Turning a hobby business into full-time homeworking has proved so successful for Darren Mather that his partner Bobby has now joined the business.
Darren, who is chairman of the Mildenhall-based Bunbury Players amateur dramatic group, started Production Print and Design as a web-based business after doing the players’ production printing.
He did everything from tickets to posters, then added printing T-shirts, outsourcing it first then doing it in house.
About three years ago he and Bobby adopted their son Thomas, now eight, and Darren left work at a Newmarket publishing company to be the full-time carer at their home in Red Lodge.
“I thought I could work from home, and it just got busier and busier,” he said.
He prints for amateur dramatic groups all over the country and has had a job for a professional theatre company.
Darren said: “Last year we started getting people asking if we could do embroidery and we said yes and outsourced it.”
But as that got busier they looked at doing it in house, bought the assets of a Peterborough embroidery company and now offer that as Production Print Embroidery.
Bobby has left his job at AAFES (the USAF equivalent of the Naafi) at RAF Lakenheath to run that side of the business.
Darren says that though the embroidery side was only ‘soft launched’ on social media in January it is already doing well.
Work has ranged from limited run jobs for Mildenhall’s KATS stage school and the national Red Dwarf Fan Club to presentation folders and boot bags for Kier Construction.
The Four Seasons Hotel chain is also trialling their work at a spa.
They have done everything from a small logo on a shirt breast to an embroidery covering the back of a jacket for a gym. They can do it on to any flat surface and now have a direct to garment printer.
They have no minimum order, so can offer one-offs and short runs, such as a few shirts for one employee.