The deal, which was brokered with the assistance of Rollo Davidson McFarlane of Cupar, Clark Associates in Auchterarder and the Bank of Scotland became official on February 1st 2010.
A manufacturer of high quality melamine table mats and coasters, Castle Melamine employs 12 staff, all of whom will be retained following the purchase. With an annual turnover of £1m, its customers include Harvey Nichols, Next, Lakeland, Historic Scotland and BAA. Castle Melamine will continue to trade under its existing name as a division of Scotbadge Ltd.
Based in Bo’ness, Customworks was established in 1998 by Ian and Jackie Scott to manufacture branded products for the heritage market. With licences to reproduce the works of great artists such as Degas, Dali, Picasso, Mucha and Matisse to name a few, their extensive range of products includes magnets, notebooks, badges, jigsaw puzzles and mousemats, 80% of which are manufactured in house by their team of 47 permanent staff. They also have a dedicated design facility for producing bespoke branded items for individual attractions.
The company is proud of their customer retention record – Craig Manly from the Natural History Museum says ‘We have built a great relationship with Customworks over the years, working closely with them to develop merchandise for the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. At every stage of the process, they are quick to react and produce what we ask of them, from colour proofs to initial samples through to final product. We are delighted with the quality of the finished product range which has grown year on year.’
‘Thanks to the loyalty of our customers and the support of our distributor network, our business has grown considerably in the last decade’ says Jackie, ‘We are predicting turnover of £3 million this financial year, a 30% rise on 2009’ .
Their client list has also grown to feature a number of prestigious UK establishments including The National Gallery London, Tate Galleries and The National Trust. At an international level, they have distributors in 13 countries and are also suppliers to the Prado Madrid, Museu Picasso Malaga and the National Gallery of Australia. Esther Torres from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is a great fan. ‘We are delighted to be working with Customworks – they have become a valued supplier of a range of well-made gift products which consistently sell through. The Customworks team are a pleasure to work with, they offer a friendly and reliable service, they respond quickly and efficiently and produce a high-quality range of interesting products.’
‘We firmly believe that the acquisition of Castle Melamine is going to be mutually beneficial for both businesses’ says Ian, ‘Previously our key customer base has been predominantly in the heritage market while we know Castle Melamine has focused on high street retail. Now each business will have access to the resources and sales channels of the other.’
Both Jackie and Ian are delighted that in the current climate, they have been able to secure jobs in the local area and are keen to point out that the assistance they received from their lawyers, accountants and from the Bank of Scotland has made a real difference; ‘There is a positive message in the fact that there is still potential for small to medium sized businesses to grow in these trying times and we would like to thank the Bank of Scotland for their support, particularly Stephen Leckie and Jayne Stirling from the Business Banking branch in Springkerse, Stirling, as well as Sandy Green and Kate Black from Rollo Davidson McFarlane and Colin Clark and Scott Clarke from Clark Associates’
This expansion is not occurring in isolation, Customworks are currently involved in a joint venture in the USA as well as setting up a factory in Australia later in the year. ‘It’s an exciting time for us and we are looking forward to the opportunities for development of the Customworks and Castle Melamine brands.’