Family-run Sudbury firm blossoms

VANESSA Laws is sticking to a tried and tested formula for growing her successful business designing and making stickers.

Vanessa sells reward and motivational stickers to primary and secondary schools and hospitals, and has built up the business from scratch to become a multi-national company selling not only in the UK but to Ireland, the Czech Republic and Norway.

The Sticker Factory is celebrating 15 years of trading in Sudbury this year and has expanded in recent years with a digital marketing arm aimed at selling products online. It has won an educational award for one of its sticker collections.

Vanessa was working as a freelance graphic designer during the mid-1990s when she came up with the idea for her business.

She recalls her three children coming home from school with stickers rewarding them for their hard work.

“I was delighted they were doing well but the designs caught my eye because I didn’t like them much,” she said. “I was teaching myself to design on a computer at the time and, with very small children, I was naturally focused on child-centred work.”

After a few testing start-up years, the business found its footing and began to grow with more products being added every year.

“I remember when The Sticker Factory was just a couple of shelves in our conservatory,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to see it develop into the award-winning business it is today.”

Vanessa has kept the business a family affair. Her husband Steven looks after the company’s wholesale and export sales, having previously worked as a secondary school teacher, while daughter Ruth, 24, looks after digital marketing, including the company’s online sales.

They are based in offices overlooking the water meadows in Walnut Tree Lane and employ a total of 12 staff.