Foilco looks to the future on 30th anniversary

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Thursday 28 September 2017

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Hot stamping and cold foils supplier Foilco marked its 30th birthday last month and is eyeing up more export success in a bid to continue to prosper.

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Matt Hornby (right) with managing director Paul Hornby (left) and chief executive David Hornby

The Lowton, Warrington-based company was established in August 1987 by current chief executive David Hornby. His sons, Paul and Matt, are managing director and sales director respectively.

The firm, which has 40 staff and a turnover of £7m, serves customers including packaging printers, label printers, trade foiling houses and the plastics market.

Matt Hornby said he feels the company has been such a lasting success in part due to the passion of the management and staff.

“Paul has been in the business for 20-odd years and I’ve been here for 18 years, it’s in our blood and ingrained in us. The industry is really exciting at the moment because people are using foil in more creative ways and it’s going on more and more packaging.

“We make special colours and we support the industry in terms of service. We offer over 1,000 different products from stock.”

All foils are produced overseas, under licence to Foilco, and stock is cut to size in-house to meet customers’ requirements. The firm uses a fleet of machinery including SRC slitter-rewinders at its Lowton facility.

The business also offers advice and guidance to customers about which machinery to buy and where they can buy it from.

“We work with a few of the machine manufacturers with an agreement that we’ll promote their machinery if they promote our foils. We’re also currently working with one company to design an edge gilding machine,” said Hornby.

The business promotes its products and services at a range of exhibitions and also holds its own event twice a year called Multiplicity which sees it visit different cities to engage with the local design communities.

The event, which features talks from well-known designers and typically attracts between 100 to 250 guests, has so far visited Glasgow, Leeds and Brighton and will next take place in Manchester in November.

Attendees are given a book at the end of each event which includes samples of Foilco’s products.

“Stamping foils is quite a unique process so we’re trying to educate the design community slowly but surely to understand foils more and how they can be used more creatively,” said Hornby.

Looking to the future, Hornby said Foilco will continue to produce niche colours to help it to stand apart from its competitors.

“I think we also need to continue to improve our service levels, though 90% of our orders already leave within 24 hours. And we need to continue to establish ourselves overseas – we’ve got quite a large customer base now, over a third of our business is exports.”

The business currently has agents in Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, India, Pakistan and for Scandinavia as a whole and is keen to secure more agents in other territories.

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