BCT Outdoors

Business Loans Case Study

Left to right: Chris Fawcett, Director of BCT Outdoors and Jonathan Craig, Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager

The Company

A Bradford-based tent and marquee specialist is venturing into the field of luxury ‘glamping’ with new product lines thanks to a £70,000 investment from Finance Yorkshire.

The company – which started in 1896 as Bradford Cover and Twine Company – manufactures tents for youth groups, tour and adventure holiday operators as well as garden marquees and soft play equipment for individual as well as large international clients.

BCT Outdoors Director Chris Fawcett said: “The company's success relies heavily on research and development and listening to customers, and this philosophy, backed by traditional skills, has enabled the company to build a large customer base both at home and abroad.

“Everything in our collection is manufactured at our Bradford factory - we do not import any tents.”

The Challenge

Building on its 100-year pedigree, BCT Outdoors is now looking to capitalise on the current trend for ‘glamping’ – ‘glamorous camping’ on holiday or at music festivals – which involves more luxurious accommodation and facilities than those traditionally associated with the outdoors.

“We were looking to bring more new glamping, as well as soft play products, to market but designing and registering the products - as well as the machinery to bring them into production – can be a costly process.”

The Solution

“Our accountant Richard Doyle at Auker Rhodes suggested we approach Finance Yorkshire and they were very straightforward to deal with,” said Chris.

The Investment Rationale

Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager Jonathan Craig said: “Chris knew in order to grow the company it couldn’t stand still. But BCT Outdoors are not alone in finding that in order to research, develop, manufacture and promote products, more working capital was required to underpin the growth strategy and that’s where Finance Yorkshire can help.”

Future Expectations

The funding has helped Chris expand and improve various areas of the BCT business.

Chris said: “As well as new glamping products, we have now been able to design and launch a children’s portable play frame suitable for use in crèches, pubs, shops and at home.”

The company has also used the investment to print new brochures and catalogues, purchase a branded vehicle for deliveries, and improve its website by adding an ‘e-commerce’ section enabling customers to buy direct from the online shop.

Chris added: “The money also helped pay for us to attend an exhibition, the Motorhome, Caravan and Camping Show in London, where we met a lot of new contacts and raised our profile further in the industry.

“Our order books are full for the next few months and then the new product lines will kick in.

“We’ve done all the spade work by researching and developing these products and we’re now ready for the company to grow.”

Note: this case study is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire

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