Laura Flood’s competitive spirit is driving C&A Embroidery and Print into new areas as she looks to clear more fences on the path to success.
Three years after Laura opened up a unit on Aycliffe Business Park, the firm moved into bigger premises on the same site a few months ago and hired two embroidery operators.
Specialising in supplying embroidered and printed clothing across a wide range of sectors. From engineering and manufacturing to sportswear and schoolwear, C&A is going from strength to strength.
The latest increase in sales has stemmed from showcasing the company’s services at the Engineering and Manufacturing Exhibition (EMCON), held on Aycliffe Business Park in September.
Laura said: “We have had our busiest year yet. This time last year I had one part-time employee who now has a full-time job with us plus an additional part time member.
“Moving into our bigger unit in August has also meant we have more room for equipment and the extra staff allows us to take on more orders.”
Laura lives in Darlington where she went to Queen Elizabeth College. She was raised in Bishop Middleham, County Durham, by her parents Chris and Andrea.
It was Chris and Andrea who first set up C&A as an equine laundry, where they washed and repaired horse rugs. That developed into offering embroidery on certain items and Laura took things on from there.
Laura, who graduated with a first class degree in Leadership and Business Management from Teesside University, said: “We started the embroidery side of the business mainly embroidering saddle cloths and rugs for horses, which led onto embroidering lots of different items.
“When my mum and dad closed the laundry down, I was running the embroidery side of the business from home and decided to open our first unit at Aycliffe Business Park in 2018. We moved to the bigger unit earlier this year.
“It’s been brilliant how it has developed. We recently exhibited at EMCON and we are now working with more businesses on the park, including a few new clients from the exhibition.
“When we moved to Aycliffe in 2018 we didn’t deal with many larger companies, but through getting our name out there we are now providing many companies with the workwear and equipment they need.
“We provide an in-house embroidery and printing service. We supply clothing such as workwear, corporate and hospitality and sports and leisurewear and we supply printed PPE now too.
“We started off with the smaller personalised items, but our main focus is now commercial such as engineering, manufacturing and construction businesses.
“We are happy to deal with one-off orders, but we much prefer to work with larger companies where we can provide all of their requirements.”
C&A boast clients such as Finley Structures, Collins Seafoods, Beaumont Landscapes, Cobots Online, ROF 59, Ion Precision and LED Supply & Fit.
The expansion of the business has been impressive, just like Laura’s eventing background which led to its creation and evolution from her parents’ laundry company in the first place.
Laura, her twin sister Jessica and younger sister Philippa, who works for C&A one day a week, used to compete nationally for the North of England Under-18s eventing team.
“There are definitely parallels with sport and business,” said Laura.
“I would say I am even more competitive now too, trying to win quotes/orders from clients. If you win or lose, you move on to the next one.”
Laura added: “I always say we offer a personalised service from start to finish because we are a smaller company.
“I enjoy working with local companies on the business park. Everyone always seems to help each other and the community spirit is strong.
“I just want to continue to build relationships and make sure the C&A name grows.”