Mentoring scheme sets up overseas growth for children’s bedding products firm

Jo and Anthony Duckworth and Andy Downie

European expansion is on the cards for a Lancashire supplier of children’s bedding products.

Dreamtex works with brands including Xbox, Bluey, Jurassic World, Gabby’s Dollhouse and Disney and is in the process of expanding into European markets with the help of a Lancashire County Council-funded scaleup programme.

The company, which employs 11 people at its Chorley base, agrees licences for its products with a wide range of children’s brands, which are then manufactured abroad and delivered to retailers including Amazon, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Argos.

It is taking part in Two Zero’s Scaleup Leaders Network, which works with the owners and managers of fast-growing businesses in Lancashire through a combination of coaching and peer sessions, helping them to learn from other businesses on the programme.

Dreamtex is led by owners Anthony Duckworth, Andrew Downie and Jo Duckworth who are currently in the process of making the company’s products available in European countries through strategic partnerships.

Anthony Duckworth said: “We are looking at growth in Europe and being part of the Scaleup Leaders Network has helped to improve our knowledge of how best to do that. One of the masterclasses we attended had a session specifically on expansion through partnerships.

“Using strategic partners means we potentially need to sign just one licensing agreement for a whole region. We are currently working with companies in the Nordics, France and Germany and are in the process of securing a number of new licences.”

Two Zero is a business support service for scaleup business leaders in Lancashire. Led by Lancashire County Council, its mission is to help Lancashire’s scaleup leaders learn, grow their business 20% and create jobs.

The Scaleup Leaders Network is being delivered by strategic business growth consultancy Cube Thinking.

Dreamtex currently has a turnover of around £6m, which its owners expect to grow organically over the coming years. As well as expanding its international presence, the company is also growing its product range and is currently developing a range of new products including hooded ponchos, coverless duvets and blankets.

Jo Duckworth said: “The Scaleup Leaders Network also allows us to meet with other business leaders and learn from their experiences and knowledge. It helps to understand how other businesses are working through specific challenges and opportunities. Another area we’ve received support with is sustainability – which is a core value of Dreamtex.”

The company is currently assessing its scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions so it can implement a carbon reduction programme by the autumn and Dreamtex has already started reducing its carbon footprint through new product developments.

Last year saw the launch of Dreamtex Earth, the company’s in-house sustainability project, featuring Better Cotton Initiative sourced cotton for popular brands Bluey, Xbox and Among Us in retailers such as Next, Asda, Tesco and Argos. The business is also taking steps to reduce and remove single use plastic across all ranges.

County Councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, Lancashire County Council, said: “Lancashire County Council’s Two Zero scaleup service has a real track record of helping companies grow faster, returning wealth to the county and creating jobs.

“However, it also makes me hugely proud when we can see the effects of our business support services having an impact globally.

“Dreamtex’s international growth, twinned with its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, is a great example of how companies from our county are leading the sustainability agenda on the international stage.”