Homeware firm plans new products and global growth

Left to right: Melanie Reynolds, Finance Yorkshire with Tristan Cowell of IC Innovations

A company that designs and manufactures innovative home and garden products, including Christmas decorations, for major retailers is expanding its product range and targeting overseas sales.

IC Innovations has grown its workforce from four to 20 people since it received a £50,000 investment from Finance Yorkshire in 2010 – one of the first investments made by the business fund.

In 2010, the fledgling company operated from a small office and required investment funding to buy Christmas stock.

Now, further investment from Finance Yorkshire and other lenders, has enabled IC Innovations to purchase a historic, three-storey office building in Sheffield city centre.

Managing Director Tristan Cowell recalls: “In 2010, the banks weren’t so keen to provide facilities as our balance sheet wasn’t strong enough. The initial backing from Finance Yorkshire made a huge difference to our working capital. We are now repaying that confidence by growing as predicted.

“Our growth has been driven by the launch of new product ranges and continued support from our fantastic multiple and independent retail customers.

“We have always got new projects on the drawing board including an innovative range of branded kitchenware launching in 2016, which we’re very excited about.”

IC Innovations now supplies seasonal home, garden and gift items to Homebase, Waitrose, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsburys along with major High Street chains, garden centres and independent customers. It also distributes products for 3M, the manufacturer of Scotch tape.

With 50 per cent of turnover generated in the final quarter of each year, the business is already building product ranges for Christmas 2017. It has developed relationships with suppliers in Asia and opened a showroom in the Far East In addition the company has plans to explore more internationally-based opportunities.

IC Innovations relocated its offices, design studio and showroom this year from Sheaf Bank Business Park in Heeley to a new site on Attercliffe Road in Sheffield city centre, a historic building originally known as part of Albion Works.

“Our new premises are a real step-up from our previous offices on a business park, where we ran out of space again having been in three different offices over the years,” added Tristan.

Finance Yorkshire’s Melanie Reynolds, said: “When we first invested in IC Innovations, we could see a bright future ahead for this entrepreneurial business. With our ongoing support, they have cultivated relationships with major retailers and developed new exciting products. We believe the best is yet to come from Tristan and his team at IC Innovations.”

Alex McWhirter, Chief Executive at Finance Yorkshire, said: “IC Innovations is a superb example of the type of business that Finance Yorkshire aims to support, demonstrating the long-term support we provide and the development that the company has been able to accomplish. At a time when it was unable to secure funding from traditional lenders, Finance Yorkshire was able to step in and provide crucial working capital. IC Innovations is now a major regional success story, creating wealth and jobs.”

IC Innovations has also received investment from Santander and Sheffield City Council via the Regional Growth Fund.

To date our investments have enabled companies to increase their turnover by £352 million, attract a further £187 million from other private sector sources. And through that activity, Finance Yorkshire investment have helped those SMEs to create and safeguard more than 10,600 jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, UK Government and match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or call 0300 030 6060.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire