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Branded Items Group shortlisted for Family Business of the Year

Branded Items Group shortlisted for Family Business of the Year

St Helens promotional items and branded merchandising company The Branded Items Group have been shortlisted for Family business of the year at The Annual St Helens Business Awards hosted 16th May 2019 at St Helens RLFC.

Managing Director Steve Fairhurst commented

"We set up the business with ambitions to be a major player in the promotional items industry, but primarily this was about securing our children's future. We took a risk when Louise left a well paid job with a large company to start the company, but its now paying dividends"

The business has attained 70 % growth in year 2 and  already has hundreds of customers  all over the UK, including NHS England, the BBC and the Foreign Office.

Business Development Director Louise stated "We are a family business in the truest sense of the word and made a number of sacrifices to get the business off the ground.  We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award as it's recognition for all the work we have put in from the start."


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Branded Items Group targets online growth with NPIF investment - NEWS

Branded Items Group targets online growth with NPIF investment - NEWS


The Branded Items Group in St Helens is set to build on it’s early stage growth by investing a £25,000 loan from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund through GC Business Finance.


The Branded Items Group (BIG) offers over 10,000 different promotional items and branded merchandise, from USB sticks and magnets to branded clothing. After launching in January 2017 initially selling just one range of products, BIG has grown and expanded to now supply over 500 clients including NHS England, the MOD, Cancer Research and St Helens Chamber of Commerce.


After being introduced to GC Business Finance by Dropjaw Ventures, BIG owner Steve Fairhurst will now use the £25k investment to catalyse further growth by investing in a new online platform, CRM, IT and marketing with an initial plan to create two full time roles at the company’s St Helens site.


Steve Fairhurst said: “We ran a test company for two years before launching The Branded Items Group and in the process mystery shopped and learned a lot about some of the largest companies in the sector.  We felt there was a market for a company that delivered old fashioned customer service in an industry, that at times, can be too transactional and ecommerce driven.  We are set up to compete with anyone on pricing, but as a family owned company, service is the major focus of our business and this has allowed us to grow our client base to include some of the largest organisations in the country. The funding from NPIF means that we are able to invest online and help us plan for further recruitment, build on our reputation and develop our client list even further.”


Mark Gibbons of GC Business Finance said: “In the last two years Steve has developed his business from a start up supplying branded magnets to a really exciting and ambitious company with an extensive portfolio of products.  We’re delighted that the NPIF investment will now fund the next stages of the BIG journey and look forward to working with their growing team for many years to come.”


Roy Shelton, Managing Partner of DropJaw Ventures, said: “Working with Steve and the team at Branded Items Group team is at the core of the access to finance and advisory services we deliver to companies looking to scale up. We’re thrilled to have worked with the GC Business Finance team on the BIG and several other transactions.”


Sue Barnard, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “We’re pleased that NPIF has  supported BIG in its plan to invest in a new online platform and marketing activities, alongside funding its headcount growth. The company already has an impressive customerbase of over 500 clients including NHS England and Cancer Research, and we look forward to seeing it scale up further, with the use of NPIF investment.”


NPIF - BFS & MSIF Microfinance  is a product fund managed by GC Business Finance GC Business Finance in partnership with MSIF and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). The NPIF project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank. 


Businesses seeking further information about the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund can contact or call 0161 245 4977.

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Jade Megan Croxford Joins The BIG Team

Branded Items Group have this week welcomed digital marketing apprentice, Jade Megan Croxford to the team.  Jade, who is completing a digital marketing qualification with St Helens Chamber has joined BIG working on a part-time basis as part of her course. Jade is quickly learning the ropes in the complicated world of promotional items and branded merchandise and will have responsibility for developing some elements of the companies social media presence.

Managing Director Steve Fairhurst commented 

"We were impressed with Jade as she had the foresight and confidence to contact us directly to ask for a placement.  So far she has showed impressive commitment to the business and we hope she will gain valuable experience by working with our team."

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NEWS - Steve Prescot Foundation forms partnership with Branded Items Group

NEWS - Steve Prescot Foundation forms partnership with Branded Items Group

The Steve Prescott Foundation are delighted to announce their partnership with Branded Items Group.

Linzi Prescott Trustee of the Steve Prescott Foundation said "We have teamed up with BIG as we feel passionate about supporting the local businesses within our town. It has been a pleasure to work with Louise and Steve over the past few weeks with their professional, yet friendly approach to business. After years of dealing with companies in the marketing industry who do not offer that personal touch, it is really refreshing to know that we have a great company on our door step that will support the work of the SPF!"

BIG will be kindly providing a branded ‘Pride of St. Helens’ pen for each guest at the Community Awards this coming Friday, 16th November.

Louise Fairhurst from Branded Items Group said "The Steve Prescott Foundation work tirelessly to improve the health and well being of our community in St Helens, we are elated to help, support and hopefully encourage more people to go that extra step or mile to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We look forward to our partnership and making a difference."

The SPF will continue to work closely with Branded Items Group for the supplies of merchandise for all future events including the GPW Recruitment St Helens 10k Run that takes place on the 10th March 2019.

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NEWS - BIG secure stage 1 funding from British Business Bank

NEWS - BIG secure stage 1 funding from British Business Bank

Branded Items Group Ltd are delighted to announce that they have secured a first round of funding for the business.  The funding will assist with the online development of the company and is essential to drive online revenue

Steve Fairhurst, Managing Director of BIG said

“We need to invest online to improve the customer experience and develop an online marketing strategy that generates more leads.  We only have a small sample of products online currently, so we need to showcase more of what we  sell, but also ensure we make the online shopping experience more user friendly”

BIG who where assisted by Roy Shelton of Dropjaw Ventures, in securing the initial funding, will be looking to appoint an experienced administrator in 2019 and will likely look to further funding rounds in the next 12 months to drive business revenue forward.

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Don’t be a mug!  Branded Drinkware really works.

Don’t be a mug! Branded Drinkware really works.

With their longevity and everyday usage, branded promotional mugs and drinkware are an ideal promotional item. Branded Mugs are in the top 3 most popular promotional items, and it’s not hard to see why. 

Mugs have a higher perceived value than other give-away items such as pens and are frequently used on a daily basis. The fact they often reside on a recipients desk, whether they are being used or not, means they act like a static advert for your company sometimes 10 hours a day.

Mugs also have a good size print area, meaning your message and brand can clearly be conveyed, embedding your brand in the recipient's long-term memory.

If it’s a return on investment, you are analysing Mugs have far greater longevity that other promotional items, with studies showing products like promotional Mugs, are often kept for years. This increases the brand awareness of not only the person using the mug but also those who are in contact with the recipient using the mug.

Which Mugs though?

Choosing a promotional mug is not always easy, with a huge range available depending on size and shape.  The most popular promotional mug tends to be a Durham or Cambridge Mug, which is the type you see in most kitchens across the UK,  with the marrow promotional mug coming a close second.  For those looking for “Starbucks” type mug, we would recommend the Milan promotional mug.

The latte promotional mug is also a very popular option for customers wanting a change from the standard Durham shape.

Colour and design impacts pricing.

Another consideration with Mugs is the design. Mug pricing is often based on the number of colours required and the complexity of the print required.  So if you have a multi-colour or complex colour design, you may be better off going for a product like the Durham Photo Mug, which allows any design to be translated all the way around the Mug.  If you are on a budget, there are options for just a one or two colour print on one position (one side of the mug) which will lower the cost. In essence, you can have whatever you want, but be aware the price can go up depending on the design and print process required.

Dishwasher or Not?

Branded Mugs come in different coating options. As standard most mugs will have design longevity, although eventually, designs can fade, particularly if the mugs are being used in dishwashers.  If however, you value your brand longevity, we provide Mugs with a coating on called Duraglaze.  This coating prevents your brand or design from fading and is dishwasher proof for up to 2000 washers.

Promotional Mug marketing costs less per impression than other advertising.

Investing in a promotional merchandise campaign can bring a greater return on investment than other types of advertising. In fact, according to research, promotional items reach more people than any other form of advertising. With their longevity and high brand impression, promotional mugs will certainly provide a good ROI on marketing spend, and this is why they remain one of the most popular promotional items in the UK.

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