A Blackpool firm set up “by accident” in the owners’ front room, has grown in just six years to become a global business turning over £4m a year.
And it’s all thanks to... coat hangers!
Jacqui Green and Jim Elliot started Hangerworld Ltd after Jacqui was left with scores of coat hangers from her ironing business in Thornton.
And they have done so well that this month they were the only European company invited by online retail giant Amazon to its top sellers panel meeting at its US HQ in Seattle.
Jim explained: “We had lots and lots of second hand coat hangers so , almost for a laugh we said, ‘lets put them up on eBay and see what happens.
“They sold. We were mystified as to why, but we very quickly realised there was a market for hangers.”
They started with plastic hangers and then moved on to wire and wooden ones, sourcing new stocks.
Things got so busy that Jim decided to give up his job as a paramedic in Blackpool to help Jacqui full time.
“The interest is that everyone needs coat hangers and they are not especially available on the high street.
“Jacqui started out selling mainly plastic ones but now we package up the wire ones in batches of ten, 50 or 100 and sell them around the world.
“People in Denmark and Sweden will pay more to have them shipped out there than the things cost themselves.”
From operating out of a front room and garage, Hangerworld grew and now occupies a 35,000sq ft building in Cornford Road Marton, with offices, a large packing warehouse and 40 employees.
“We will be taking on more staff soon. The European market is growing and we have just started selling into the USA.”
From selling on eBay and online the company went on to sell through Amazon and are doing so well that they were consulted as apart of its Global Seller Panel, flown out to Seattle to attend two days of meetings and seminars.
“Amazon accounts for 80 per cent of our turnover now, which has doubled every year and is now up to £4m.
“Because we are selling so much in Europe, we may need to take on language experts.”