Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Sara Davies has announced ambitious growth plans for her Crafter’s Companion company despite facing increased costs.

Crafter’s Companion, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, distributes equipment and materials for paper crafting both in the UK and abroad.

It was founded by Mrs. Davies in 2005 while she was a student at York University.

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Reports for the year ending March 31, 2022, have already been issued by the company, which also has a base in California.

The accounts show group revenues fell by one percent from £38.3 million to £37.8 million.

At the same time, the group has been battling growing costs, with operating profit falling to £1.2 million.

The company has ambitious growth goals this year despite the many cost pressures, including rising raw materials, shipping, and energy prices.

The warehouse in Newton Aycliffe has already been expanded and created new jobs.

The crafts market in the UK, Europe, and the US is still competitive despite the political and economic difficulties, according to CEO Simon Davies, Sara’s husband.

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In the report, he said: “We continue, as we have done, to invest in sound product development to keep our pricing competitive despite raw materials increases several times during the year. Maintaining affordable pricing is key to ensuring that we strengthen our brand awareness.

“We continue our drive to innovate, developing and launching new products across our product portfolio to sell across our multiple sales channels. These products are designed and packaged for the global marketplace to ensure they can be sold in the UK, Europe and the US markets without the need for repurposing or redesigning of packaging.

“In the UK the sales decrease was predominantly due to two major factors – our major UK TV shopping customer went into administration in Q4 leading to a poor last three months sales performance and a debt write-off, giving rise to a cash impact in a total of circa £0.6m, (and) challenges across the UK wholesale due to customers being overstocked and having the wrong stocks at the wrong time due to the impact of Covid.”

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Mr. Davies said the company’s retail stores performed better since there were no Covid lockdowns, and its global e-commerce sales improved as a result of greater trade with the US and the launch of its global Spectrum Noir website.

This resulted in a 12 percent yearly sales increase, which helped the company offset some of its difficulties.

Significant increases in outward postage and carrier expenses (up £400,000 year over year) and inward container shipping (up £1.4 million year over year) also had an impact on the results, which reduced profitability in the year group by £1.8 million.

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Mr. Davies said: “Despite this being another challenging year in our growth plan, we have continued to rationalise the business to stay as lean as we can on controllable costs whilst still keeping a close eye on positioning the right staffing structure to deliver the future growth plans.

“By the end of March 2022, we will have 221 employees worldwide as a result of these developments, up from 169 in the UK and 32 in the US.”

Source: Business Live

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