Feature News — 10 January 2019

A branding business which started out selling canoes has won a competition by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub.

Tailored Branding, based at Staffordshire Technology Park in Stafford, entered the #GrowAndGetEm social media competition before Christmas to win over £1,600 in prizes.

Richard Carty, Let’s Do Mentoring Manager and Growth Hub referral partner, Tailored Branding directors Steve and Ruth Hesford and Growth Hub Business Advisors Pam Wallis, Becky Parker and Becky Wilson.

The package included a press release, 250 business cards, a pull-up exhibition banner and 12 hours of business advice.

Director Steve Hesford, who runs the business with his wife, Ruth, said: “We’ve shifted direction since we began as Hydra Sports in 2003, selling canoes! This prize will help us spread the word about our branding and printing services in Staffordshire.”

The company began by branding its own clothing, which was noticed by groups attending sports events, resulting in a contract with British Canoeing and the creation of promotional items for the Canoeing World Championships and the Table Tennis Team World Cup in London.

Mr Hesford added: “Last February the Growth Hub introduced us to a mentor from Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, who suggested we focus on the printing side and rebrand to make this clearer to customers.”

Last year the Growth Hub helped the business apply for a £1,000 Grants for Growth grant for website development and a £10,000 Small Business Grant for an embroidery machine.

Ruth Hesford said: “In July we successfully applied for a grant to help buy a £20,000 four-head embroidery machine. We were using a single head machine which was 10 years old – now we can do a week’s production in four hours. We’ll be creating a new job in the next few months to help run the machine and assist with production.

“We want to expand into Direct To Garment printing, which will allow us to create bespoke short-run products, as well as increasing our embroidery service with the new machine.

“I would encourage other businesses to contact the Growth Hub; I’m so glad we did – there’s no harm in asking.”

Growth Hub business advisor Becky Parker said: “By speaking with an advisor, Tailored Branding were able to unlock new contacts to give them the boost they needed.

“We’ve helped 10,000 businesses over the last three years; we’re not just a free helpline – we’re a team. There are eight business advisors who can help with anything from grant funding to apprentice schemes.”

For more information call the Growth Hub on 0300 111 8002. For more about Tailored Branding visit tailoredbranding.co.uk or call in at the business’s open day on February 13, from 1-6pm at Unit 20 Wolseley Court, Staffordshire Technology Park.

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