School Trends gears up as orders rise

L‑R Andy Cocker, Bank of Scotland, David Ward, Finance Yorkshire, Kelwin Heighton, School Trends, Keith Williams, UKSE.

As the annual flood of school uniform orders arrives at School Trends, a package of finance including Finance Yorkshire and UK Steel Enterprise is helping ensure the nation’s school uniforms are delivered on time.

The Sheffield-based company embroiders or prints school badges and logos on up to 1.5 million items of schoolwear each year, but the sweat shirts, polo shirts, fleece jumpers, coats, blazers and sportswear all have to be bought in advance, and suppliers have to be paid, hence the help with working capital.

School Trends Director Kelwin Heighton explains: “We need to finance the period between buying the items of clothing and sale to the schools. This takes place over just a few months - between June and October. This year, needing to raise around £600,000, we have gone to Finance Yorkshire, UK Steel Enterprise, Bank of Scotland and Baxi Partnership.”

School Trends currently employs around 130, with 20 of them out on the road visiting many of the 27,000 schools around the country taking orders for their uniforms. The remainder are based at their Westfield site in Sheffield where school emblems are machine embroidered or printed onto the fabric as required.

Stock is bought from around the world but mainly from recognised garment manufacturers in Europe and Asia. Schools order their own uniforms and School Trends decorate the garments to their requirements.

The company, which was included in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For three years running, is employee-owned following a buy-out by the workforce in 2004. Employees agreed to pay five percent of their salary to buy their shares in the company.

David Ward, Portfolio Manager at Finance Yorkshire, said: “We have built a long-standing relationship with School Trends and have kept a close eye on how the business has grown during recent years.

“We are therefore pleased to continue our support with this recent investment which we believe will help the business reach the next stage of its development.”

Agreeing the loan for School Trends, UK Steel Enterprise regional manager Keith Williams commented: “School Trends is a great example of how an employee owned company can be highly successful. It is a well-managed business and we had no hesitation in supporting.

“Working closely with David Ward of Finance Yorkshire and Andy Cocker of Bank of Scotland, we have been able to provide a package of funding which meets the company’s requirements.”

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

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million 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, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit or ring 0845 649 0000.

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