AWARD-winning NKD Clothing is investing heavily in its staff to help business take-off, by bringing in one of the UK’s leading professional coaching and training experts.
While the economic climate means many companies are cutting back on staff, corporate couture specialist, NKD Clothing, has teamed up with globally-renowned business development experts, Shirlaws.
NKD Clothing director, Gill Eastgate, believes the bold investment will help her further grow her business which recently celebrated a number of high-profile contracts wins, including airline Flyglobespan.
She insists the valuable guidance from Shirlaws experts is already boosting the confidence, creativity and productivity of the ten-strong team at the Edinburgh-based company.
Last month, Gill won the 2009 Junior Chamber International Creative Young Entrepreneur Award, an accolade previously held by Ultimo tycoon, Michelle Mone.
NKD Clothing has also been identified by Scottish Enterprise, who contributed 30 per cent of the total cost of the coaching service, as a potential high-growth company.
She said: “2009 has already been an incredibly successful year for NKD Clothing. As well as the award we have won a host of new contracts with a number of very high-profile names.
“The coaching we received from Shirlaws helped us with these projects by allowing the NKD Clothing management team to view the project from a creative perspective rather than from solely a business viewpoint.”
Gill led a management buyout of the company in 2005 and promptly delivered a doubling of turnover to £1.3 million. Success has been underpinned by contracts with respected hotel groups like De Vere Hotel GroupMalmaison and Hotel du Vin, which helped the bespoke work wear supplier to grow rapidly across the UK.
The entrepreneur has always credited her team as the most important element of NKD Clothing’s success. As the recession impacted, she took the view that investing further in that team was the surest route to emerging from the economic crisis in good business shape.
Shirlaws works across world coaching staff from thousands of different businesses to promote professional development. It helps individuals and companies understand the impact of key business decisions and the effect they might have on the value of a company.
Gill added: “The sessions have helped us to realise how important it is for us to develop culturally as well commercially.
“NKD Clothing is unique in terms of the fact we don’t supply uniforms from a brochure. We design client-specific concepts and bespoke corporate clothing for companies on individual basis.
“Professional coaching helped us realise how important it is for us to emphasise this point to allow the company to grow and therefore expand our reach on a global level.”
The company has now commenced its training, which will include detailed team sessions to be spread over a year. Already, it is influencing the firm’s work supporting existing clients with ideas for re-branding and updating their looks.
As well as Flyglobespan, NKD Clothing has also won new work with Michelin-star chef, Paul Kitching’s 21212 restaurant and Peckforton Castle in Cheshire.
Gill added: “I would thoroughly recommend coaching to any business. It has helped the NKD Clothing team to work together more effectively and as a result we are now better equipped to implement changes to help us further our lead in the bespoke corporate clothing sector.”
The sessions for Gill and her team are being led by Fergus King, the managing director of Shirlaws, who says business coaching is growing in stature because it delivers improved performance in exactly the same way as sports coaching.
He added: “NKD Clothing is a forward-thinking business and one that people are increasingly going to notice. It’s great to be involved with them.
“There is some thinking in the market that goes like ‘not good = need coached’, but I don’t subscribe to that. It is the smart businesses which recognise they can still improve and have unrealised potential and engage with a coach.
“What I love about working with NKD Clothing is that they are really serious about achieving their vision of transforming their business and building one about which the team all feel proud.”
Fergus is providing NKD Clothing with business coaching to accelerate future growth and executive coaching to help Gill and her management team perform at a higher level.
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