How Settle Working Capital helped Dudley Stephens launch their summer line


6 monthsextended cash runway


Sisters Lauren Stephens and Kaki McGrath, along with their mom, Bonnie Dudley, founded Dudley Stephens to create stylish, everyday wear from recycled performance fabrics for modern women. The idea quickly took hold in the marketplace and the company grew rapidly, but its co-founders soon discovered inventory challenges associated with their seasonal business model. Purchasing inventory in the first half of the year to sell in the second half created inventory gaps and prolonged cash conversion cycles. The team needed flexible financing to buy inventory and invest in marketing while retaining autonomy and control over their company.


The Dudley Stephens team initially sought outside capital with their bank. However, the rates for a line of credit were higher than expected. They then discovered Settle Working Capital, which offered competitive rates and flexible financing that helped bridge seasonal inventory gaps and also allowed them to maintain control over their brand without giving up any equity. As Kaki says, "Settle's rates were great, and their offering just worked for what we needed. Partnering with them was a no-brainer."


With the seasonality of the business and having the ability to pay those upfront inventory bills with Settle Working Capital in months when we're slow, it's really crucial for the business.

Kaki McGrath, Co-Founder

The Outcome

With Settle Working Capital, Lauren and Kaki were able to reduce their seasonal inventory and cash flow gaps, extending their cash runway by 6 months. Settle’s support was also vital during the pandemic when they had to shift suppliers and stock up on inventory. With the additional liquidity from Settle, Lauren and Kaki were also able to develop an entire summer line including dresses, tops, and bottoms made from innovative, lightweight, recycled fabrics, transforming Dudley Stephens into a year-round brand. As they approach their 10-year anniversary, the team is now focused on reaching more women and introducing new collections.

Advice to Founders

Lauren and Kaki emphasize the benefits of steady, sustainable growth in the long run, over rapid expansion or going viral: “Bigger isn’t always better,” says Kaki. They recommend finding funding options that allow for steady growth and maintaining a profitable brand, rather than chasing rapid growth or outside investment that’s not aligned with your goals.


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*Individual customer results may vary, claims in these testimonials represent results for these individual customers, and may not reflect typical customer results, and are not intended to represent or guarantee that any customer will achieve the same or similar results.

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