Few businesses have exploded this year, and a fight seemed to be on the cards for Fiona and Darren Cox’s printing press.
During the lockdown, businesses closed and events were canceled, eliminating the need for sports brochures, menus, leaflets and advertising flyers.
“It was like someone had flipped the switch,” said Fiona, who runs Creative Design and Print in Stamford with her husband, Darren.
“We are very used to being busy and suddenly there was nothing open.”
The couple could have scaled back their activities, but instead they developed ideas for new production lines with their business partner ‘Villager Jim’, a photographer who lives in the Peak District with his wife Jo and daughter Hen. .
Personalized gift items – engraved wooden birdhouses, cut metal artwork, and custom prints for framing were instantly popular, and their team of five full-time and three part-time employees are now running around 300 orders per day, with their specialized cut. and printing machines running all week at their Cherryholt Road premises.
“The first lockdown brought a huge revival in the layout of your home and garden,” said Fiona. “People were suddenly more at home and wanted to beautify them with items they could buy online.
“We were based at Gas Street in Stamford, where we mainly printed leaflets and leaflets. Now we have had to move to bigger premises to allow us to operate more machines.
“We also hired three new employees in the past month. “
Surrounded, at the end of a workday, by dozens of mail bags with items ready to be shipped to customers, Fiona added: Lots of work.
“We will be very busy until Christmas, and in particular Black Friday, with the online discounts.”
Fiona admits that they don’t have much time to plan for the future of the business, but consider themselves lucky to have had their busiest year so far, when so many other industries have experienced difficulties.
“We have had a lot of support from family and friends and it has been very helpful to us in growing the business,” she added.
Having studied design at De Montfort University in Leicester, Fiona, who is now 39 (Friday), worked at GA Graphics in Bath Row, Stamford, before working for Creative Design and Print.
She and her husband Darren, 45, then took over this business 10 years ago and now work with ‘Villager Jim’, selling products through their website www.villagerjimsshop.com and its associated Facebook page.
Fiona also recently launched her own Facebook page with her business partners Jo and Hen, The Country Chicks, on which they share photos and snippets of life at their small estate in Rutland and the Peak District, and are developing a range of products featuring fun and original images. of the cattle they raise.
“My grandfather worked on a farm and my sister Emma and I were told if we had any money to invest it in land or property,” Fiona explained.
“So when we could, we bought land in Ridlington. “
Soon the sisters bought two sheep, and then came two Highland cows. Slowly, they formed a herd of Texel sheep and a Highland fold, with their iconic cattle grazing near Barnsdale Lodge.
“Between my dad and me, Highlands has become an obsession,” said Fiona, whose father, Jeff Dale, is an auctioneer and Rutland County Councilor.
“He’s even been president of the Midland and Southern Highland Cattle Club, and I’m one of the few women to show Highland cattle.
“I would do it full time, but there’s no money in there,” she said with a laugh.