A Wearside firm which started life as a hobby is creating new jobs to meet demands through its website and shop and their growing business-to-business work.
Former local authority IT network manager Paul Stott initially started Lasercutouts as a hobby and sold his products at craft fairs.
He took the decision to leave his job at Gateshead Council three years ago during the downturn and start a full-time business.
Initially based in Mr Stott’s garage in Washington, the business moved into a small unit in Southwick and then to the larger premises he now occupies at the Crowther Industrial Estate, where it has space to expand.
The firm now designs and produces a large selection of precision shapes, quotes and letters for crafters, while its business-to-business work, in areas like display and signage, is also growing quickly.
The company is now expanding from its current three members of staff and is aiming to create two new jobs and an apprenticeship as it prepares for the Christmas rush, which for Lasercutouts begins in June.
Mr Stott said: “The Crowther Industrial Estate is known as a crafting estate and our core business is providing the crafters’ market with shapes, quotes and bespoke designed pieces which they then embellish and sell through their own outlets.
“We are now in a manufacturing unit five times larger than our original Southwick premises. It also benefits from a retail space, which has given us a public face and additional passing trade.
“Our growth here at Crowther has been considerable.”
Mr Stott invested his own money in the company’s initial start-up equipment but Lasercutouts has also worked closely with the business investment team at Sunderland City Council.
In addition to advice on growth, the company was supported by the city council in its search for new equipment and larger premises.
Sunderland City Council leader, councillor Paul Watson, said: “Lasercutouts is a great example of a business that started small and is now poised to flourish.
“We are pleased to support the company’s ambitions and are looking forward to seeing Lasercutouts flourish in its new premises. It is great news the firm is creating jobs for Sunderland, and bringing in business which will benefit the wider economy.
“Our business investment team is always ready to speak to new and existing businesses that are looking to locate themselves in Sunderland, as well as ambitious companies already based here that we can help to expand and meet their potential.”