A Lancashire business which specialises in loft storage solutions predicts a 20% increase in turnover following the launch of its newest product.
Nelson-based Loft Leg has just launched its newest product the Loft Leg XL, specially designed for new homes, following support from Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.
Set up by Matthew Driver and Gareth Storey in 2012, Loft Leg’s first product the Loft Leg was an overnight success and is stocked in major stores including Wickes and Homebase. It was created to help tackle loft-storage problems while eliminating installation compression.
The Loft Leg was targeted primarily at existing homeowners in the retrofit market. Since then the company has launched other products including the Loft Light, Loft Lid and Loft Ledge.
The Loft Leg XL has been developed with new build homes in mind where insulation depths are much greater than the current government recommended levels and Matthew and Gareth were supported by UCLan’s Innovation Clinic and Boost’s Growth Mentoring Programme.
The support from UCLan involved helping to identify where the product components required structural enhancement and optimising Loft Leg’s brand impact, ensuring that the total business offer worked at a higher level.
And, through Growth Mentoring, Loft Leg was supported with its product development strategy, sales targets, storage alternatives and building customer relationships. They were guided by mentor David Baker, who has a strong background in plastics manufacturing.
Matthew said: “We attended the UCLan Innovation Clinic open day at the time when we were thinking about launching a different sized Loft Leg, we found it very useful so approached the team there for support. They were able to help us with verification, we had the design and we had some prototypes but before the launch we had to be sure of the strength and safety of it.
“UCLan did finite element analysis to prove it was strong enough for use and they also helped with compression testing, which was all incredibly helpful.
“This new product allows us to tap into a new market and could create a huge chunk of business for us. We predict increasing our turnover by 20% and there may be an opportunity to create one or two new jobs – that very much depends on its success.”
Matthew added: “We have also been supported on branding and communication across the business. It was identified that we were very product focused and they helped us with presenting these products as solutions for our customers. This involved the concept of an infographic explaining who we are and what we do and that is being used in a campaign running in Wickes stores.
“UCLan worked hard to identify exactly what they could help with me and were very hands on, it wasn’t just advice, it was the physical work, we had access to graphic designers and product designers, which were a huge help.
“The Growth Mentoring programme was another strand of support we received to help us move forward, working with David and developing a Growth Action Plan helped us identify targets and opportunities to grow. The help was all incredibly useful for a fast-growing business like ours.”
Iain Martin, project manager at the UCLan Innovation Clinic, said: “Working with Loft Leg on both product development and branding has been a great project to be involved with. The strategic support we have delivered will enable the business and brand to grow and dominate their specialist area in the market and we wish them every success.”
Growth Mentoring is a fully funded programme delivered by Community and Business Partners and Orvia.
Jaydee Davis, operations manager at Community and Business Partners, said: “Loft Leg is enjoying great success and growing very quickly. This has created new challenges and Matthew and Gareth needed support in areas of business which they were unfamiliar with and that’s where their mentor David came in “Mentoring is a great way of helping a business grow, not only because of the perspective mentors can give businesses, but because they’ve been there and done it themselves and can help businesses avoid the mistakes they made.”
The UCLan Innovation Clinic has received £1.4 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Department for 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