Secrets to my success: Crystal Knitwear

What is your start-up story?

From a background in knitting machinery sales and service, the company was set up in 1990 as the family saw an opportunity to produce high quality british knitwear.

What products or services to you provide? What problem does your company solve? What is your USP?

We manufacture bespoke knitwear for the country, cricket and school sectors. Our USP is our British manufactured knitwear made to a very high quality standard.

What are your sales and marketing strategies? What do you think about using newer platforms such as social media etc to reach customers?

We regularly use twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook depending on who we want to engage with. Social media is an excellent way to not only attract new customers but to also develop new business relationships.

What is your attitude towards your competitors?

Competition is inevitable, but we use it positively to seek out ways to enhance and streamline our products and services.

Do you have any other thoughts about your market and how you operate in it?

A lot of interest has been generated by our ‘Made in Britain’ tag, and we have seen an increase in customer enquiries. One of our aims is to encourage this interest in young people to ensure we have a continued workforce.

How important to success are repeatable business processes? What about flexibility and product/service innovation? How do you make sure this is happening?

We offer a fully bespoke service so flexibility is key to our business and we work hard to accommodate customers requirements.

What have you done to make sure you get the right people with the right skills in place?

In this industry the workforce have aged and we are keen to invest time in young people to develop required skills through schemes such as Apprenticeships.

Do you have any tips for managing suppliers, customers and other business relationships effectively?

Quality and reliability should always be a priority over cost.

What about tips on the legal side of running a company?

Keep up to date with HR regulations and HSE requirements. Utilise free services such as ACAS and Business Link.

And finance and cash-flow tips?

Keep credit limits tight and work closely with customers to ensure a regular cash flow into the business.

Any thoughts on the future of your company?

We see UK manufactured merchandise becoming more and more popular and predict an expansion level of 15-20% over the next 24 months of trading.

What are the most important things to remember when starting and running a company?

A good understanding of finance plus strong financial stability is essential on start-up. Also compare banks – business charges vary from one to another.

What new Government policies would help you run a business?

We’ve recently benefitted from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund which has enabled us to invest in newer technology. More funds like this would help manufacturers like us access new markets in specialist areas.