Cheltenham-based luxury bespoke gifts business, Farrar & Tanner, is on track to reach a £10 million turnover by 2024, after a rush to online shopping saw its sales increase 190 per cent in a year.
And as we head into the traditionally busy Christmas period, the company is looking to take on new staff to cope with festive demand.
‘Last year we were thinking we would reach a £10 million turnover within five years. Now we think that 2024 is possible, maybe even 2023,’ said Matt Farrar, who co-founded the firm with business partner Richard Tanner.
‘This has pushed us forward a few years in terms of growth.’
After moving into a 6,000 square foot warehouse and office space three years ago and adding an additional 2,000 square feet to cope with demand at the height of the pandemic, it has now taken on even more space.
Pre-Christmas in 2020, the firm had just 23 staff, with up to 40 more staff members now being sought.
‘We have probably created 15 new full-time jobs since the start of Covid. And as we run up to Christmas we are looking for another 40 staff,’ said Farrar.
‘The problem is the labour market is very difficult this year and we have to be creative about that – like flyer drops across Cheltenham and advertising with University of Gloucestershire,’ he said.
Farrar & Tanner’s gift list is aimed at affluent, ‘difficult to shop for’ 40-plus males – with gifts ranging from handcrafted leather Brooks bicycle saddles and pannier bags; kitchen knife sets made by Cotswold-based Robert Welch; classic board games like chess and backgammon; gift-boxed wines; cufflinks; pocket watches; hip flasks; and vintage leather football and rugby balls – which can all be personalised, engraved or embossed.
But staffing isn’t the only challenge facing the firm.
‘There are still supply chain issues, particularly in Europe. We try to source our products from Europe, rather than the Far East and China.
‘My advice to anyone this year would be to shop early,’ said Farrar.
By Andrew Merrell