North East based JMF Group is set to increase its workforce by almost a third this year to support its growth plans.
Now in its 30th year, the full-service agency based in Swalwell delivers in-house solutions including design, print, digital and signage services to some of the biggest names on the high street.
The company’s turnover was up 24% in 2017/18 and is forecasted to rise to 68% this financial year due to the increase in its signage division.
This week, the company welcomed its 29th and 30th employees and is set to increase this figure to 45 by the end of the year, with roles specifically earmarked in sales, digital and signage.
The business has experienced significant growth since it was founded in 1989 by its now Chairman, Michael Foggin. Michael, 56, worked out of his garage in Chapel House where he would go out and sell 9am-5pm and then work nightshift 6pm-2am to print those jobs.
After a few years, he moved into his first 600sq ft factory on Swalwell Bank printing stationery such as leaflets, posters, flyers and business cards. He bought a single-colour press which was his first step into the world of colour printing. His first large client was NCJ Media where he printed single-colour format A2 posters, bulletins and the Jobs supplement for the Chronicle, Journal and Sunday Sun.
Today, the company operates across four factories on the Sands Industrial Estate in Swalwell and although Michael is still involved in the business, he has taken more of a back seat after handing the reigns over to his son, Jack and director of sales, Anthony Cole.
For a number of years, the business operated using one, two and full-colour Heidelberg presses serving more than 700 clients nationwide but it was a strategic decision they made in 2010 which catapulted the business.
Michael said: “In the early days, we operated using litho printing processing but we could see new technology coming to market that provided better processing in terms of quality, speed and cost. It was at this point, we made a strategic decision to re-align our business.
“We decided to purchase state-of-the-art high tech digital presses. We started offering clients a full-service with in-house manufacturing and launched new services such as design, animation and signage.”
Last year, the business invested a further £1m in new technology and equipment and staff training. Its signage division has seen rapid expansion, now working with clients who have in excess of £450m turnover.
The company’s client book includes high street names such as Pound Stretcher, Poundland and Admiral and they also won a competitive pitch to rebrand Kenny Atkinson’s House of Tides on the Quayside, which is still the only One Star Michelin and Four AA Rosette awarded restaurant in Tyneside.
Managing director, Jack Foggin, 29, commented: “This is a landmark year for JMF Group We’ve got a great team in place who have the strategic vision to drive the business forward and these are really exciting times.
“We always want to be one step ahead and we know we are competitive because of our ability and flexibility to manufacture in-house, it’s what sets us apart from our competitors. We now operate right across the UK including Ireland and this is one of the reasons why some of the big national retailers, with many of their head offices based in London, want to work with us.
“It’s fitting we have just appointed our 30th employee in our 30th year and we’re looking forward to bringing in a further fifteen staff this year to support our plans.
“Who knows what the next 30 years has in store – maybe international expansion. We’ve been invited to pitch and price up jobs for companies in France, Dubai and Las Vegas so you never know.”