Alice Rowen Hall and husband Andrew set sights on growth with Rowen Homes

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Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, Alice Rowen Hall is no stranger to building and scaling successful businesses.  Having in eight years gone from selling clothes out of her living room to generating sales in excess of £25 million for former business Pink Boutique. Alice, Andrew and the team are now witnessing similar success with their latest venture Rowen Homes, which in its first 18 months, has achieved top line sales of approximately £6.5 million. A luxury online home store, the business curates and sells next level, glam interiors. Part of the Rowen Group, the business was founded during the pandemic in Aug 2020, alongside husband Andrew and is a real labour of love, driven by the duo’s creative side and passion for all things interiors. The group which initially comprised of three ventures including AllergyBox, Low Kal and Rowen Homes, has now streamlined to focus solely on the latter. This is owing to the significant growth witnessed by the interiors business over the last year and a half. Starting the company with just seven staff, the team has now grown to 28.  And in the next year they are looking to deliver gross sales of £14,000,000 and recruit another 10 members of…

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Nivea launch Eco Deo with Salvalco Eco Valve technology

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Following strong collaboration with brand owner Beiersdorf, UK-based The Salford Valve Company Ltd (Salvalco) is delighted to announce the implementation of its innovative Eco-Valve technology in the first NIVEA Deo products, the NIVEA Naturally Good deodorant range. Nivea is the first global brand to go to market with this environmentally friendly aerosol valve, spearheading this new aerosol technology for the skin care industry. Used specifically within the Nivea’s “Eco Deo” product lines, such as the Naturally Good deodorant range, Eco-Valve replaces the need for hydrocarbon propellants with compressed air and inert gases such as nitrogen, with the benefit of avoiding gases that have a greenhouse effect. Yet it offers all the performance and spray quality of traditional valves. Most significantly, the Eco-Valve technology is allowing brands such as Nivea to meet the rise in consumer demand for more sustainable aerosol solutions to support a more climate-friendly lifestyle. Helping support their sustainability objectives too, the valve is also compatible for use with more natural formulations, giving brands a real opportunity to provide a holistic eco solution for their consumers. With Nivea’s Eco Deo formulation, Beiersdorf is using ingredients of 95% natural origin. With the product assortment hitting the retail shelves across…

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Challenging year but record growth forecast for The Metnor Group

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Consolidated accounts released today by The Metnor Group show a reduction in turnover for 2020 due to the pandemic but record growth is forecast thanks to a strong order pipeline and prestigious new contracts. Based in Newcastle, The Metnor Group comprises three main trading divisions which operate in the construction, mechanical and electrical services and pressure testing sectors. Each division is a specialist in its own field and this individual expertise combined with the strength of the Group’s resources enables the company to deliver first class products and services to their customers and clients. Like many other firms in the construction industry, the effect of COVID-19 has been seen across the Group. The impact of site closures – as provisions were made to operate safely and within Government guidelines – together with additional costs as sites were re-mobilised at reduced capacity, has resulted in both decreased turnover and margins.  Turnover achieved in 2019 was £92 million whilst it was £68 million in 2020 and gross profit has been squeezed from 8.5% to 5.7%. Chris Cant, CEO of Metnor Group said: “2020 was undoubtedly a very challenging year for the Metnor Group. The pandemic threw a number of challenges at us,…

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Norstead sets sights on record revenue as it celebrates 50th anniversary

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Norstead, part of the Newcastle based Metnor Group, is celebrating being well on their way to record revenues and prestigious new client wins as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Norstead was established in 1971 and specialises in the design and installation of mechanical and electrical services in a number of commercial and industrial sectors. Part of the Metnor Group, the firm has the experience and financial stability to carry out multiple contracts with a typical individual project value of up to £30 million.  Despite the challenges of the pandemic yielding tough results, turnover for Norstead is forecast to reach £40m in 2022, expanding from a turnover of £23.5m in 2019. They have recently relocated into Metnor House, in Newcastle upon Tyne as part of their collaboration with sister company Metnor Construction, with another office in Maidenhead, Norstead lists some of the UK’s best-known companies as clients. The firm plans to secure new offices in Maidenhead later this year and create up to 10 new roles to support its ambitious expansion plans and bolster their engineering and commercial teams. Recently completed and current projects in the pipeline include the development of the White Room at the British Museum, the critical care…

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Drayton Group eyes up UK and international expansion as it celebrates its 10th anniversary with plans to open new offices

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Newcastle based recruitment group, Drayton, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with plans to open new UK offices and has recruited a number of new hires due to increased demand. The firm is also eyeing up expansion in overseas markets. Drayton was established in 2010 by Rob Seery and Ian Pickett and specialises in bespoke recruitment solutions for industry categories including Food & Drink, Apparel & Footwear, Beauty, Leisure, Homewares and Retail. With a catalogue of well-known brands on their client list, they include amongst others, Amazon, Birds Eye, Helly Hanson, Ginsters, Birkenstock, Greggs, Quorn, and The Lakes Distillery. Now 10 years on, Drayton has grown consistently, assisted in 2018 by the launch of a subsidiary business, Alexander Steele, based in Edinburgh. The group now employs 20 people and has offices in London, Edinburgh and Newcastle. Their new Manchester office opens in June. By 2025 Drayton aspires to be a 50 person business. The majority of Drayton’s business has always been in the UK, but now over a third is international. This success will likely lead to future office expansion in North America or Europe. The original Drayton business delivers Board level appointments. Alexander Steele, led by Managing Director Richard Steele,…

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Salvalco celebrate Eco-Valve product launch in Europe with Rossmann

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It’s been an incredibly busy few months for Salvalco with the launch of their new and highly innovative Eco-Valve technology across the global aerosol market. And with engagement and interest in the valve continuing to grow, the team are delighted to be able to share some very exciting news that sees the first product reference of the valve on the market and hitting retail shelves. As from April 2021, Eco-Valve technology has been adopted for use by major European brand Rossmann to be used within their own brand deodorant ‘Alterra’ and to support the product’s launch. Rossmann are the first major brand in Europe to take advantage of Eco-Valve’s innovative technology which uses environmentally friendly nitrogen propellant. And now officially on the shelves, the deodorant is being enjoyed by their many customers across the world. As one of the largest drug store chains in Europe, Rossmann operate in Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Albania, Kosovo, Spain and Turkey with over 4000 stores and a £10 billion turnover. The company were keen to utilise the benefits of the Eco-Valve technology to  respond to the rising demand from their customers for more sustainable aerosol solutions to support a healthier lifestyle.  The…

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Double director promotion announced at Metnor Group’s Norstead division 

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Norstead, part of the Newcastle based Metnor Group, is delighted to announce the promotion of Dan Hopkins to Operations Director and Jonathan Grant to Commercial Director. These key promotions support Norstead’s ambitious plans for growth, demonstrating its commitment to investing in talent and expanding the business on the back of a number of new client wins. The firm has also recently welcomed three new recruits to bolster their operational and commercial teams. Norstead was established in 1971 and specialises in the design and installation of mechanical and electrical services in a number of commercial and industrial sectors. Part of the Metnor Group, the firm has the experience and financial stability to carry out multiple contracts with a typical individual project value of up to £30 million.  Despite the challenges of the pandemic, turnover for Norstead is forecast to reach £40m in 2022. Based at Balliol Park in Newcastle upon Tyne, with another office in Maidenhead, Norstead lists some of the UK’s best known companies as clients. Recently completed and current projects in the pipeline include the development of the White Wing at the British Museum, the critical care unit at Chelsea and Westminster hospital and a new Emergency Department at Darent Valley hospital. Other projects include an exclusive residential development on Oxford Street in London, a new Hyatt hotel…

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Writer of one of The Times ‘Books of the Year’ pens first book written in Geordie dialect

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Chris Rickaby, writer of one of this year’s The Times ‘Books of the Year’ has recently brought out, Billy Quiz and the Mission to Mars, published by One Word Press, as a homage to his childhood growing up in Newcastle in the 1970s. It’s the tale of sixteen-year-old Billy Agnew – better known as Billy Quiz. During the long hot summer of 1976, Billy Quiz is wrestling with a lot of questions. He’s also being terrorised by two skinheads. As he helps his dad deliver post around a tough estate in Newcastle, letters begin to appear addressed to a district of Vienna that does not exist. They lead to a mysterious Jewish woman who has a disturbing story to tell. Can she provide Billy with the answers he’s looking for? After conducting his own research, Chris believes Billy Quiz is the only ‘first person’ novel written in the Geordie vernacular, offering a fine balance of dialect whilst still being accessible to readers around the world. There’s also a glossary at the back for those readers not familiar with words such as ‘canny’, deek’, ‘bairn’ and ‘hoy’! Chris Rickaby says: “There are lots of great novels set in Newcastle, especially thrillers, and when I was young there were Scott Dobson’s brilliant Larn Yersel’ Geordie books, and, more recently, Jonathan Tulloch’s The Season Ticket but, so…

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Salvalco welcomes investment from leading skin care brand owner Beiersdorf

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Yorkshire based Salford Valve Company Ltd (Salvalco) is delighted to announce an investment from Beiersdorf, a leading provider of innovative, high quality skin care products, including brands such as NIVEA, Eucerin and La Prairie. The collaboration comes as Salvalco launches its innovative Eco-Valve aerosol valve that uses ecologically sustainable propellants. The equity investment from Beiersdorf’s venture platform, OSCAR&PAUL Beiersdorf Venture Capital, underlines the company’s ambition in driving sustainable innovations under its new sustainability agenda and C.A.R.E.+ corporate strategy. The partnership will support Salvalco’s further research and commercialisation of the patented Eco-Valve technology across the global aerosol industry while strengthening Beiersdorf’s footprint in sustainable packaging solutions. Founded in 2013, Salvalco develops innovative valve systems, called Eco-Valve, based on prior research by the Spray Research Group at Salford University. The Eco-Valve technology allows eco-friendly inert gases such as nitrogen or simple fresh air to be used as propellants in aerosol sprays, thus enabling a more sustainable and safer alternative to conventional aerosol propellants. Salvalco also provides a family of different valve designs that can be used across a range of product viscosities and product types covering over 85% of aerosol applications across most industry sectors. Salvalco Eco-Valves can be used on existing…

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Lindisfarne Festival celebrates 5th successful event

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Beal Farm in Northumberland played host this weekend (29th Aug -1st Sep) to the 5th Lindisfarne Festival which has been hailed a huge success by organisers and festival goers, quite literally raising the roof on the previous 4 festivals with a huge 4,500 in attendance. And plans are now underway for 2020 with the impending launch of a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the event’s future.   Over 200 acts across 10 stages including Friday and Saturday headliners Peter Doherty and the Puta Madres, Ocean Colour Scene and local folk stars Lindisfarne saw the event take off … with high winds adding to the event’s wild revelry and forcing a small temporary closure of the mainstage while safety checks were undertaken.   But the show went on with the 3 -day over 18’s camping festival proving a huge hit once again with festivalgoers, hailing it “A great festival in unrivalled scenery full of happy people”, “the best one yet”, “an absolutely fantastic weekend”, “the most easy going and friendliest festival we’ve been too” and “a permanent fixture on the calendar!”   Conleth Maenpaa, Founder of Lindisfarne Festival commented; “We are buzzing by the response we have had to Lindisfarne Festival 2019!…

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