Local jobs boost as £400,000 North East Growth Plus Fund loan helps Furniture Clinic expand
A Durham company set up by father and son Keith and Ben Staerck
in 2004 is expanding with the backing of a £400,000 loan from the
North East Growth Fund which is managed by FW Capital.
Furniture Clinic manufactures a range of products to clean,
repair and restore fabrics, leather and wood. These products
can be used on furniture, car interiors as well as goods such as
handbags, luggage and saddles.
The company’s high-profile customers include Rolls Royce, Harvey
Nichols, Radley, Barker and DFS while around 50% of the company’s
business is currently online.
Furniture Clinic has gone from strength to strength, opening new
branches in New York and Hong Kong, since Ben became managing
director when his father Keith retired in 2012.
In 2013 Ben spotted a gap in the market and launched Handbag
Clinic to clean, repair and restore designer handbags and in 2015
the company opened its first store on Kings Road in Chelsea.
Stores in Islington and Newcastle have since been opened.
Having expanded rapidly since it was established, the company
has recently recruited 10 staff and currently employs 65
Expansion will now see the company recruit at least 20 staff in
sales and management as well as in its repair team as it aims to
increase its annual turnover from £2.4 million to over £6 million
over the next 3 years.
“We now have a range of more than 100 cleaning products for
leather, suede and wood and we have invested in automating our
manufacturing equipment and processes to the extent that we are
currently bottling around 18,000 cleaning products a day.
“The business has seen rapid growth with a good mix of online
and trade sales. FW Capital’s investment will underpin our
expansion plans and enable us to find new customers both at home
and abroad,” Ben explained.
Furniture Clinic’s products are currently available in the UK,
US, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Vietnam, Russia, Latvia, South Korea,
Japan and Hong Kong.
Michael Vassallo, Senior Investment Executive at FW Capital,
said: “I was impressed by Ben's vision for the company and his
dynamism to take the business forward. The company is already
a huge success in a niche market and our loan will be instrumental
in the company’s expansion over the next three years.
“We’ll be working with their management team to strengthen their
position in the UK and international market places. FW
Capital is eager to work with more ambitious businesses like
Furniture Clinic who need an injection of capital to help them
achieve their growth plans.”
Named Young Business Person of the Year at the 2014 North East
Business Awards, Ben was shortlisted for Young Entrepreneur of the
Year at the Entrepreneurs’ Forum in 2015 and has just been named as
BQ magazine’s Emerging Entrepreneur for the North East.
Furniture Clinic’s loan came from the North East Growth Plus
Fund which is managed by FW Capital. The fund invests between
£350,000 and £1.25m per round in established businesses based in
the North East.