Fabric maker aspires to be ‘iconic brand’

Gainsborough Silk Weaving Co, of Alexandra Road, Sudbury.
Gainsborough Silk Weaving Co, of Alexandra Road, Sudbury.

The new boss of Gainsborough Silk Weaving Co says the firm has embarked on a tough drive to become an iconic British brand.

The vision has been outlined by David Sentance, the new managing director of the Sudbury company, which has just received a substantial investment.

It will be a tough act and will be built around the people already here.

David Sentance, managing director

Mr Sentance, who has spent more than 25 years in the fabrics industry, said: “We are very serious about this businesses. Our intention is to turn it into an iconic British brand.

“It will be a tough act and it will be built around the people who are already here.”

The fabric maker, in Alexandra Road, was created 112 years ago and was awarded the Royal Warrant in 1980. It employs 20 people and has recently taken on four more staff with plans to recruit another three by the end of the year.

Mr Sentance, who was appointed following the investment by Surrey-based Oakfield Capital Partners, said: “The company has been ambling along.

“People say they know about us but have forgotten we existed. We will be changing that.”

Mr Sentance said the immediate focus would be on consolidating the company’s UK operations but in the future would be focusing on markets in America and Middle East.

He said: “There is a market for Britishness – especially for heritage.”

Mr Sentance said: “I am very excited to be joining Gainsborough.

“The combination of our highly capable workforce, the expansive archive of designs compiled over the last century, and our new investment will give us the opportunity to bring new collections to the market, provide excellent service to our customers, and to grow our business significantly.”

Russell Sage, who has assumed the position of creative director, said “I’m thrilled that Gainsborough has found such a strong and imaginative partner in Oakfield Capital Partners.

“I remain passionately committed to the great craftsmen and traditional manufacturing businesses in the UK.

“My relationship with Gainsborough has been ongoing for many years and with Oakfield Capital Partners’ shrewd investment, the business is on the verge of an incredible revolution which will keep and respect the very best of its history, whilst exploring the wider opportunities that the business can now pursue.”

Michael Patton, of Surrey-based Oakfield Capital Partners, who has joined the board of the company said: “We believe that this unique British business has the potential to sell its product globally.

“By leveraging its heritage product and manufacturing facility with financial resource and great people, we are confident that Gainsborough will grow quickly.”

Gainsborough launched its new collection of designs, inspired by the unique craftsmanship of Gainsborough weavers, at the Decorex Exhibition in Syon Park during the London Design Festival.

The company was created 112 years ago and among its most notable moments was being chosen to make the silk wall coverings and curtains that the Duchess of Cambridge woke up to when she stayed at the Goring Hotel in London the night before her wedding.