High fashion glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk appoints Hugh Clark of Clarks shoes family as chairman

High fashion glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk appoints Hugh Clark of Clarks shoes family as chairman

• Significant shareholder in Clarks - one of UK’s biggest private businesses

Brighton-based High fashion eyewear designer and manufacturer Kirk & Kirk has appointed Hugh Clark of the Clarks shoes family as its new chairman.

Hugh Clark is a family shareholder in the renowned C&J Clark Shoes, and acted as a non-executive director of the group for more than a decade. C&J Clark is now one of the UK’s largest private businesses, at number 37*, recording a turnover of more than £1.5bn last year.

Clarks Shoes is most famous for its iconic Desert Boot which it launched in 1950. The brand has also been sported by a number of celebrities including Pharrell Williams and Wu Tang Clan.

Prior to this, Hugh worked at Rohan Designs, including six years as Managing Director. Rohan Designs is a designer, supplier and retailer of outdoor clothing which reported a £30m turnover last year. Most notably, one of their jackets was worn by the first climber to the summit of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Kirk & Kirk produces a distinctive range of luxury glasses and sunglasses. Chief Designer Karen Kirk’s designs have been worn by Elton John, Julia Roberts, U2 and Oasis, amongst others. The glasses worn by Gary Oldman in the Batman films were also designed by her and Prue Leith wore a number of Kirk & Kirk frames on the recent series of The Great British Bake Off.

Hugh Clark will be investing into the business through the private investor network Growthdeck, which recently launched an EIS-qualifying investment opportunity into Kirk & Kirk.

Kirk & Kirk will use Growthdeck’s funding to launch an online-only retail collection, design a new 2020 collection, and update the company’s ecommerce platform.

Growthdeck says that Hugh Clark’s extensive experience with large-scale, high-profile retail businesses will be a hugely valuable addition to Kirk & Kirk’s board as it scales up. Kirk & Kirk has increased sales by 43% over the year to £752,800 (year-end July 31st 2018), from £525,400 in 2016/17. Growthdeck says the company’s turnover is projected to reach £1.3m in 2019/20 and £6.8m by 2022/23.

Hugh is also chairman of the Institute for Family Business, which supports the growth of family-run businesses and lobbies on behalf of them.

Hugh Clark says: “I am very excited to be part of the development of Kirk & Kirk.

“This is an ambitious fast-growing business which has the potential to be a major player in the fashion accessories market, both in the UK and overseas. I’m looking forward to helping the Kirk family and their investors realise that ambition.”

Gary Robins, Head of Business Development at Growthdeck, says: “Bringing the experience and expertise of someone like Hugh Clark to help Kirk & Kirk expand is what sets Growthdeck apart from other investors. We’re thrilled that he has agreed to advise the business as it looks to scale up rapidly.”

*The Sunday Times Top Track 100

About Growthdeck

Growthdeck offers tax-efficient investment opportunities in UK growth businesses to Sophisticated and High Net Worth Investors, with minimum investment of £5,000.

The company offers a comprehensive service to investors, including detailed upfront due diligence on all investee businesses, post-investment monitoring and reporting and a strong focus on achieving an exit for investors. Its focus is on long-term business viability: companies must have strong management, realistic business plans and operate in growth sectors. The majority of its investment opportunities are eligible for tax breaks under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. Your capital is at risk. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Coast to Capital LEP seek new Vice Chair

Coast to Capital LEP seek new Vice Chair

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 29 May. Candidates must live and/or work in the area; or have or have had experience of participating in a business or businesses based in the area. Candidates must also be able to offer the time and commitment necessary to make a success of these roles.

To download an application pack, click here.



Hanningtons Lane has opened to the public and visitors are able to walk down Brighton’s newest Lane for the very first time. Redevco and its main contractor Westridge have been working hard on the creation of the city’s new retail and cultural quarter for two years and retailers are now starting to move in and fit our their stores.

Andrew Foulds, Portfolio Director at Redevco comments, “This has been one of the most challenging but rewarding projects many of the construction team have ever worked on. Years in the making, the people of Brighton and visitors to the city can now see Morgan Carn’s designs brought to life.

“We hope that as retailers open and visitors wander through the new Lane, visit The Flint House roof terrace, see Puget’s Cottage revealed for the first time in 150 years and experience our green wall and exciting new art projects, they will appreciate how much thought and detail has gone into the project. We have sought to create spaces for modern retailers to thrive within an already iconic part of the city, but to respect the heritage and architecture of the area. We invite people to use the extended Easter weekend to come and discover it for themselves!”

The first tenant to open is The Flint House, a glamorous new dining concept from the Gingerman Restaurant Group. Hot on their heels will be independent ice cream maker Brass Monkey in a few weeks time. Watches of Switzerland and Oliver Bonas are also busy fitting out new stores on North Street.

One of the first retailers attracted to the redeveloped Hanningtons Estate was Habitat in November. They joined great existing brands such as White Company, Kurt Geiger, Sandro, Maje, Cath Kidston and Flying Tiger.

The new Hanningtons Lane features a uniquely designed environment taking the best of the Lanes – every shopfront, elevation and colour has been individually designed to provide a really immersive and engaging experience, with retailers sitting alongside new residential apartments and office space.

Andrew Foulds adds, “The Lanes attract shoppers from all over the World and our retailers recognise that this is a fantastic and unique place to spend time and shop. Brands are investing in Brighton and Hanningtons Estate because they have bought into our exciting vision for this area. We are in detailed discussions with a number of retailers - who are visiting site to see the quality of the environment and space available - and expect to announce more new names shortly.”

If you are a compelling brand who could add to a carefully curated retail mix, our leasing team want to hear from you. Please contact simon.morris@gcw.co.uk or dbrady@klmretail.com.



Shoreham Port has been re-certified as an EcoPort this month, six years after its initial Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification was awarded in 2013. Presented by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) the PERS accreditation means that Shoreham Port continues to be a member of the EcoPorts network, the main environmental initiative of the European port sector. Shoreham Port is one of only two PERS accredited ports in the UK, and one of twelve UK ports who hold EcoPort status.

The aim of EcoPorts is to increase awareness about environmental challenges, deliver compliance with legislation and to demonstrate a high standard of environmental management. Members of the EcoPorts network are encouraged to share environmental knowledge and be proactive in their efforts to protect and maintain the environment.

Shoreham Port is committed to preventing negative impacts on the environment while maximising the positive social, environmental and economic opportunities of a thriving Port. It continually assesses its environmental impact to develop strategies that will improve the Port’s carbon footprint, appointing Tony Parker, the first Director of Infrastructure & Climate Change at a UK port in January. The Port’s programme of green initiatives include a new LED lighting programme, increased water quality monitoring, a staff cycle-to-work scheme, and going paperless – including the introduction of a new quarterly digital PORTlife newsletter.

Paul Johnson, Director of Compliance commented “A lot of hard work goes into maintaining and continually improving our environmental credentials year on year. This ensures that we meet the very high standards set by the European Sea Ports Organisation ‘EcoPort’ scheme and can be awarded with the prestigious EcoPort status for a third time.

“Everyone at Shoreham Port has their part to play when it comes to improving the wonderful environment within in which we work. I am immensely proud of the Shoreham Port EcoPort title as it demonstrates our commitment to not only reducing our carbon footprint and tapping into free and alternative renewable energy sources, but ensures that our bio diverse environment is sustainable for the years ahead and that all future generations will continue to enjoy a fantastic experience when visiting, working, or passing through Shoreham Port.”

If you’d like to find out more about Shoreham Port’s plans for the future, don’t miss the Annual Public & Stakeholder’s Meeting on Tuesday 21st May at the Barn Theatre in Southwick. For full details please visit www.shoreham-port.co.uk/publicmeeting.

The Let's Do Business Networking Breakfast and Piglet's Pantry

The Let's Do Business Networking Breakfast and Piglet's Pantry

Brighton Chamber is hosting a Pop-up Breakfast at this year’s Lets Do Business Expo on Thursday 13 June at the American Express Community Stadium from 8.00-9.45.

The guest speaker is Jo Hunter, founder of Piglet’s Pantry. Jo Hunter started Piglet’s after quitting her corporate role to set up a little bakery, using local produce wherever possible. But her pies were too good for the bakery to remain small for long.

In 2011, Piglet’s beat more than 100 other pie-makers to supply the pies at Brighton & Hove Albion’s new Amex stadium. The company has had to move several times as it grew, taking on new clients, and now works from a massive production kitchen in Worthing. From here, it supplies all manner of sporting clients including the Oval, Twickenham, and Chelsea FC, as well as non-sporting ones too. And it has branched out into other products, making everything from sausage rolls to cake.

Jo will be talking about what Piglet’s did, how they did it and what their future plans are.

Book here to join the breakfast before you visit the expo which opens at 10am

To find out about other events like this join the Brighton Chamber mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/dqRokr

One in three people in declining jobs are holding out for redundancy before switching careers

  • One in three people in declining jobs are holding out for redundancy before switching careers

  • Figure doubles to almost two in three among employees under 35

  • https://www.learningpeople.com/uk/

34% of UK workers at the sharp end of changing labour demands are waiting to be made redundant before switching careers, according to a survey released today by professional training provider Learning People. This figure rises to 62% among those aged under 35, with younger employees also reporting more pay freezes, shrinking teams and zero-hour contracts.

The study interviewed 1,000 employees in job functions and sectors experiencing declining demand according to UK labour market projections. Namely administrative and secretarial roles, agricultural employees, machine operatives and skilled trades in manufacturing, land transport workers and sales and customer service staff in the retail sector.

Reflecting on the past five years, more than two in three (67%) complain of shrinking teams and increasing workloads, 59% have experienced pay freezes and almost half (45%) say redundancies have become commonplace.

Across these sectors, young employees present a bleaker picture of working life than older colleagues. 64% of employees under 35 report pay freezes, compared to just over half (57%) of older workers. Similarly, 65% of younger employees have seen an increase in zero-hour contracts in contrast to just 39% of older workers, and 58% say redundancies have become a regular occurrence, compared with 40% of over 35s.

While almost one in 10 (9%) employees in declining labour markets have either already begun retraining or plan to start soon, around a quarter (23%) want to switch careers but don’t know what else to do.

When asked what they’d consider as a second career, IT and coding jobs top the poll, with 12% of respondents choosing this if they were to switch now. Charity and voluntary roles are next at 10%, with business, consulting and management at 9%, accounting and banking at 8% and creative arts and design at 6%.

In terms of how redundancy money would be used, top priorities amongst those surveyed include investing in savings, holidays, home renovations and paying off debts. Courses to retrain also feature, especially for those under 55.


Mike Appleby, Head of Global Talent Community at Learning People comments:

“Ten years on from the financial crisis many employers are still in a cycle of redundancies, especially those adapting to automation. If you think redundancy’s coming it can make sense to hold out for a payout, but don’t stand still in the meantime. Update your skills while still in your old job. Getting in on the fast-rising tech industry is not as daunting as many think and can often re-focus your current role – an admin exec conversant in cyber security risks is much more valuable than one who isn’t.

“A big barrier is the lack of support and advice available for people who want to make a career change. Most people approach this by Googling but that can often lead to further confusion. People end up on job adverts which show their experience doesn’t fit the bill, regardless of their transferrable skills. Instead, find networking opportunities and talk to people in a career you’re interested in. Understand what you’re passionate about, what opportunities are local to you and engage organisations that suit, rather than seek out exact roles. This will help identify what training is needed to make the jump.”

Mark Rhodes, Marketing Director at UK employment agency Reed, adds:

“The good news for those wanting to switch career to IT and coding is the whole technology sector is booming and IT skills are in high demand. We’ve seen an 8% year-on-year rise in vacancies so far in 2019, contributing to a 35% rise in technology vacancies since 2016”.

47-year-old Charles Karanja from Cambridge retrained with Learning People in 2017 after an administration career and is now a SOC Support Analyst at Telefónica. He comments:

“While I enjoyed my old administrative job, I felt stuck and unsure of my long-term prospects. I looked into cyber security because I’ve always been fascinated by data breaches and hacks. When the ‘WannaCry’ hack affected my wife’s job, she phoned, asking when I was going to make the move.

“Don’t let a lack of experience put you off. Think about your transferrable skills, the things you’re good at and passionate about. Then study. Despite having absolutely no tech experience I was able to secure my current position once I finished my course. I learn more every day as the world of tech is constantly changing. That constant change makes me feel I’ve found a role with a future.”

“Sustainability in Business” Training Course

Course 1: Reducing Single Use Plastics and Better Waste Management / Recycling

Are you finding waste management intransparent and confusing?

Is your waste contractor making recycling and sustainable disposal difficult to navigate?

Then this training is for you!

A half-day course plus a behind the scenes tour of the Brighton Dome.

This training course creates a space for people in similar roles to meet and share experiences and solutions to specific issues around sustainability in their own organisations.

Sessions include individual objective setting, peer-to-peer support and facilitated discussions.

Expert talks on the topic and a tour of the interesting features of the event site will make this course an enjoyable and useful resource.

Go to course page

Or contact :

Info@sustainablebusiness.org.uk or phone 01273 964239

Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD

www.sustainablebusiness.org.uk - @SustBusNetwork

Executive Summary of B&H Economic Strategy Launched

Brighton & Hove's new economic strategy for 2018 to 2023 provides a blueprint for the city and the Greater Brighton region to become one of the UK's most productive and inclusive economies. The strategy urges businesses, entrepreneurs, educators and communities to be bold and build on our local reputation for openness, creativity and innovation.

Brighton Summit: Crack on – a quarter of total tickets already sold out

Brighton Summit: Crack on – a quarter of total tickets already sold out

Brighton Chamber has launched Brighton Summit, the seventh annual conference for everyone in and around Brighton who wants to evolve and grow their business. Super Earlybird tickets sold out in record time and a quarter of the total available tickets have already been snapped up for the event, due to be held on Friday 11 October.

The theme this year is ‘Crack on’. It’s all too easy to carry on doing things the same way you always have, to hesitate and make excuses for putting things off. It’s harder to drive forward, and, if necessary, make changes, especially in such uncertain times. But success in business often means overcoming your doubts, ignoring the “what ifs” and just cracking on and doing it.

What “it” is depends on you, your business and your aims. It might be radical or it might be subtle. It could mean taking risks; it could equally mean sticking to your principles. It could be about having a vision; it could be about focusing on people. You can fill in the blanks, but the Summit should give you the motivation to make it happen.

Whatever your interpretation, the determination to get on and make things happen is what makes a business stand out, survive and thrive.

This year’s Brighton Summit: Crack On, is about taking your business, or work, by the scruff of its neck, deciding what you want and going for it.

At the 2017 Brighton Summit, attendees faced uncertainty and ‘Embraced the Unknown’. Last year it was about exploring new ways of working and choosing to ‘Look Up’. In 2019 get inspired to Crack on, step up and get your business moving.

What is Brighton Summit?

Bringing together 400 businesses and entrepreneurs from the city’s diverse business community, it’s a day for strengthening relationships and forging new ones. You’ll get inspiring speakers, expert-led workshops and energising discussions, with plenty of time for networking built in at every turn.

Brighton Summit, which is hosted by Brighton Chamber, celebrates the spirit of our open-minded, quirky city which makes it such a dynamic region to live, work and do business in.

Who is Brighton Summit for?

Brighton Summit is for everyone in and around Brighton who wants to evolve and grow their business. Whether you’re a big business CEO, a not-for-profit, an entrepreneur or an employee, Brighton Summit is for you.

What will I get from Brighton Summit?

Fresh perspectives. New approaches and ways of working. Skills and techniques to help your company thrive. The tools, confidence and inspiration to do things differently. It’s a day for building connections, entertaining new ideas and leaving your comfort zone. It’s the most productive and beneficial day out of the office all year.

Book your place today: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brighton-summit-crack-on-tickets-58435858225

Join our mailing list for updates: http://eepurl.com/dqRokr

500 employers have signed up to pay the Living Wage in Brighton

500 employers have signed up to pay the Living Wage in Brighton

This week the Brighton & Hove Living Wage campaign reached the milestone of 500 Living Wage employers in the city. The 500th employer to sign up was Emma Cleary, founder of Flexibility Matters. Emma said:

“We believe that in work and life a balance creates a happier, more engaged work force who not only like their work environment but are better retained, more engaged and more productive. Everyone wins! We were keen to join the Living Wage campaign because it is the right way to employ great people and ensure they stay with you. Employee engagement, work and life balance and being aware that you get better results from happier staff.”

To celebrate reaching 500 Living Wage employers in the city Brighton Chamber is hosting a special coffee morning at BrewDog on Wednesday 8 May, so if you're signed up to the campaign you can RSVP here. Meet other Living Wage employers and enjoy cakes from Infinity Foods.

Launched in 2012, the local Living Wage campaign provides an opportunity for employers to show their commitment to paying fair wages. The purpose of the campaign is to position the real Living Wage as the normal accepted minimum for wages in the city. We want everybody to be able to afford a good quality of life instead of just surviving.

Of the 500+ Living Wage employers currently signed up to the Brighton & Hove Living Wage campaign, over 60 sectors are represented. 53 employers are third sector organisations, 44 are retail businesses, 30 are media agencies and 19 are in the hospitality and catering sector. The biggest sector in the local Living Wage campaign is digital, with 65 digital employers signed up to the campaign.

If you pay all your employees over 18 at least £9 per hour you can join the campaign today! It's free to sign up and only takes a minute. Find out more at:




Shoreham Port begin recruitment for new CEO

You can download the Person Specification, Job advert and Application form with these links.

Shoreham Port is a highly commercial Trust Port on the South coast of England, steeped in history and firmly rooted at the heart of the community it serves. We aim to be the preferred south coast port for short-sea traffic, marine-related projects and landlord of an extensive commercial estate including specialist sites. The Port is a key local and regional economic driver, employing 120 staff directly, with 1,600 jobs across its footprint.

We have undergone significant growth in recent years and remain on track with the Port Masterplan which has many exciting projects in the pipeline. Last year, around 1,500 commercial shipping movements and over 2 million tonnes of cargo were handled. In addition, we have over 100 tenants in a variety of businesses, generating a combined turnover of c£14m.

We are looking for a Chief Executive who will continue to drive growth, change, innovation and improvement, whilst building and developing effective relationships with our highly valued customers and stakeholders.

As well as senior leadership experience, you need to have outstanding communication skills and be able to represent the Port at the highest levels across the maritime sector, influencing the national maritime landscape and helping to shape the wider supply chain.

Candidates will need to bring a collaborative leadership style, which is positive and upbeat, conducive to inspiring and motivating our staff to successfully deliver our mission and strategy.

Working at Shoreham Port, within the thriving ports sector offers an enticing career opportunity, where an entrepreneurial flair, commercial and financial acumen, inclusive leadership and superb communication skills are highly sought-after.

If you consider you have the qualities, experience and vision that we are looking for, then we would very much like to hear from you. Full details of the role, including the job description and application form are on our website – www.shoreham-port.co.uk/jobs



Celebrating fourteen years in 2019, the Brighton and Hove Business Awards are supported by the city’s leading organisations and are firmly established as a benchmark for excellence in today’s competitive business environment.

Each business can enter up to a maximum of three categories and the entry fee is £50 plus vat per entry.

Entry Deadline: May 8th

Shortlist Announced: June 24th

Ceremony: July 25th


For entry and sponsorship enquiries, email brighton@platinumpublishing.co.uk

BTN BikeShare celebrates 1 million miles of cycling and arrival of new bikes

BTN BikeShare celebrates 1 million miles of cycling and arrival of new bikes

Riders, who have collectively cycled over 1 million miles, to benefit from 120 new bikes arriving this month

BTN BikeShare today announces that the scheme is further expanding, with 120 new bikes rolling out in the coming weeks. This development is in direct response to customer demand, meaning that more bikes will be available to the scheme’s growing user base.

The award-winning scheme, sponsored by American Express and Life Natural Spring Water, has seen upwards of 69,000 users making over 560,000 trips since it launched in September 2017. Together, users have now ridden over 1 million miles – announced on the bike share’s social channels last week.

Further hubs have already been installed in the west of the city, on Preston Street, Connaught Road and Portland Road, including a ‘virtual hub’ outside Portslade train station. The most recent hub was added just last week and services Rottingdean, a much-requested location. Additional sites are planned for later this year, with the aim to reach even more members of the community who will benefit from bike sharing.

Tim Caswell, MD of Hourbike, the company operating the scheme, said: “We’re thrilled to be expanding BTN BikeShare and hope that it will encourage even more people to cycle in and around Brighton & Hove. Thanks to the ongoing support from Brighton & Hove City Council we will have an additional 120 bikes in circulation, allowing us to service even more residents, commuters and visitors without impacting the availability of the bikes elsewhere in the city.”

New Just Text Giving Number announced to help ensure donations to the homless help most

The successful campaign to encourage the pubic and businesses to give to homeless charities rather than the street community has just announced a change to the numbers.

The JustTextGiving number will change as of 1st April to text 19UMCC 3,5,10 or 20 to 70085 for a £3,£5,£10 or £20 donation. 

To find out more, click on this link to view the latest info.

SINC Event: Panel of experts to advise SMEs on the impacts of Brexit, “deal or no deal”.

We now know that the UK won't be leaving the EU on March 29th. The deadline may have been extended to April 12th but it's still unclear what will happen. Whatever the outcome, it will impact on SMEs so we're holding a special Knowledge Hub with a panel of experts to help you to plan a secure future for your business.

Speakers include:

Internalysis - Interanalysis' TradeSift software is designed to enable robust and consistent analysis of trade data and trade policy choices. The team, through their work with the UK Trade Policy Observatory, have been advising parliament throughout the Brexit negotiations.

FermionX - FermionX are an electronic manufacturing company with over 30 years experience and with vast expertise in managing international supply chains.

Lewis Silkin LLP - Lewis Silkin are a commercial law firm that specialise in immigration. They advise UK businesses that employ EU staff on the implications of Brexit.

There will be an opportunity for Q&A with all our speakers as well as Ian Purseglove from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).




After a decade of service at Shoreham Port, Rodney Lunn the Chief Executive has decided that he intends to leave the Port at the end of the year. This creates a rare opportunity for new leadership at Shoreham Port. Rodney will remain in his current position until December, allowing ample time for a successor to be appointed.

During his tenure, Shoreham Port has seen a 75% growth in revenue from £8 million to £14 million, through a focussed diversification of business and a relentless drive for continuous improvement. Last year, around 1,500 commercial shipping movements and over 2 million tonnes of cargo were handled.

Additionally, the Port now has a thriving tenant community with over 100 businesses and 1,500 jobs across its estate. The Port Masterplan remains on track with strategic land purchases and development of key sites, for example the Lady Bee Enterprise Centre, a new commercial estate on an area of reclaimed land near the lock gates will be completed in May 2019.

Rodney’s mantra has always been that the Port may not be the biggest Port in country, but will strive to be the best. This has meant hiring the best staff and training everyone to deliver a first class service to their customers. As a Trust Port, building relationships with the Port’s eclectic mix of stakeholders and delivering meaningful community partnerships has also been a priority for Rodney.

Amber Foster, Chair of Shoreham Port said “Rodney has taken the Port from strength to strength and will be greatly missed. He has made a tremendous contribution to Shoreham Port, to its stakeholders and to the Port sector as a whole. Thanks to his leadership, we are well on the way to delivering the Masterplan, the Port’s relationship with its stakeholders has been transformed and he leaves us in a position ready to move onto our next stage of development. It’s a legacy of which he should be very proud. Rodney will leave Shoreham Port in a very strong position for the next Chief Executive to capitalise on for the future. The Board and I would like to thank him for this and we wish him well with his future endeavours.”

Rodney Lunn said “It has been a great privilege to be the Chief Executive of Shoreham Port over the past decade, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with an enthusiastic and committed team. We have achieved great success together, however, I believe the time is now right to step aside and hand the baton over to a new leader, to ensure new ideas and fresh perspectives are brought to the Port. We have 120 fantastic staff members and I am confident that the Port will continue to thrive and remain a key local and regional economic driver.”

The Chief Executive vacancy will be advertised from the beginning of April on the Port’s website – www.shoreham-port.co.uk/jobs

PR and styling workshop to help Brighton brands get noticed

PR and styling workshop to help Brighton brands get noticed

PR and product styling workshop aimed at independent brands and small businesses in Brighton

Wednesday 17th April 2019 6:30-9pm at The Projects, Brighton

In April, an interactive PR and product styling workshop is taking place in Brighton. It aims to help Brighton’s independent lifestyle brands do their PR in-house, gaining valuable press coverage with no agency fees.

The 2.5-hour workshop will be hosted by PR expert and This Is Publicity founder Jasmin Robertson, and award-winning interior stylist, journalist and blogger, Maxine Brady.

Attendees will receive expert advice on how to get their brand coverage, covering topics including press releases, pitching etiquette and product styling and photography.

Jasmin and Maxine have more than 30 years joint industry experience, working for both brands and media titles. They decided to launch this workshop when they noticed so many small brands struggling for exposure.

“Brighton is best known for its independent shops, start-ups and solo-preneurs, but most aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. We want to give them confidence and practical skills to pitch to media in ways that work.’ says Jasmin.

“Coverage can help drive sales and awareness, but when times are tough PR is often the first thing to get cut. We know so many small businesses who need support but simply cannot afford agency fees. Our workshop will help brands get to grips with running their own marketing at a fraction of the cost.”

Maxine added, “I’ve styled shoots and written for all the leading UK titles. Every day, I see so many small brands with great products making basic mistakes when talking to the press. We understand that small businesses owners are short on time and money and need simple marketing solutions. With our tips, I’m confident Brighton’s small brands can compete with the high street for exposure in the national press.”

To support the practical workshop content, a number of journalists and bloggers were asked to share their thoughts on how they like to be contacted by brands.

According to Jasmin, “Their comments highlight just how much the media land scape is changing and how brands need to adapt. It’s clear there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are still key criteria. We’re offering plenty of advice on how to nail the basics and develop those all-important relationships.”

The Style + Pitch workshop will take place from 6.30-9pm on Wednesday 17th April 2019 at The Projects, 8-9 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD.

Tickets cost £99.99 and are available to buy via Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/style-pitch-get-your-lifestyle-brand-noticed-by-editors-tickets-54560160910).

Barclays Announces £14bn Fund to Help Businesses Succeed After Brexit


Barclays Bank has announced it is establishing a new £14 billion lending fund which forms part of an overarching initiative designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) ‘flourish’ after Brexit.

Focused on building SME resilience during uncertain times, the package of support includes:

• A £14 billion dedicated lending fund for those businesses that are deemed important to the UK economy (turnover of £0-£25 million).

• More than 100 SME Brexit clinics and seminars being run in local communities across the country.

• An established network of on-the-ground relationship management experts and industry specialists, based across the UK.

The bank says these initiatives are designed to help SMEs think about managing cash-flow and working capital, as well as exporting goods abroad, labour, supply chain management, and broader issues of preparedness.

This fund is intended for SMEs at several stages of growth and development. It includes a range of business lending services, including:

• Business loans, commercial mortgages and overdrafts up to £250,000 working capital.

• Cash flow funding for investment in growth, management buyouts and business acquisition.

• Loans for innovative businesses looking for growth funding, capital and environmental investment.

• Maximising government schemes like The Enterprise Finance Guarantee programme.

Launching the fund, Barclays Group CEO Jes Staley, said:

"Barclays stands ready to help local businesses in towns, cities and rural communities, up and down the country, during this period of uncertainty.

"Today’s £14bn fund, along with our broader package of support, shows our commitment to the local businesses that are the backbone of the UK economy – we are here to help them plan for the future and invest for growth."

Growthdeck to make EIS investment in Brighton based high fashion glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk

Growthdeck to make EIS investment in high fashion glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk

• Chief Designer’s designs have been worn by Elton John, Julia Roberts and U2

• Global eyewear market worth $117bn in 2017

Private equity investment firm Growthdeck has launched an EIS-qualifying investment opportunity in high fashion boutique glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk.

Brighton-based Kirk & Kirk produces a distinctive range of luxury glasses and sunglasses. Chief Designer Karen Kirk’s designs have been worn by Elton John, Julia Roberts, U2 and Oasis, amongst others. The glasses worn by Gary Oldman in the Batman films were also designed by her and Prue Leith wore a number of Kirk & Kirk frames on the recent series of The Great British Bake Off.

Kirk & Kirk’s frames are handmade in France using a specialist high-grade acrylic sourced from Italy, which is lightweight and has a distinct colour palette.

The company is seeking £1.07m in funding. The business has grown organically since it was founded in 2013 and funding will be used to launch an online-only retail collection, design a new collection for 2020, and updating the company’s IT infrastructure.

Kirk & Kirk has increased sales by 43% over the year to £752,800 (year-end July 31st), from £525,400 in 2016/17.

Growthdeck says turnover is projected to reach £1.3m in 2019/20 and £6.8m in 2022/23.

The global eyewear market amounted to $117bn in 2017 and is expected to reach $182.4bn by 2023, reflecting the growing demand for premium products. This is part of a broader trend as consumers increasingly move towards innovative fashion styles as opposed to traditional ones.

Gary Robins, Head of Business Development at Growthdeck, says: “Kirk & Kirk is building up a substantial following and has proved its ability to achieve premium pricing for its products.”

At present, wholesale sales to a network of high-end independent opticians account for 90% of turnover. Online sales account for a small proportion of turnover but volumes are expected to rise following investment in the e-commerce platform.

As with all Growthdeck investments, exit plans are clearly laid out, with a trade sale exit targeted in 2022. The target exit offers investors’ the prospect 9.2 times money when initial EIS income tax relief is taken into account.

Kirk & Kirk was founded by:

• Karen Kirk, Co-Founder and Designer, is an award-winning designer responsible for the design of all ranges. Karen has been designing since co-founding Kirk Originals with Jason in 1992. Prior to this, Karen held design roles at Saatchi & Saatchi

• Jason Kirk, Co-Founder and MD, oversees operations and is responsible for the manufacturing and sales functions of the business. Jason co-founded Kirk Originals with Karen in 1992. Prior to this, Jason was a marketing consultant at L’Oreal UK

Karen and Jason Kirk previously founded Kirk Originals in 1992. They exited in 2013 to found Kirk & Kirk.

Growthdeck is a private investor network offering tax-efficient private equity investments in growth businesses to high net worth and sophisticated investors. Growthdeck was founded by a highly experienced team, including private equity veteran Gary Robins, formerly of 3i, Hotbed and Rockpool, along with James Wrighton, a digital marketing specialist who has developed digital channels for financial institutions including Barclays, Coutts, UBS and Credit Suisse.

Growthdeck has previously completed successful fundraises for growth businesses including boutique gin brand Pinkster, and high-end gym chain One Rebel. Previously Gary has led investments in fast-growth companies such as:

• The Hoxton, the boutique hotel in Shoreditch

• Gymbox, the specialist London gym business

Gary Robins adds: “Turnover is built on sales to an extremely solid network of independent opticians who are increasingly seeking eyewear ranges that stand out to consumers. There is also significant capacity for growth in online sales which management is looking to develop.”

“The exit for this investment could be a trade sale to a competitor or to a private equity house, with any buyer likely to be attracted by the strong brand and global sales profile of Kirk & Kirk.”

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is an investment scheme which allows private investors to make tax savings by investing in growth businesses. The EIS allows investors to:

• Invest up to £1million per annum

• Reclaim 30% of the cost of investment against their income tax bill

• To not pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any gains realised after three years

• Claim further income tax relief should an investment result in any form of loss

• Defer capital gains tax due on the sale of another asset by re-investing the gain in an EIS-qualifying company

• Save inheritance tax on any EIS-qualifying shares held for over two years


About Growthdeck

Growthdeck offers equity investments in new and more established UK businesses to Sophisticated and High Net Worth Investors, with minimum investment of £5,000.

The company offers a comprehensive service to investors, including detailed upfront due diligence on all investee businesses, post-investment monitoring and reporting and a strong focus on achieving an exit for investors. Its focus is on long-term business viability: companies must have strong management, realistic business plans and operate in growth sectors. The majority of its investment opportunities will be eligible for tax breaks under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. Your capital is at risk. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.