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FaberExposize UK

FaberExposize UK which also trades as Northern Flags has many strings to its bow. Carys Evans spoke to Daniel Clark, marketing manager, about how the company has evolved over the years

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FaberExposize UK produced wide-format print for the 2016 FA Cup Final in Wembley

Three decades of evolution

Since starting out over 30 years ago producing hand-sewn applique flags using imported print, FaberExposize UK has since grown to produce an impressive portfolio of products for both the print and sign industries.

Over the last six years, the company has reshored all of its print production into a state-of-the-art UK facility and previously operating solely as Northern Flags, launched sister brand FaberExposize UK.

Daniel Clark, marketing manager for FaberExposize UK explains: “We’re northern (and proud of it!) but we also have a network of international and national clients who buy more than just flags. We needed a brand that allowed us to focus on everything we do.”

Iain Clasper-Cotte, managing director of FaberExposize UK

Operating out of two large neighbouring units in Millshaw, Leeds, the company is currently embarking on a recruitment drive. Three graduates have joined FaberExposize UK’s first graduate training programme and the company also has a number of vacancies in account management, administration, and finishing and dispatch. Once the drive is complete, Clark estimates the total number of staff will hit 50.

FaberExposize UK produces flags, rigid signage, branding solutions, commercial interior dressing and a range of wide-format print. Specifically for the sign industry, the companies produce pavement signs, A-boards, full retail outlet dressings, and construction site branding. All products are produced using a variety of substrates depending on the client’s needs.

Clark explains: “We’ve done everything from giant pitch banners for the FA Cup final to our eco-friendly catalytic building banner EnviroClean, which cleans the pollution from 20 passing cars a day.

“Flags are still a core part of our business, servicing areas like retail, automotive and show homes but we’ve seen a huge growth in products such as Heras fencing covers, crowd barrier jackets and café barriers over the last few years. We do however have capabilities for all wide-format products so not just our core fabric roll-to-roll products.”

With such a wide variety of products and services on offer, the question of quantity over quality could be raised. However, this is not and has never been the case for FaberExposize UK. When the company reshored its print, production went from one small printer to four giant wide-format printers. According to Clark, this allowed the team to focus on quality and flexibility which he says in turn saw an increase in trust and order value from long standing clients as well as growing new customers.

“Our move from solely fabric to a comprehensive display and branding specialist has allowed us to increase market share in key sectors and subsequently grow turnover year-on-year”, he says, adding: “This has also meant we’ve built two additional large mezzanine levels in the new factory already.”

A company which diversifies and grows so rapidly and fearlessly needs to have a ‘grab it by the horns’ ethos, and this is something Clark says is very apt. “Our default position is “YES, we can”. Whatever a customer wants, no matter how complicated, we have the materials and expertise to deliver. As I said before, we are so much more than flags.”

The future is green

The environment is something that is at the core of FaberExposize UK and developing sustainable options for signage and print solutions is very much on the forefront of the agenda. This passion for the environment led to the launch of the Action Now initiative which Clark says allows the company to put over seven years’ worth of learning into products and solutions for clients regardless of how far along they are in terms of being sustainable. “We are fortunate that our new product development is spread between our sister companies, which gives us greater agility and access to even more specialists,” Clark explains.

Looking forward and it is the focus on sustainability that Clark predicts will be a driving force for new developments within the sign and print industries. “Our passion for encouraging environmental responsibility and provoking change within the print industry and the sectors we service remains undimmed.

“Our Action Now initiative isn’t just a PR stunt, it is a core ethos which runs through the blood of everyone in our team. We understand how difficult it can seem to move to a more eco-friendly way of business, and that’s why we’re happy to have those conversations with clients, suppliers and peers to share our learning.”

Our Action Now initiative isn’t just a PR stunt, it is a core ethos which runs through the blood of everyone in our team

He adds: “We believe this in itself will play a part in sparking a growth towards doubling our turnover in the next three years, as well as our new flexible, dynamic work processes.”

Stronger than ever

A company that’s been around for over 30 years is bound to have its ups and downs as with any business. But for FaberExposize UK, Clark says the biggest challenge to date has been navigating the Covid-19 pandemic. The last 18 months have hit every business differently, and for FaberExposize UK it was the sudden drop in business in the retail, events, hospitality and exhibitions industries that hit the company leaving what Clark describes as “a gaping hole in turnover”.

Describing how the company stood strong and faced this challenge, he says: “Fortunately, because of how we recruit, we all relish a challenge. We pushed an aggressive pivot strategy, providing social distancing signage which proved vital and hugely successful but also gave us a lot of knowledge which we were able to apply in providing a completely comprehensive range of products and services for all of our sectors.”

Clark praises the team for pulling together to get through a tough 18 months

Over a year on and the company is as busy as ever and Clark praises every member of the team for working hard to fulfil current demand and for pushing themselves to progress and develop. He adds: “This goes all the way from our cleaner who has been an angel during the pandemic, to our talented production team, to the wizards in our sales and estimating department, all the way to our general manager and managing director.

“We couldn’t have achieved what we have done so far without each of our staff members. Their dedication, hard work and understanding over the last 18 months not only allowed us to survive the pandemic but to actually come out of it in a stronger position.”

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