Posted on Monday 16 January 2017 by ub digital

Shirtmaker pockets funding and creates four jobs

Pictured are Jenna Mairs, Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners and Richard Gibson, Managing Director of Smyth & Gibson Shirtmakers.

A north west shirt maker is creating four new jobs after bagging half a million pounds worth of funding.

Smyth & Gibson Shirtmakers secured the funding from the Growth Loan Fund - backed by Invest NI and a private investor – and will use it to expand its sales overseas.

Richard Gibson, Managing Director of Smyth & Gibson Shirtmakers, said it will look both east and west.

“This investment, combined with the continuing support from Invest NI and our equity partners, will allow us to implement our future growth strategy,” he said. “This strategy will be concentrated on further developing our existing export markets of Canada and Germany, as well as supporting growth in our direct retail channels.”

Smyth & Gibson Shirtmakers is one of the last remaining traditional handmade shirtmakers across the UK and Ireland, employing 54 people at its Londonderry factory.

It supplies high street brands such as Selfridges and House of Fraser and has so far exported to Canada, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Mr Gibson said partnership with some of its retail customers is helping secure future growth.

“The recent development of a web concession with House of Fraser, is an example of the growth plan that will help deliver improved margins and more direct contact with the end consumer.”

Whiterock Capital Partners are managing the £50m Growth Loan Fund and Investment Manager Jenna Mairs said the company has thrived in recent years.

“Export sales are a major contributor to the Northern Ireland Economy and Smyth & Gibson Shirtmakers has demonstrated potential for further growth. We have made an investment that will help support the future growth of the business worldwide and create jobs in the local area.”

Smyth & Gibson were advised on the deal by Deloitte’s Corporate Finance department.

Companies seeking funding from the Growth Loan Fund must be based in Northern Ireland, demonstrating growth and generally be in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors.  Loans will be typically unsecured and personal guarantees will not be sought.

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