Canine kit specialists the Accapi Group has created 20 new jobs after securing a £5m deal to distribute premium dogwear across 21 European countries.
Accapi was first established in County Durham in 2009 by serial entrepreneur and climbing fanatic George Heydon, to distribute the Italian company’s Nexus Energy Source products – clothing made from a material that channels infrared energy.
As well as selling specialist sports apparel, the firm has since expanded into pet products, acting as distributor to a range of dogwear brands to allow outdoor enthusiasts to take their dogs on activities like trekking, trail running, sailing or skiing.
Since partnering up with US company Ruffwear – which makes technical harnesses, jackets, collars, leads, boots and backpacks for dogs – the Stanley-based firm has increased UK wholesale turnover from £20,000 in 2010 to around £500,000, with co-owner, chief executive and former Barbour and Berghaus senior figure Andrew Geere at the helm.
The multi-million-pound deal will see the company grow its headcount from four to 24 to handle the expansion into Europe, with 10 new jobs being created at the head office and in other countries, and a further 10 sales people being appointed early this year.
Geere, who joined the firm as a partner in 2010, said: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Ruffwear into Europe following three and a half years of successful growth in the UK, France and Lithuania. The strategy to have one principal distribution partner in Europe will enable supply chain improvements and cost reduction to benefit our retailers.”
George Heydon added: “Throughout my career I have always worked with top brands and established products, taking them to the next stage in their development.
“Ruffwear is a category inventor and leader of outdoor adventure accessories for dogs; they are by far the best in class, which is why we have chosen to work with them.”