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26 January 2012

Nick Munro...designs on expansion

British designer targets US market in a bid for global expansion

 Nick _Munro best

Award-winning British designer Nick Munro secured £75,000 funding from The North West Fund for Business Loans, managed by FW Capital, in May 2011. The Cheshire-based company received funding to expand the wholesale arm of its design business, NSM Trading. Nick Munro is now targeting international markets.

What business are you in and how did it develop?

I started out as a designer during college by making really simple products like turning bedsprings into eggcups. Gradually it has developed into quite a diverse portfolio, ranging from table-top items through to furniture and fashion accessories.

In recent years we have teamed up with prestigious international companies that have commissioned us to contribute to their design programmes. In 2008, we created specially-commissioned designs for P&O Cruises as it launched its superliner Ventura. In 2009, some of our designs were launched in John Lewis stores across the UK.

What would you be doing if you weren't a designer?

I have been designing ever since college so that career path was definitely my calling. If that did fail then I think I would be doing something physical, so perhaps architecture. I like to do stuff that's real, stuff that you can pick up, look at, walk through, sit on and stand back and appreciate.

What are your plans for 2012?

At the end of March we are aiming to introduce a range of products into the US market in Bloomingdales department stores. FW Capital and The North West Fund for Business Loans played a significant part in terms of our global expansion because their involvement provided us with the funds to open up new opportunities.

This year, we are also working on an official limited-edition range of 2012 Olympic products in partnership with John Lewis and we have been commissioned by the RNLI to create a range of designs to raise funds for Lifeboats.

How did you hear about The North West Fund?

I have received help from a regional funder in the past, so I was familiar with the type of funding available to businesses. This time the level of investment required was more than they could offer so they signposted us to FW Capital.

What has it been like working with The North West Fund?

The North West Fund for Business Loans has been exceptional. FW Capital, share my belief in our business plan and the funding has enabled us to develop our product range and expand into new markets, while retaining a focus on quality and craftsmanship. The North West Fund has provided us with an essential injection of working capital to expand our supply chain and essentially increase sales.

Can you describe the process that you went through from application to funding?

We worked closely with Carol Bolland, investment executive at FW Capital, and our advisers to ensure that we gathered all the information required. We then put forward a proposition that was commercially robust. Not only did The Fund offer financial support but it was extremely helpful in raising issues that are often overlooked in business development plans, such as equality of employment and environmental issues.

The team at The North West Fund are approachable, understanding and they 'get it'. They recognise your requirements very quickly, from your first discussion with them. I find it easy to recommend them to other entrepreneurs.

If you are an entrepreneur or a business owner looking for growth funds please visit http://www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk/funds for more information.

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