Award-winning company The Signature Works has stitched itself to investment in their expanding embroidery and clothes branding business, as well as helping schools raise much needed funds.

Expansion from their North Down base to a new Belfast office The Signature Works has seen staff numbers grow to 50 (with over 70 throughout the summer), alongside several investments of up to £250,000.

The total over the last 10 years now exceeds £1,000,000. In addition the company returns 10% of schools’ purchase, and in the past 12 months this has seen £30,000 raised for schools across the country.

Joint Managing Director, Peter McConvey believes their success is based upon key values.

“It’s down to our company values,” he said. “We have ethically sourced products and high customer service levels.

“All orders are produced in house, and we make sure we have continual investment in staff, IT and Machinery. We always aim to provide the best possible customer experience, providing the best value without compromise on quality.”

John Gray, Principal Castle Gardens Primary School in Bangor said: “To celebrate our 150th Anniversary we held a competition for pupils to design a new school crest and the Governors selected the new logo which was designed by one of our Primary Four pupils.

Signature Schools Shop Front

“Signature Schools provided sample garments and examples of the new logo embroidered which we were very pleased to approve.

“The level of service provided by the team has been excellent. Parents will be able to purchase the new uniform online and in store from Signature Schools who will in turn give back 10% to our school to reinvest in our pupils.”

With almost four decades of experience and a host of top-brand clients Signature Works and Signature Schools, that was established formally earlier this year.

Fellow joint MD, Malcolm Ditty explained that their aim has always been to stay ahead of the competition, without compromising on their values.

“There are a lot of smaller businesses offering the same services as The Signature Works, but as a Company we have always strived to be market leaders in terms of quality, technology and efficiency,” he said. “We offer a one-stop shop for Garments, printing, embroidery, transfers and other services.

“If you want your logo on any garment or product, we can look after it! No order is too small, but we also have the capacity to handle production of over 100,000 garments per week.”

Mr Ditty explained their decision to support schools through re-investment.

“Schools need more funding,” he said. “School uniforms is a lucrative business and has in some cases been bolted onto an existing clothing retail business.

“In some areas the competitive nature has meant prices have been driven down to meet with consumer/competitor’s practices.

“The result being short cuts in purchasing practices. In a world where we continually look to ensure that best practices are upheld, unfortunately in clothing this is not always the case.”

With £30,000 already raised they have achieved plaudits from principals and parent teacher groups for this effort.

Patricia Murtagh, Principal, Hazelwood Integrated Primary School & Nursery in Newtownabbey said: “Having done some research when our old supplier retired I was most impressed with the efficiency and competence of Signature works. Their clear and simple ordering systems work well for our parents and the financial gain to our school will be reinvested into resources for our children. Their commitment to ethically sourcing materials is commendable. We look forward to a positive partnership in the future.”

Company work wear, sports wear and promotional items has been part the core business for The Signature Works since its inception in 1971.

The Company now includes Ulster Rugby, Linfield FC, TBUC (Together Building a Better Community), and Queens University amongst their notable clients, as well as the growing number of schools.

The Signature Works have been recipients of the Business Eye Manufacturing Business of the Year award as well as the Business Development Award in the North Down Business Awards, amongst other accolades.

However, they are not resting on their laurels.

“We are committed to sustainable growth within all sectors but especially targeting partnerships with local schools in Belfast and Bangor,” explained Mr McConvey. “We want to make sure that we continue to be not only the best in the field but also the best partner for our clients.”

It is an ethos backed by his fellow MD.

Principal of Cregagh Primary David Hegarty with The Signature Works Staff Peter Convey, Jayne Frazer and Roisin McCann and pupils from the school.

“We’re a one-stop shop in terms of products and services, but this extends further to the whole customer experience,” said Mr Ditty. “From the moment you contact The Signature Works, you’re walked through the process from concept to the delivery of your completed order.

“Our showroom looks out over the production floor, so customers instantly feel connected to the fact that we stock and produce everything ourselves.

“We have a clear order process, but most importantly we aim to meet our customers’ expectations, in terms of quality, delivery and the whole customer experience.

“We’re a group of people who really take pride in our work. We’ve been learning our trade and developing our skills for over 40 years and we’re meticulous about getting it right.”

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