Gateshead stag and hen firm on track for year of growth

Gateshead-based Last Night of Freedom aims to take advantage of growing economy with integrated product offering

Matt Mavir from Last Night of Freedom
Matt Mavir from Last Night of Freedom

A Gateshead company that has organised thousands of stag and hen weekends in around 65 locations worldwide is set for another year of growth as its continues to hone its offering.

Last Night of Freedom, which takes care of everything from hotel bookings to activities and reps, achieved total sales of just under £5.5m in 2014, providing roughly 3,000 weekends and selling 30,000 accessories. In the same period staff numbers rose from 23 to 44.

The company is now hoping to refine its business model further, with the aim of growing sales to between £6.5m-£7m over the next 12 months.

“We’re looking to better integrate both our systems and our offering,” said managing director Matthew Mavir.

“At the moment, people are coming to us to look for either ideas, weekends or accessories and now we need to get better at making it more of an experience through a more integrated and streamlined system.

“It’s a really, really exciting time, with so much planned at the business.”

Established in 1999, when Mr Mavir was still a student at Manchester University, Last Night of Freedom started life as a website offering advice for running successful stag and hen celebrations.

Mr Mavir’s initial plan was to attract an online audience large enough to monetise the project solely through advertising.

However, he began to receive requests for more direct involvement in organisation, and, bringing the business to the North East in 2001, saw steady growth following the new direction.

Matt Mavir from Last Night of Freedom
Matt Mavir from Last Night of Freedom
 

The recession hit hard, but forced the company to reassess its focus and diversify, ultimately paving the way for solid expansion in the last few years.

Last Night of Freedom is now concentrating on delivering as much of the experience as it can deliver itself, meaning customers do not have to go anywhere else.

As far as activities are concerned, it has organised everything from foot golf and so-called bubble football to zombie and werewolf hunts. Venues, meanwhile, have included everything from a fighter jet to an Olympic bobsleigh track.

Mr Mavir, who runs the business with two other directors, said: “Back in the day, we were about the knowledge, but that has changed because of the internet. Now, everyone has the knowledge but what they’re after is someone to take care of everything - we’ve done the legwork.”

He added that, having recently become a Living Wage employer, there would be further “buy-in” from staff.

Improving economic conditions would also play a role in helping the firm achieve its targets.

“What we’re seeing is the reverse of everything that hit us in 2008,” he said. “I’m massively motivated - I saw the light after 2008. I know what we want to achieve and the company knows what it wants to achieve.

“We’ve redone our branding and we know where to position our products. Externally, the economy is starting to pick up, people have a bit more cash and they’re wanting to have fun.”

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