Leeds family printing firm taps on election to boost sales

Leeds envelope printing specialists, Carousel Print, is on track to boost turnover by 40 per cent, after investing in new equipment that will help meet election postal vote demand.

Husband and wife team Carol and Russell Morley set-up Carousel Print four years ago. At that time, Russell had 29 years of experience in the printing industry and, spotting an opportunity to buy his own printing press, he branched out on his own. His team has now expanded to seven people, including his brother and stepson.

Carousel is a specialist envelope over printers, which creates branded envelopes for more than 80 customers across the UK, including high street banks, councils and mailing houses.

With the election looming, they have landed contracts to print postal voting envelopes for local councils, which has increased workload by an extra 10 per cent this March and April.

Based in Wortley, the business currently prints around 300,000 envelopes a day, or 75 million a year. Thanks to a £300,000 funding line from Bibby Financial Services, they have been able to manage their cashflow and grow their business to a turnover of £1.1 million.

Their Bibby Financial Services relationship manager has also helped them to source funding for a new £30,000 printing press, which has helped them to meet their pre-election printing demand.

Company director Russell Morley opted for invoice finance, as opposed to traditional bank funding after being refused a business overdraft two years ago. The company was also placed into a tricky financial position last year when a company buy-out fell through.

Russell said: “From my experience, banks have been very negative towards lending to small businesses. Many years ago, the banks were thriving and people could easily get loans and finance.

“Now they’re reluctant and will only look at your company’s past, instead of its potential. Bibby Financial Services has been instrumental in keeping my family and loyal employees in work.

“The manufacturing and printing industry is notorious for having slow payers. I often have to wait 30 or 60 days to be paid by my customers, but in the meantime, I need to pay my wages, bills and suppliers.

“I wouldn’t be able to plug that gap on my own and that is where Bibby has really helped my business to grow. We pride ourselves on quality and service and if we promise a client that we’ll deliver, we always do.”

Looking ahead, Russell plans to invest in a seventh printing press, which would increase his company’s output to around 90 million printed envelopes annually. He plans to hire two extra staff later this year and is targeting an increased turnover of £1.5million by the end of 2016.

He added: “As a country, we don’t manufacture anymore. Coal, steel and textiles have fallen away as viable industries, but with the right help and funding through government backing or invoice financing, we could really help the economy to grow further.”

Mark Storey, MD for Bibby Financial Services Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “With the election looming, Russell and his team have been able to capitalise on an opportunity to provide for an important postal vote service.

“Investing in new equipment has helped the business to meet this demand and enabled it to flourish as a result.”

He added: “The way that Carousel Printing uses its funding illustrates exactly why invoice finance is ideal for businesses that experience peaks and troughs in cashflow throughout the year.

“A flexible arrangement enables businesses to cope with spikes in demand, allowing them to continue to service their customers efficiently.”

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