A family-run curtain-making firm from Castleford is on course to reach the 30-staff mark after switching its focus from retailing to manufacturing.
Nationwide Curtain Makers, which two years ago employed just six people, used to make and sell curtains and blinds from two shops, but, thanks to advice and support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), has changed its business model, moved into a new 5,500 sq ft manufacturing facility and now produces curtains that are used in the changing rooms of high-street stores and hotel bedrooms.
Wife and husband Nicola and Stephen Boyd, along with son James, have worked closely with Jeff Long, an external consultant, to mastermind a huge change in fortunes. Although the company has retained the retail arm of its business, 70% of its manufacturing output is now for commercial customers, including the likes of Marks & Spencer, the De Vere Hotels chain and even a nuclear power station.
Nicola said that tapping into external expertise with the support from MGP opened the family’s eyes to the possibilities and helped bring about a shift in mindset that enabled it to recognise that its real strength was in manufacturing.
“The family have been involved in the industry for over 20 years, but it’s only since we started working with MGP over the last year that we have seen a dramatic change in our business, doubling our head count last year to 15 and we’re on course to double it again this year to 30'' said Nicola.
“By thinking of ourselves as a manufacturer instead of a retailer, we have been able to develop the business and win commercial contracts, securing some high-profile projects in the process. We have also been commissioned for more unusual projects, such as protective fabric jackets for boilers at a nuclear power station and 3D fabric installations for exhibitions in Paris and Russia.
“None of this would have been possible without the support of MGP because they helped to develop the management skills and infrastructure needed to deliver the necessary changes in our business.”
MGPs Manufacturing Growth Manager David Whiteley said that the family-run business is a great example of a company recognising that it was too embroiled in the day-to-day operations – and seeing the benefit of engaging with external help to realise growth.
He said: “The Boyd family have been very receptive to all the advice and support available through MGP and the industry’s network of specialist consultants, such as Jeff Long, who have transformed the business, making it a big success story – not least because it has created more than 20 jobs in the last two years.”
Article source and image from the Manufacturing Growth Programme