Designs on more growth

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, Brenda Coade, co-founder of Designer Childrenswear and Dionne Evans, e-commerce and international business development manager.
Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, Brenda Coade, co-founder of Designer Childrenswear and Dionne Evans, e-commerce and international business development manager.

Things are looking good for Designer Childrenswear.

The luxury clothing retailer is set to create up to a dozen highly-skilled tech roles after opening a new office in Sunderland.

We have worked tirelessly and invested heavily in growing the digital side of the company over recent years but even we are surprised at the rate at which it has grown.

Dionne Evans

The independent family-owned retailer that has been rooted in Sunderland for more than 30 years, has opened a new office in Sunderland Software Centre to cater for demand from overseas.

The company has reported a 50 per cent rise in online sales year-on-year since launching its e-commerce website in 2005, with the bulk of orders coming from customers in overseas markets such as the UAE, the US, China and Japan.

The new 353 sq ft office will allow the business to manage all of its creative, digital marketing and ecommerce activity in a dedicated space and will provide the space it needs to continue with its rapid expansion.

Designer Childrenswear employed just six people in 2015 and now employs more than 40 in a range of roles from retail to warehousing, photography and digital.

And, over the next six months, after receiving support from Sunderland City Council’s MAKE it Sunderland initiative, the company has bold ambitions to continue growing its headcount with the recruitment of up to a dozen new members of staff in highly skilled roles such as content creation and digital marketing, as well as ecommerce specialists.

E-commerce manager Dionne Evans said: “We have worked tirelessly and invested heavily in growing the digital side of the company over recent years but even we are surprised at the rate at which it has grown.

“For the first-time last year, we witnessed huge international growth and are now increasingly selling more and more products to customers overseas. The opening of this new, dedicated office, means we can centralise all of our digital activity and continue growing this side of the business which has huge potential for further expansion.”

“We work very closely with our colleagues in the newly opened store on Derwent Street as well as our photography and distribution teams, all of which are in the city centre, so it was vital that we didn’t move too far away.

“We also needed to ensure our new space had the right facilities in order to help us continue growing, such as superfast Internet and the ability to work beyond the usual 9-5.”