Case Studies

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 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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Derbyshire Vintage Crockery Hire

Derbyshire Vintage Crockery Hire was established in August 2018 and operates throughout the East Midlands hiring out beautiful vintage afternoon/high tea party crockery and accessories. The crockery can be hired for many different occasions including weddings, birthdays, hen parties, baby showers and more.

Due to the significant changes that affected the hospitality and events sector during the Covid pandemic , the business needed to take some time to review their ‘offering’ – looking for other opportunities to continue to trade within the rules and therefore contacted the D2N2 Growth Hub for support. The D2N2 marketing and advertising online webinars provided the perfect vehicle to ‘sit back and reflect’ on what might be possible given the constraints and to gain very useful tips for positioning and promoting the business differently and using different channels e.g LinkedIn and Instagram. As an outcome the business has created packages and marketing materials to cater for the more ‘intimate’ occasions which were still allowed to take place during the Pandemic. In addition, Derbyshire Vintage Crockery Hire are now able to be more flexible in their offering and price to enable each event’s needs to be fully met by amending the ratios of items offered.

Due to the pandemic it has been a very challenging period for the events and hospitality sector and to be given the opportunity to continue to network and receive advice online through the various D2N2 webinars has been invaluable. This support has provided a range of benefits - a ‘pick me up’ when things looked bleak, the ‘push’/motivation to continue, an opportunity to network with others in both similar and different sectors and, importantly, a number of concrete and practical actions which will benefit my business into the future.

Helen Bishop, Derbyshire Vintage Crockery Hire

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RB5 Personal Training

RB5 is a personal training business that creates individualized training programs for each one of its members. RB5 provides people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to take control of their own health and fitness by integrating training into their lifestyle. The business prides itself in offering a personalized approach that many corporate high street gyms cannot.

Due to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, RB5 have had to make several adaptions to their business model in order to remain accessible to members during Covid-19 lockdowns. This has included the creation of an online training platform allowing members access simultaneously from multiple locations and devices, which was implemented in just 2 days. Throughout the implementation of this new technology the D2N2 Growth Hub was able to offer the support of an expert business adviser to help guide the RB5 team in decision making and the strategic direction of the business. The Growth Hub has also been able to support the business in upskilling the team through the comprehensive webinar programme. Several webinars were attended covering digital marketing, business planning and strategy.

The support we have received from the Growth Hub has helped us upskill our trainers quickly. It has given us the confidence to take advantage of the opportunity to pause and reflect on the current situation and adapt our plans for the future. It has been a great experience to be able to connect with other business leaders and discuss common problems and issues within vastly differing industries and come out with common solutions which can help us all.

Ricky Berry, RB5 Owner

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Nottingham Writers’ Studio

Established in 2007, Nottingham Writers’ Studio is a home for writers and creatives based in Hockley, Nottingham. They offer workshops, courses, discounted coworking, and networking opportunities, and also encourage members to become tutors themselves, getting paid to lead sessions in their area of expertise.

Over the past two years while the business worked towards a new business model and rebranding, the Growth Hub has provided Nottingham Writers’ Studio with a wealth of valuable resources. The first by encouraging the business to diversify and think of themselves as a business as well as a community interest company. The Growth Hub supported Nottingham Writers’ Studio in learning about funding resources to enable growth. The business was also introduced to fellow creative organisations that shared an equal passion for community work, helping them to network with talented individuals that signpost to new opportunities and developments for both the business and its members.

The Growth Hub has helped us to move to a position where we are able to grow. Our attendance at the various marketing webinars and support through a mentoring programme, has given us focus and guidance to develop our business plan and put it into practice. We have also benefited from the support received due to the lockdown and the much-welcomed Covid grants that we were signposted to.

Thom, Nottingham Writer's’ Studio

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Viridis Building Services - D2N2 UpScaler

Viridis Building Services is a design and engineering consultancy which specialises in ensuring that buildings and their mechanical and electrical systems are net zero and as environmentally friendly as possible.

Lee Marshall, Viridis’ managing director, engaged with UpScaler because he was struggling to recruit engineers with the right levels of skills and expertise to help take the business forward. He wanted to ensure that the business was doing everything it could to attract, retain and develop the right people and invest in its team to help it achieve its growth objectives. UpScaler and Nottingham Trent University funded a business diagnostic and several hours of one-to-one coaching for Lee, who also attended several workshops on subjects including HR, culture and marketing. Following the workshops and mentoring support, the business has invested in a rebrand and a new website, to better showcase its services, brand and values to potential clients.

The support we’ve received from UpScaler has allowed us to focus on some key areas to help take the business forward, including giving our marketing a complete overhaul and implementing a holiday policy designed to boost staff morale and help our people feel happier at work.

Lee Marshall, Viridis Building Services

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Upperton Pharma Solutions - D2N2 UpScaler

Upperton Pharma Solutions is a contract development and manufacturing organisation with more than twenty years’ experience in the development of dosage forms to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

While the Upperton team possess a huge amount of scientific knowledge and technical skill, it needed support to help it get the right business and management structures in place to continue its growth trajectory and exploit new markets and opportunities. Dr Laura Mason, Upperton’s director of business operations, attended several UpScaler workshops, including performance management, HR, and finance, to expand her knowledge of these key areas. The workshops have enabled Dr Mason and her team to implement a number of changes within the business, including putting in place a structure for staff performance reviews, and other team-building initiatives. 

The UpScaler events were great. As a business, we have a lot of scientific and technical knowledge, which was fine when we were a small team, but as we grew, we needed to improve on the business management and operations side of things. They were ideal for a small business like ours which was growing but needed a better understanding of how to manage that growth in the right way.

Dr Laura Mason, Upperton Pharma Solutions

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TTK Confectionery - D2N2 UpScaler

TTK Confectionery is a family business, based in Nottingham, which specialises in new product development and the design of packaging, confectionery and gifts for high street retailers.

The business had experienced rapid growth since it was founded in March 2017. Its turnover was £2.5m in 2019/20, and at three years old, the company was growing so fast that it needed help to manage that growth sustainably. TTK’s three directors attended peer forums and workshops organised by UpScaler, which covered subjects including structured growth, strategic leadership, marketing, planning and performance management. Katie Gilbert, Head of Product Development, benefitted from being signposted to the Women in Leadership programme at the Nottingham Business School. The business also received a graduate talent grant which enabled them to recruit for a product development role. 

I was always made to feel welcome, confident and comfortable whenever I dealt with UpScaler. Mixing and networking are encouraged, but it’s not a stuffy networking group, it’s definitely more for free-flowing ideas and sharing suggestions. It’s very much run for the benefit of the participants, not to big up the organisation

Jess Barnett, TTK Confectionery

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