DESIGN company Deadgood has raised £150,000 and taken on one of the North East’s best-known businessmen to guide the firm as it pushes to quadruple its revenues.
The quirky chairs, lights and homeware created at the Newcastle firm, launched by designers Dan Ziglam and Elliot Brook in 2004, have gained a worldwide following.
They have recruited Hossain Rezaei, the entrepreneur behind North East businesses, including Pride Valley Foods, Flatbread Cafe and the You Company as chairman of Deadgood.
“He has a lot of expertise and experience in production and building a business which we really appreciate. He will help guide us to shape the business,” said Brook.
And they are using £90,000 invested by venture capital firm Rivers Capital and £60,000 by Sunderland brush firm chairman David Cottam to develop their markets. Rezaei has not invested in the business.
The two Tynesiders, both graduates in 3D design from Northumbria University, began the business to sell their own creations but have increasingly worked to sell work they have commissioned or been licensed to sell by young design talent, from London, where they have an office.
“We have worked with very good designers like Russell Pinch and Lee Broom. We are a young brand and sell products with personality and an element of fun,” added Brook. “We have a fresh approach to the way we market ourselves and we are really building a reputation.
And their name is winning wider recognition with agents selling products in New York and Los Angeles and they have been visiting exhibitions at home and abroad with contracts in Madrid and Dubai.
While they do sell online about 80% of revenues come from working with architects and interior designers who like their style. They have won large contracts providing furniture for the BBC’s new Salford offices, the National Gallery, Philips, Spurs football club Google and a school in Holland Park.
Brook said the market for designer furniture had been slimming in the downturn “with construction design comes at the bottom of the budget” but he added the firm was growing its client base all the time. Its revenues hit £250,000 last year and was expected to double this year and hit £2m in 2014. The products have been a success in department stores such as Liberty in London and retailers around the world. Although Deadgood flourishes from its Newcastle base he said fewer design firms were able to follow in its wake. “We were lucky to start when we did. There was more money around and there was more help in the way of grants,” said Brook.