Preston bamboo flooring business sees sustainable growth

Source: Boost Business Lancashire 22 May 2019

A Preston-based bamboo flooring specialist has growth aspirations to recruit six employees after receiving advice from Boost – Lancashire’s business growth hub.

David Lord set up Bamboo Family Co Ltd in 2018 importing bamboo flooring from China which he then distributes throughout the UK.

David had taken early retirement after being diagnosed with MS but felt ready to work again after positive stem cell treatment and decided to start up his own business.

He was introduced to Boost’s Growth Support Programme after seeing a Facebook post about the support and was then referred to Sue Denver from Winning Pitch to help him get started.

Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Winning Pitch delivers Boost’s Growth Support Programme.

David said: “I have family connections with a niche bamboo flooring manufacturer in China. I recognised that this was a great business opportunity for me and something I could operate in UK, despite my disability.

“I was keen to be involved in promoting the environmental benefits of bamboo flooring. But having little experience in importing, wholesaling and marketing, I needed the confidence to set it up.”

Bamboo flooring is much more durable than wood and longer lasting too. As a grass, Bamboo regrows quickly when cut and is faster to replace that replanting felled trees.

Rona McFall, Head of Entrepreneurial Solutions at Winning Pitch said: “When David was introduced to Boost, he needed knowledge to get started. Things had significantly changed since he last worked. This included learning about marketing and social media.

“He attended Boost’s Grow How Series to learn all about Google AdWords and digital marketing as well attending Facebook masterclasses. He benefited from our practical sales techniques course – to help him manage the opportunities his marketing efforts were generating.

“David also needed a better understanding about importing from China. Through the Growth Support Programme he learnt to manage this part of his business more effectively.”

Since receiving support and advice from Boost, David has set up storage and distribution facilities in Rossendale. He has also exhibited at homebuilding and household shows in London and Birmingham to showcase the bamboo flooring and secure potential supply contracts.

His customers include flooring suppliers, building contractors and interior design outlets

When David joined the Growth Support Programme his growth aspirations were to recruit six employees and turnover £500,000 over a three-year period. He is now developing his website to enable customers to order online and plans to appoint a part-time IT specialist as well as additional warehouse workers.

Rona added: “Bamboo Family Co is still in its early stages of growth, but with David’s international contacts in the industry and relationship with distributors in China, he’s well on track to meet his growth targets.”

David said: “It’s all heading in the right direction and I’m still in touch with Sue, who has been very helpful. We have plans over the next 12 months to launch a range of flooring products made from a limestone composite polymer, another sustainable hard floor product.

“Promoting the use of renewable products in the building trade is a key selling feature for our business. We are keen to be known as an eco-friendly business doing ‘our bit’ to protect the planet.”

Boost has received £3.65m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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