Case Studies from 2021

Knot Always Monday

Knot Always Monday is a creative business selling a wide range of knitted items including clothes, blankets, toys and also a selection of handmade kitchen utensils. The business was founded by Maria Newington, who having spent over 30 years working in an office job feeling unfulfilled and dreading Mondays, decided to start the business to pursue her creative passions. 

The D2N2 Growth Hub supported Maria by helping her to upskill in order to have the skills and confidence to launch an e-commerce platform. This was achieved by attending a variety of workshops and webinars which covered the following topics: social media marketing, personal development and websites/e-commerce. Through Growth Hub signposting Maria was also able to attend a two day course on ‘Being your own boss’, this covered business fundamentals such as creating the business plan, taxation and company registration.

The Growth Hub has been a valuable source of information which has helped and inspired me to take the plunge and set up my own company selling products which I have created with care and love. Without their encouragement and Webinars, I doubt I would have plucked up the courage to create my own online shop.

Maria Newington, Founder of Knot Always Monday

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Positive ID Labels

Positive ID Labels is a label printing company based in Melbourne, South Derbyshire. Employing 26 staff, the company has grown to a £2.2m turnover since starting label production 16 years ago. 

Having invested £235k buying a Xeikon 3030 digital print engine and finishing unit in 2019, the company approached the Growth Hub to help finance an upgrade to the machine by decoupling the print engine from the finishing unit. This decoupling meant that overall operational efficiency could be improved dramatically. The cost of the works was just under £25,000 of which D2N2 contributed 30%. As a result of the decoupling, print jobs could be queued and printed back-to-back to optimise machine time and material use. Whereas before, material was wasted between jobs, the machine could now print without stopping. This in turn meant that rather than having to have both machines set up perfectly for the duration of the runs, they could be operated independently.

Working with the D2N2 team was made easy by regular and effective communication and ownership by the facilitating staff at D2N2. This in turn has encouraged the company to work closely with D2N2 on other projects to help support the business and in turn create jobs in the local area

Pete Howells, Technical Director

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YADA Collective

YADA Collective CIC is a newly formed social-enterprise who have a vision to re-imagine and re-present the night-time economy. Their first alcohol-free bar opened in June 2021 creating an alternative and welcoming space in the city of Derby. The collective hopes to provide a unique environment for local charities to reach out to members of the community, with a particular focus on those working with marginalised groups. 

YADA Collective’s directors are an enthusiastic group in their mid-20s that are keen to learn and develop as their business grows. As a start-up social enterprise, they were on the lookout for funding opportunities but needed to have a clearer and more robust business plan. With the support of a D2N2 Growth Hub business adviser the business underwent the information, diagnostic and brokerage service. This enabled them to them create a robust business plan that would aid their success at funding bids. The business also attended a number of Growth Hub webinars and Action Planning Workshops on the topics of marketing, business planning and wellbeing.

Having the support of D2N2 has been a game changer for us. As a team of young co-founders it was great to get some experienced advice from Sonny. With their support we were able to create a business plan, identify and win some funding bids, receive some essential training for our new staff and develop crucial connections within the city.

Rhondell Stabana, Director and co-founder

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Rachel Carter Sculpture

Sculptor Rachel Carter works from The Garden Studio on the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire border, creating large scale sculpture for the garden and smaller intimate sculptures for the home using the lost wax technique to create bronze works. 

Rachel is a strong believer that learning and growth, both personal and in business, shouldn’t end and that’s why she tries to keep her skills up to date and learn new applications that could benefit her business by attending the webinars and workshops available through the D2N2 Growth Hub. Recently Rachel attended the ‘Making Twitter work effectively for your business’ action planning workshop , and although she’d been using twitter for some years now, the workshop gave her some new things to try, shared new developments in the app and much more. Since applying these to her business, Rachel has already grown her network and started new conversations with other businesses and customers. Rachel has also benefited from adviser support to help provide guidance on how to continue trading through the Coronavirus pandemic.

I really enjoy accessing the D2N2 webinar programme, being able to dip in and out of workshops as I need them is so valuable as a small business owner. There are so many to pick from on a wide range of topics, they really do help

Rachel Carter, Rachel Carter Sculpture

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The Three Bears Cookery Club

The Three Bears Cookery Club offers fun cookery sessions for children ages 2-13. Currently based in Derbyshire, Three Bears Cookery Club runs After School Clubs in local Primary Schools, Holiday Workshops, Online Classes, Baking Parties and a monthly Baking Subscription Box. The aim of the business is to teach children how to cook, explore tastes & textures and develop lifelong independence in the kitchen. 

Ruth has been on a number of D2N2 Growth Hub online workshops which have been extremely useful in learning new skills to move her business forward. Workshops attended include ‘Marketing strategy in practice’, ‘Creating an email marketing strategy’, ‘Getting started with pricing’ and more. Since Ruth started Three Bears Cookery Club in 2016, the business has won a number of Awards for their Cookery Classes and due to the success of the business. Ruth has now franchised the business and looking for Franchisees across the UK. Ruth would encourage everyone to follow their business dreams and to remember that it’s never too late, nor is it impossible if you have a family – in Ruth’s case her family have been her inspiration.

Having access to D2N2’s workshops has been amazing, the workshops are well organised and the trainers are extremely helpful and supportive in tailoring it to your business and answering questions. I would recommend D2N2 to everyone, as it has been fantastic to be able to have access to their workshops and services

Ruth Chubb, The Three Bears Founder

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Hub Auto ID Ltd

Hub Auto ID offer the following products and services: Inventory & Asset Management Solutions, Label Print Systems, Labels, Tags & Thermal Transfer Ink Ribbons, Hand Held & Unattended Barcode Scanners, Mobile Computers & Data Capture Software, RFID Readers & Software Solutions, RFID Tags & Cards and Label Printer & Mobile Computer Repair Services.

The business was supported by the Growth Hub through attendance at several webinars and Action Planning workshops. Sessions included ‘Optimising LinkedIn for your business’ and ‘Making Twitter work effectively for your business’. Attendance on these sessions has made a big difference in how Hub Auto ID promotes itself via social media, particularly in regards to content and scheduling. The interactive nature of the workshops has been beneficial in aiding understanding and has helped build a community of support. This has enabled the business to grow its following across these platforms.

I would strongly advise any company out there to take advantage of the Growth Hub. The courses are very enjoyable, educational, and free ! If you want free help to master many of the areas they cover, get on board and join up.

Paul Johnston, Business Development Manager

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STENCIL Creative

STENCIL is a multi-discipline creative agency based in Nottingham helping businesses grow through design. They work in multiple sectors, across varying jobs and with clients that are both local and international. 

The Growth Hub webinars and access to the Growth Hub Peer Networks Programme has proven to be one of the biggest positives to eventuate from the last 18 months. The sessions offered some formal business instruction to support the experience accrued by the business owners over many years. The Peer Networks meetings provided a safe space for all participants to explore big picture questions around their businesses. And as every business leader appreciates, these broader opportunities for development aren’t ones that necessarily present themselves during the regular working week. In short, lots has been learned at STENCIL, and shared.

We’ve grown as a business by - we believe - doing good work for great clients, all driven by our overarching purpose. Ensuring that staff members develop as all-round team players is part and parcel of that growth. Trust is huge. And to do this successfully, it's also on the senior team to support them in their understanding. STENCIL's Art Director, Vicky Elwick, does a lot of the day-to-day heavy lifting in this regard. Coordinating the work of full-time team members and also with regards young people on placement, primarily students from Confetti. Two of these talented executives have recently ended up staying with us in permanent roles.

Andy Afford, Managing Director 

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Sort Ltd

Sort Ltd consists of brands; SortRefer – an online portal for mortgage intermediaries (brokers), Sort Move – an online portal for Estate Agents and Sort Legal - the Group’s own in-house CLC law firm. SortRefer and Sort Move platforms generate Conveyancing instructions from Mortgage Brokers (SortRefer) and Estate Agents (Sort Move) to Conveyancing Firms. 

The D2N2 Growth Hub was able to support the business by upskilling the marketing team, particularly through the pandemic. This was provided by attendance at our webinar and Action Planning Workshops on the following topics: marketing, PR, HR and creative thinking.

The Growth hub has provided some great, educational webinars and events over the years. At Sort ltd, we have been using the Growth hub for many years and have seen the true value of the variety of opportunities to learn. This has not only helped the Marketing department, but our business on the whole.

Emma Brown, Head of Marketing

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Zaremba Marsden Ltd

Zaremba Marsden Ltd is a serene retreat set in the Derbyshire Dales on the edge of the beautiful Peak District National Park. Business owners Marta and Stuart offer a luxurious bed and breakfast with a nutritious twist set in a peaceful and calm environment where guests can relax away from the fast pace and distractions of everyday life. In addition to this, the duo also offer nutrition and wellbeing packages which cover four main areas: sleep, hydration, nutrition and physical activity. 

The business have been on the full D2N2 support journey as they were initially supported by the D2 Business Starter Programme which served as a springboard for the launch of the business, which took a turn from Programme and Operations Management Consultancy to a more sustainable and pertinent sector of nutrition and wellbeing. As the business developed they were introduced to a D2N2 Growth Hub business adviser who was able to enroll them onto the D2N2 Growth Hub Programme and provide more tailored support recommendations. This included taking advantage of the extensive webinar programme.

We have been blown away by the expertise, the structure and the overall content of the D2N2 offering. It provided us with a solid foundation for establishing and securing a successful and profitable business going forward. It truly feels that D2N2 group are there just for you and want to ensure you succeed in every step along the way. The professionals running the workshops clearly articulate processes from initialising a business idea, writing a business plan to marketing, advertising, recruiting, financing, networking and so much more. Having now been involved with this programme for over three months, we can honestly say that we have found a go-to group. In our opinion, this is the one stop shop that can give you everything and more than you will ever need to start and run a small or medium-sized enterprise.

Marta Zaremba-Marsden, Zaremba Marsden Ltd

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3D Ultimate Medical Aesthetics

3D Ultimate is an Aesthetic clinic based in the Lace Market district of Nottingham. They specialise in providing bespoke treatments for discerning and celebrity clients who value the high standard of service, outstanding results, and individual attention. 3D Ultimate uses the latest medical-grade technology and innovative new services that are not available elsewhere. In addition to this, they only have one client at any one time at the clinic and give them the care, time, and personal attention they deserve.

The support they received from the D2N2 Growth Hub was two-fold, their Growth Hub Adviser was able to support them in upskilling the business in a period of downtime by suggesting the D2N2 Growth hub digital marketing webinars and action planning workshops. 

The Covid-19 Pandemic has given us the time to refocus our brand on delivering a level of individual service not seen anywhere outside London. All our services are bespoke, offer exceptional value and deliver fantastic results. The pandemic has allowed us the time to develop a new and innovative range of services that will continue to strengthen our brand. We have been fortunate to receive digital marketing support from the D2N2 Growth Hub, which is giving us the skills and knowledge to capitalise on this innovative approach and effectively reach our target audience.

Tatiana Hallam – 3D Ultimate – Medical Aesthetics

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HP Health Group

HP Health Group is a health and wellbeing company based in Nottingham and covering the Midlands.The business established during the first Coronavirus lockdown after they experienced the difficulties that friends and family had who were struggling to maintain their health and wellbeing, especially with the many changes that disrupted normal daily routines at that time. They believe that it is of utmost importance that people are healthy at work, both physically and mentally and they want to do this at the client’s convenience. Their services include in-house Physiotherapy clinics, health and wellbeing days including (Physiotherapy, Psychology, Nutrition and Personal Training consultations), in house exercise classes, a wellbeing subscription service and more. 

Due to starting the business in the middle of a pandemic, HP Health found it a challenge to reach out to or meet new clients. Webinars provided by the D2N2 Growth Hub on topics such as marketing, advertising, and using LinkedIn have therefore been particularly valuable. As a result of the guidance and knowledge gained, the business have since begun to formulate their own marketing strategy. In addition, they have been able to continuously update and improve their website, utilising information from webinars on SEO optimisation among others, to ensure that the website is of a high standard and reaching as many new customers as possible online.

The growth hub has assisted not only in developing the business, but also myself as a business owner. As someone who is new to running a business, I could find myself spending hours trying to find information which could all be found in a single webinar provided by the growth hub. I have therefore been able to invest the time I have saved in developing the business further, implementing positive changes from the knowledge I acquired, which have since started to become apparent.

Ben Healey, Co-Founder HP Health Group

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KRYSTAL by Lola

KRYSTAL is a start-up footwear eCommerce platform established in July 2021, operating from the East Midlands with a global presence. Designing trainers, which are art-inspired by the renowned masterpiece artworks of Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt and Kazimir Malevich, which are handcrafted by master Italian artisans.

The growth of the virtual world and digital marketing meant that the business was aware of the importance of amplifying and maintaining its online presence in order to attract customers worldwide. In particular, KRYSTAL wanted to create a strong brand with cruelty free and environmentally friendly values that would resonate with their target market and help influence the purchasing choices of mankind. They attended several D2N2 Growth Hub webinars and action planning workshops on social media marketing, branding, website development and email marketing. These provided the perfect vehicle for the business to become knowledgeable on what might be possible, given the challenges of the Covid pandemic and launching a new business. D2N2 advisers also offered useful tips and know-how for positioning and promoting the business differently Post-Covid, using social media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram.

D2N2 has given KRYSTAL the opportunity to create a personal branding that is powerful and effective; the consultants during the master classes communicated that the right question to ask is "Are you sure that the way you see yourself, is the way others see you?" In other words that the crux is not the Industry sector, but the marketing strategy with which you relate to your customers and empathise with them, sharing their similar values. Due to lockdown, and with businesses yet to return to pre-pandemic work conditions, we were fortunate to receive free advice online through various D2N2 webinars, and the business information on their website is invaluable.

Lola Adefope, KRYSTAL by Lola

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