A CREDIT card has pride of place in the offices of a Denton company going from strength-to-strength despite the challenges brought about by lockdown and the pandemic.
The card belonged to Barry Clegg, dad of Steve Clegg, CEO of Print Related on Hyde Road.
It is now framed and mounted, serving as a poignant reminder of its owner whose generosity helped his son overcome redundancy to build a thriving business.
Sadly for the family Barry died of prostate cancer. But they are forever grateful to him for kick-starting Print Related, which has grown from Steve’s one-man operation in a garden summer house to its current shop premises and a part-time and full-time workforce of 14.
Not content with growing the family orientated company Steve, 46, and wife Karen have worked alongside Tameside Council as level four foster carers for five years.
The Haughton Green-based couple currently look after three youngsters, including a one-year-old baby.
“Nine years ago, my dad was terminally ill and sent home for palliative care,” explained Steve, whose print career began as a 16-year-old bookbinder.
“I was out of work at the time after being made redundant by a print finishing company.”
“I used the credit card (£5,000 limit) to set up the company and fund what I was doing.
“Eventually, he passed away but the debt I accrued turned into profit and went away with him. The card is a reminder of what he did for me.”
Steve still needed to find the right marketing avenue to make a success of his fledgling operation.
“Getting into promotional merchandising was something I fell into,” he explained.
“I knew someone doing it and they made a good living from it.
“I sold pens, USB sticks, mugs but then managed to land a significant contract. They became regular clients and it grew from there.
“I also did embroidered workwear and secured another good deal with a cancer charity.
“Fortunately, I spotted a gap in the market, bought an embroidery machine and learned how to use it.
“I worked 15-hour days, on my own in a 10 x 10-foot summerhouse!”
Steve’s son Joshua eventually came on board to help with digital marketing.
Several of their ideas – selling customised beanie hats and a 10-item embroidered clothing ‘megal workwear deal’ – quickly took off and remain core elements of the business.
“This was at the start of the pandemic, and it went crazy,” Steve said.
“But the increased demand also meant I needed more salespeople, more machinery plus I was working even longer days in the summerhouse.
“About 12 months ago, I had to make a decision because there were so many garments going through the house.
“Plus we are fostering a 13-year-old, a three-year-old who has global development delay and the baby who came to us at three days old.”
So Steve opened the shop – opposite Morrison’s petrol station – initially for production purposes but now a focal point for new and existing customers.
“The mega deal is so popular because tradesman like tilers go through their gear so quickly,” he said.
“Not only does it mean they don’t ruin their own clothes, but the garments are great quality which wash, embroider and print well.”
The £99 plus VAT mega deal has since been followed by a 44-item ultimate deal for £499 plus VAT.
For more information on all products and deals visit www.printrelated.co.uk