Hertfordshire glassblowing business creates fresh opportunities after new branding sparks their online sales | Manufacturing Growth Programme

Incorporated in 2013, Rothschild and Bickers Ltd have a workshop/glassblowing factory and studio in Hertford, and a showroom in Islington. They produce luxury handblown glass products and light-fittings which are sold around the world.

The difficulties brought on by Covid-19 meant that when they were forced to close their showroom, they were not fully ready to offer their products online. The business needed to ensure that when their products were placed online for sale, their website and branding reflected the products’ luxury, bespoke, and handcrafted nature.

To help with this challenge, Managing Director Vicki Rothschild accessed free support and grant funding through the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP). Their local Manufacturing Growth Manager, Amanda Freeland, has helped many SME Manufacturers within the Hertfordshire region to grow their businesses by overcoming their challenges to growth.

Amanda provided the business with a free business diagnostic tool called GROWTHmapper®. This helped to identify that the business required improvements with its marketing; specifically, in its branding. From this, Amanda helped Vicki to devise an action plan which centred around developing the business’ branding to portray a high-end, luxury look and feel throughout their website, packaging, and marketing materials. She also helped Vicki to select an expert to perform the brand redesign and gain grant funding towards developing their online platform.

Amanda Freeland commented on this exciting glassblowing business, “Working with Rothschild and Bickers was really interesting; the quality of the product is so high, it’s hand-made, and its craft traditions are so historic. Yet the products are perfect for a modern setting. The company has made a great job of working with the branding agency, so the brand now embodies all these values, tradition and luxury.”

Vicki also commented, “Our sales this year are matching 2019-20 figures, which is very encouraging during the pandemic. We have just started some test-run online sales for our website, and these have been a success (creating almost a month’s worth of sales in just three days). People are more willing to shop online currently and this has incentivised us to expand our e-commerce abilities.

“We will be creating two new positions this year, the first is an office admin position (looking after online sales) and one for a new glassblowing assistant.

“Our key objective in the next 5 years is to increase our web presence, and increase sales both in the UK market and also exporting internationally. This goes hand in hand with increasing production and training in our workshops, structuring the business to handle that increase, and succession planning. We have just been selected by Walpole, the official sector body for UK luxury, for its Brands of Tomorrow programme which focusses on the luxury sector. This is the market we aspire to be part of, now and into the future.”

Vicki was asked to provide advice to any other SME Manufacturer thinking of accessing support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme; Vicki answered, “It is an amazing scheme if you are ready to invest and have a specific project in mind. The most impressive aspects of MGP are the speed and efficiency at which funds are allocated, and the amazing advice that is available on hand with all aspects of your application.”

More details on Rothschild and Bickers Ltd will be available at www.rothschildbickers.com