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Family-run outdoor furniture manufacturer tackles coronavirus challenges through diversification and strict lockdown measures.

Based in Colwyn Bay, Mobek is a family-run business, which manufactures and supplies high-quality garden furniture, including a range of products made of 100% recycled plastic. Owners Nadia and Ralph got in touch with the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service for help with their marketing and branding, and received relationship management support with a successful grant application and marketing, as well as business mentoring on sales, distribution and promotion.

Introduction to business

Run by Nadia Becker and husband Ralph, Mobek is a family-run business founded in 1994 and based in Colwyn Bay. The business specialises in the manufacture and supply of high-quality outdoor furniture including traditional wooden garden furniture, greenhouse staging and related products.

With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Mobek have recently become the UK sole distributors of high-end Canadian garden furniture made of recycled plastic.

Business journey

At an exhibition 5 years ago, we came across a recycled plastic Adirondack chair. We were instantly taken in by its quality and the sustainability aspect, so we decided to see if we could add this line to our existing products.

As of late 2019, we have secured the exclusive rights to represent the CRP Brand (Canadian Recycled Plastic Outdoor Furniture) for the UK and Ireland. We see this as a fantastic opportunity to develop and expand our business and refocus our efforts and resources. We would like to transform our present business model from a ‘maker and retailer’ into a distributor of CRP outdoor furniture.

What challenges did you face during the Coronavirus outbreak?

We have been open during the crisis, but on a very limited basis. Our workshop did close for customers and we struggled with the supplies of our wood. Our usual source closed their doors for about 4 weeks due to lockdown, so we had to diversify the products we make. The only way to sell our products was to make use of our websites.

We had a container from Canada booked with more stock, which we had to postpone for a month as we didn't know how the situation with the virus would affect the shipping industry. It is now on the water, hopefully arriving on the 26 May 2020.

What measures have you implemented to tackle the pandemic?

Our main focus was to supply the local customers. We had orders from Residential care homes, where residents needed furniture for their outdoor space, because due to the lockdown they could no longer go out.

We have strict social distancing rules. Payments are taken over the phone and when delivering, we do not come in direct contact with our customers. We have been overwhelmed by the support from local residents. We really appreciate it.

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

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