scale. We don’t know when or how much money they may want to exchange at any given point in time, but that doesn’t influence our approach or the effort we put in to secure them the best rates and the most effective times.
As co-founder and CEO Matt so eloquently puts it,
“We use Clear Currency because it gives us the most competitive rate when moving money between our businesses in the UK and US. They keep us in the loop for particularly good times to trade or consider trading, and are reliable when it comes time to the entire transaction.”Matthew Cortland - Founder CEO The Magic Of Things
This last quote largely sums up the relationship we have with The Magic of Things and many other SMEs. They have no obligation to use us but have an open account with no long-term tie-in – and we don’t bombard them with marketing and sales to try and squeeze more business from them.
Over the last 12 months this mutually beneficial relationship has helped both us and them prosper. By developing trust and faith in our approach, we can discuss the wider business – their approach to foreign exchange, their plans for the future and from that take insight into how else we can help.
We’re pretty sure, for example, that given their success The Magic of Things won’t be limiting their Cauldrons to London and New York when there’s a whole world of budding magical mixologists out there keen to try a brew or two. And that begs the question, where next? Here we can advise on currency rates, ease of foreign exchange, trend forecasting and risk assessment and more through our bespoke consulting arm, Clear Treasury. But that’s a story for another day.
We’re proud to be the foreign exchange provider for The Magic of Things. And proud too, that we’ve helped grow Matt and Dave’s business to be sustainable and profitable internationally.
Exploiting our expertise and experience has allowed them to expand internationally and helped secure their assets and funds across currencies at the best rates with the least hassle, so they can make sure they’re spending wisely and allocating budgets effectively. The efficiency and always-there access to the Clear Currency website and Clear Payments Platform means they don’t have to worry about a complex exchange process or spend time liaising and working out the most cost-effective deals – instead they can get on with the real business of growing their business and casting The Magic of Things spell wider and further.
anytime, anywhere access to a secure online account makes transactions quick, easy and reliable.
effective, efficient foreign exchange helps keep the business balanced both sides of the Atlantic.
allocating funds to the right place at the right time helps capitalise on investment to maximise profitability.
by allowing us to track currency fluctuations and advise on when to exchange, Matt and Dave can concentrate on running the business.
by committing to an exchange rate in advance, they can plan ahead without worrying about fluctuations or currency risk.
Chief executive officer
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