Rap deal helps Washington firm hit right note

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A link-up with one of rap’s leading record labels has helped a Washington clothing firm double employee numbers and break the £1million-a-year turnover barrier.

Woven Inc increased annual turnover by 40% to £1.1million last year amid growing global orders and significant investment at its head office on the Pattinson Industrial Estate.

We’re continuing to make strides in securing new workwear business and are working with some fantastic fashion brands on a national basis.

Ian Taylor

The company provides screen printing, embroidery, transfers and garment finishing in several sectors, including workwear, fashion and sports.

It also works extensively in the music industry and recently won a contract with Top Dawg Entertainment – the record label affiliated with rapper Dr Dre - which has seen the company supply merchandise for tours of some the world’s biggest hip-hop stars.

In the last quarter of 2016 it shipped 5,000 garments to Norway for Schoolboy Q’s European tour. Among other artists Woven has worked with is Anastasia, whose tour manager recommended the firm to Top Dawg.

Woven was launched by husband-and-wife team Ian and Sarah Taylor in 2012 on the back of Ian’s former career in extreme sports; an industry with a close affiliation with rap, pop and rock music.

“We’re continuing to make strides in securing new workwear business and are working with some fantastic fashion brands on a national basis,” said Ian.

“Our reputation is developing here and in the States, and we have the capacity to meet growing demand. Recent investment means we now have the ability to embroider or print 50,000 items of clothing per week.

“We’re also being recognised as the UK’s leading 3D – or puff - embroidery specialist.”

The political uncertainty of Brexit and the American presidential campaign has played into the company’s hands in the last 12 months, with financial market volatility on garment prices prompting US customers to buy merchandise in Europe for events on this side of the Atlandtic, rather than having them exported from the States.

Coun Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council said: “Woven’s ongoing success in the UK and abroad is a fantastic advert for the skills and entrepreneurial spirit of our region.

“It is an ambitious, young company with huge potential and we’re delighted that it continues to prosper here in Sunderland.”