How Silverbird Saved a Russian Seller of Toys from Going Bankrupt

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With a perpetual five-o'clock shadow, a penchant for wearing expensive suits, and a thick Russian accent, Igor Lyapin embodies the classic image of a middle-aged Russian businessman, dealing in commodities trading, or working with government contracts. But looks can be deceiving and this is certainly true about Igor.

After getting an Economics degree at Moscow State University, the twenty-four-year-old Igor Lyapin dreamed of working in the sales department at one of the biggest retail companies in Russia. Climbing from an entry-level intern straight out of college to a position of VP of Regional Supply Management at a major toy conglomerate, Igor witnessed the production assembly line and learned the ins and outs of toy-making.

Shaking his head, he recalls those days in disgust:

Igor Lyapin
a Russian entrepreneur
Most of the toys we sold were made from plastic. Not only did it have a negative impact on the environment but it was also purely dangerous for the children!
At that time, he was 35 and already had two kids of his own. By New Year’s Eve in 2019, Igor made a decision: turn his career 180 degrees and start his own business. That’s how MAVEON — a company that manufactures high quality, eco-friendly and safe wooden toys — was born, with Igor as its only shareholder.
Igor and his company are manufacturing safe, eco-friendly toys in Russia and ship them all over the world.
In search for quality
To make sure his company produced only the best quality toys, unrivalled by any of his local competitors, Igor decided to manufacture his toys in the UK. His plan seemed brilliant and elegant: manufacture in Russia, ship to the UK for assembly, and sell the toys globally.

His sales department years also have taught him that if you’re going to sell, you might as well sell in bulk. By using dropshipping — that is, sending ready-made goods to existing e-commerce companies to sell under their own brand — he would be able to scale his international business in no time.
We picked our target market as the UK plus the EU. Which meant we had to import the wooden toys from Russia into the UK, where we were going to sell them via the Internet, marketplaces to wholesale distributors
Having a sales office in the UK allowed Igor to be closer to his customers, and thus offer better, even more competitive pricing.

There was just one problem: nobody would open him a corporate bank account.
Solving the banking pain
Because Igor’s company (MAVEON) was registered as a legal entity in the UK and Igor himself had Russian residency, his chances of getting a bank account opened for his business were minuscule. This created significant impediments in selling his goods.
We had to delay some deliveries. We lost money. It was awful," he recalls. "We spent countless weeks trying to find solutions that would allow us to pay our Russian company from an IBAN account in the UK and couldn’t find one. Meanwhile, we were losing significant market share…
Igor thought about traveling to Turkey and get a business account opened there but had to postpone the trip because of COVID-19. He couldn’t travel to the UK and sort his business affairs there for the same reason.

In the end, Igor had no other solution than to pay his company with a credit card. Because Igor frequently delayed on his suppliers, they stopped giving him good terms. And that significantly impacted the company’s margin.
One evening, Igor stumbled upon Silverbird’s website while searching for alternative banking solutions for international traders and immediately fell in love the promise of having a "digital bank designed for international trade".
Oh my god, I remember thinking, does this mean I can actually stop worrying about making payments on time? You mean, this is pure B2B cross-national transaction and it’s 100% online?! I didn’t even know such thing existed! Needless to say, I was hooked instantly.
Silverbird’s 100% human support with a deep understanding of international trade, 0 monthly or onboarding fees, and no deposit requirements, turned out to be the best option for Igor. After filling out his application on Silverbird’s website, he had access to banking services within just 14 days.

Today, Igor enjoys seamless trade, low FOREX fees, and is never late on his payments to his suppliers. His business is better than ever before, and scored more than $ 500K in additional revenue.
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