How we've helped Sail Shades Direct
Jamie and his team specialise in bespoke sail shade solutions for both commercial and domestic properties.
They allowed us to put the right processes in place, not just for now, but also for future development to continue growing and employing more people.
How we helped
Sail Shades Direct was established back in 2014 by Jamie Watts and his business partner. Now, as the sole owner and founder, Jamie and his team specialise in bespoke sail shade solutions for both commercial and domestic properties.
The business has grown gradually, seeing them progress to the sale of other outdoor structures, such as aluminium pergolas, mechanical roof systems and glass balustrades.
Jamie, who used to be a sailmaker, noticed that business really quietened down in the summer months as people were out sailing. That’s when he had the idea to start Sail Shades Direct and found a niche in the market.
“The business actually did really well during Covid and gave us a big boost because more people were using their outdoor spaces,” said Jamie.
After Covid and the expansion of the services they were offering, Jamie contacted the Growth and Skills Hub for help with managing the rapid growth. With the number of team members going from two to seven within a year, they needed to bring in processes that would allow the business to sustain its upwards trajectory.
“Specifically, we were looking for help with the general paperwork side of things and managing our order processes, as well as the way we manage stock control,” said Jamie.
“Basically, the bits that were always done by me that I’m no longer able to do. We needed these processes so that other people could manage the systems and keep things running smoothly.”
One of the referrals that Jamie received from the Growth and Skills Hub was from a company called SWMAS. They sent out one of their experts to talk through processes with the team and give their expert advice and suggestions.
“The expert looked at it from an outside perspective and was able to pick things out that we were missing. A lot of what they said was about data collection and the importance of understanding the business more,” said Jamie.
The Growth and Skills Hub also directed Jamie towards funding support and helped the business benefit from making connections with experts from industries they wouldn’t have thought to consult otherwise.
“Growth and Skills Hub is really important because as a business owner, you don’t necessarily have the time to think about things which aren’t your area of expertise,” said Jamie.
“You know how to run a business, but you need to bring in other skillsets which can be quite hard to find in Cornwall without having the time to really look around.”
“Growth and Skills Hub puts them all in a shop window for you and brings the right people together to help you move forward.”
In the future, Sail Shades Direct has aspirations to create a showroom as well as increasing the manufacturing side of things. This is so the team can start producing products within Cornwall which they would usually import from Europe and then patent the designs.
“I would definitely recommend the Growth and Skills Hub. I think from where we were in the business, we were starting to stagnate because we were catching ourselves out and making too many mistakes,” said Jamie.
“They allowed us to put the right processes in place, not just for now, but also for future development to continue growing and employing more people.”
The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub from May 2016 - June 2023 was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and match funded by Cornwall Council, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. The project received £2,848,591.49 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Skills Hub from October 2017 - June 2023 was part funded by the European Social Fund and match funded by Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. The project received £2,885,993 of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.