2017 has been a busy one for Briers, as the garden lifestyle brand attended exhibitions all over the globe and capitalised on its market leading position.
Investing in product quality, advanced distribution systems, additional staff and charitable causes - CEO Jackie and Nigel Eades’ company continues to retain its fun and forward thinking reputation, whilst winning several industry awards, and capping the year off by announcing an impressive £15 million turnover.
At the beginning of the season, Briers appointed Charlotte Prentice from Suttons as National Sales Manager, with Chris Keightley as International Sales Manager. In the last twelve months the company also brought in Tahnee Miles as Head of Supply Chain and Collette Pope as Project Manager.
Emma Johnson joined as Key Account Manager to add further support, as the company continued to recruit throughout the season – most recently appointing Elke Beuvink from Kaemingk and Tara Truman from the Coleman Company and formerly Sinclair. In October, Ex-HTA Chief Executive Carol Paris joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director, joining Briers Chairman Jim McMahon, Trading Director Tristan Sissons, and Compliance Director Nick Smith.
Briers’ ongoing expansion programme has been focussed on both the company’s sales ordering and warehouse management systems providing extra facilities such as real time stock management levels and an iPad enabled sales ordering system.
This has resulted in easier ordering with an increased amount of control over orders for Briers’ retail customers. Also, just before Glee, Briers agreed a deal with Decco for the supply of its core range of boots and gloves – providing a further boost to Briers’ sales force and increasing the coverage of sales support for customers across the UK.
Briers CEO Jackie Eades, said: “It is important that we continue to invest in our business, from the quality of the products that we offer, to the way that customers interact with us. The investments across both our ordering and warehouse management systems are just a small part of our long-term business development plans, designed to offer our customers further peace of mind and transparency throughout the ordering and despatch process.”
At Glee, Briers launched eight new products - including ‘Lavender Garden’, its third range with designer Julie Dodsworth, a new fashion-led lifestyle brand, Sandley range, and products using high quality technical materials including Bamboo gloves, Premium Leather and Flex and Protect gloves. Briers also launched seven new kids garden products, making it the largest fully compliant kids’ range in the UK.
During the Summer, Briers took not one but two accolades at the highly contested GIMA Awards – the Gardenex Export Achievement award and the POS award, both of which were made possible by the success of the company’s kids’ range throughout Europe and in the UK.
One of Briers’ new kids products – Aidan’s glove – was a pattern designed by 10 year old competition winner, Aidan Parmar. The glove is the latest product Briers has added to the range that is also used to donate money to charity, with 30p from each pair sold going to Greenfingers charity. Briers has continued to work on various charity projects during 2017, with continued support for Greenfingers, taking part in the Garden Re-Leaf Day walk, as well as supplying Greenfingers gloves which will continue to raise funds and awareness in 2018. Most recently the Somerset based company has also supported Carymoor, a local outdoor education centre, and Thrive’s ‘Wear Your Wellies to Work Day’.
The company had an exceptionally busy year in regards to exhibitions – meeting the media at the Garden Press Event, showcasing ranges at the Garden Retail Experience and Spring Fair in February, as well as hosting celebrity #Glovies at the Chelsea Flower Show in May. The team also travelled to Las Vegas for the US National Hardware show, the IGC in Chicago, and in Europe the Spielwarenmesse (Toy Fair), Nuremberg and Spoga/Gafa, and finally Glee in the UK in September. These appearances were all made worthwhile as Briers experienced a surge in growth throughout 2017 which saw turnover reach nearly £15 million - with projected forecasts pointing towards £20 million in the next few years.