Digital Dyers, of Thurmaston, secures future after buying factory
The owners of one of Leicester's last surviving dye houses have helped secure the company's future by buying the premises.
Sukhvinder Heer and Ranjit Singh Mahal, directors of Digital Dyers, have bought their factory in Earls Way, Thurmaston, for a six-figure sum, having leased it for the last 14 years.
Mr Heer said: "We were leasing the premises and rent was going up. This has given us more security because now we can control the overheads and it would have been impossible to move because that would have cost almost as much as buying the premises."
The pair set up their own business after losing their jobs at a city textile firm in 1999.
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As well as materials such as cotton and polyester, the company has dyed delicate fabrics like lace and nylon since 2009.
The company, which employs 25 people, mainly supplies fabrics to high street stores such as River Island but in the past has worked for Shepperton Studios, providing fabric used to make costumes for the Batman and Captain America movies.
Last year, it dyed lace for a range of underwear made by retail guru Mary Portas for Channel 4 show The Bottom Line.
Mr Heer said: "Because what we do is so unique these sorts of clients tend to find us – we don't go out looking for them. Not that long ago there used to be about 20 dye houses in Leicester and now I think there are around five."
Mr Heer said the business was the last in the UK to carry out "dry finishing" of fabrics used to make items of clothing such as sweatshirts.
He said: "The bulk of what we do is fashion but we do produce material for medical and industrial use."
Mr Heer and Mr Mahal used to work for DK Dyers in St Augustine's Road, Leicester, until 1999 when it went into liquidation and made its 100 employees redundant.
The duo bought the machinery from the liquidated company to set up Digital Dyers.
Mr Heer said clients who had taken their business overseas several years ago were now slowly starting to bring it back to the UK.
He said: "They tended to buy abroad but I think we can see that changing.
"For now it's business as usual but this does give us and our staff more security."
The business is expected to grow its turnover from £1.2 million to £1.5 million this year.
The businessmen purchased their site using a commercial loan from NatWest. The bank's relationship manager, Lee Bredariol, said: "I am proud to have played a part in securing their future success."