A family-run curtain-making firm is on course to double its workforce 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 sqft 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 external consultant Jeff Long 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 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.
She explained: “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.
“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.”