West Design Products Ltd has enjoyed another successful year during which it achieved fifth place in the fastest-growing exporters in Kent category at MegaGrowth 50 2017.

This family-owned-and-run company is a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and importer of art and crafts materials, children’s products and stationery. It has its Head Office and Distribution Centre based in Folkestone and employs more than 130 people and works with more than 20,000 products.

Clients include WH Smith, Hobbycraft, the Range, Tesco, Harrods, Sainsbury’s, Toymaster and Amazon.

Pre-tax profits were up 8% to £665,000 in the year to the end of January 2016.

The original company, A West & Partners, was established in London in 1888, providing technical drawing papers. The company later developed into manufacturing a wide range of technical and drawing office materials, but then failed to adapt to the new CAD age.

The present owners, a local Kent family, acquired the struggling business in 1997, and relocated it from South London to Folkestone in 1999.

Through distribution agreements with leading European manufacturers such as Faber-Castell and Copic, plus further acquisitions, by 2005 the Company had outgrown its Park Farm premises. Consequently, a three-acre plot was purchased at Shearway Business Park and the building of a 30,000sqft warehouse and Head Office was commissioned. Subsequent acquisitions plus organic growth meant that by 2010 a further 20,000sqft extension was required.

In both 2012 and 2013 West Design was a runner up in the Kent MegaGrowth awards for the top 50 fastest growing businesses. The Company has continued to expand which has necessitated a need for additional space, and planning permission has recently been granted for a second extension to the premises.

The location of West Design’s premises in Folkestone, just off Junction 13 of the M20, has proved to be very convenient for both national and international business. The accessibility to the Continent has been highly advantageous in helping to secure valuable European distribution agreements. In addition, for management, the High Speed Rail link allows for meetings in London not requiring a full day away from the office.