County Durham business Crafter's Companion has received its biggest order to date after securing a major new contract with the largest craft retailer in the US.
The Coundon-based craft supplies company’s first order with Michaels Stores is worth in excess of $250,000.
With its HQ in Dallas, Michaels is North America’s leading arts and crafts speciality retailer and has more than 1,100 stores in the United States and Canada.
The mammoth order is for thousands of units of Crafter’s Companion’s flagship product ‘The Ultimate’, which is a patented, 10-in-1 paper-crafting tool that is now used by craft enthusiasts across the world.
The order will also deliver a boost to the region’s manufacturing sector as the product is made at M&S Plastics’, an injection-molding facility at Spennymoor.
Crafter’s Companion is run by award-winning entrepreneur Sara Davies who founded the business while at university in 2005.
The company designs, manufacturers and distributes paper craft-related products for enthusiasts on a global scale. Along with selling online direct to end customers via its website, the business sells through retail outlets and TV shopping channels around the world.
It’s main focus is on its crafting tools, along with other own brand products. However, it also distributes third party brands and develops products with licensing partners like Beatrix Potter and the Snowman.
After boosting its team by 10 earlier this year, Crafter’s Companion, which also has an operation in California and a new mainland Europe presence, employs around 60 people.
It posted revenues of £5.8m for 2012 and an expanded sales team is now helping the firm towards predicted turnover of £7.2m.
Davies, who is the current board chair at the Craft Hobby Association UK, said: “We are naturally delighted with this order given it’s the biggest one we have ever received or manufactured, which will go a long way in helping us further boost our US sales over the next year. Michaels is probably the most respected craft retailer on the planet so to be working with them is a fantastic honour.
“We understand the Ultimate will be used as part of a craft education initiative within its stores and online, which is great news as it will further boost our product’s presence in the US market.
“Being able to get our product into the hands of thousands of US consumers will hopefully lead to more demand from what has become a $30bn US craft market and at the same time ensure we exceed our £1m export target this year.”
The base model of The Ultimate was originally created in 2005 as a flexible tool that provides good value for money. To date, hundreds of thousands have been sold, helping create and safeguard many jobs in the North-East.
Crafter’s Companion recently announced a £100,000 investment to improve its packing and distribution facility, enabling its ambitious expansion plans over the next five years.