A successful design and branding agency is already making its mark in Wales after relocating from West Sussex.

Brecon-based Tangent Partnership Ltd. is a design and branding agency, owned and managed by Mary and David Kerfoot. The Welsh Government’s Business Wales service helped the pair with their successful relocation to Wales, and thanks to further tendering support, has enabled them to win a number of significant contracts in the local market.

  • Relationship Management support to relocate to Wales
  • tendering advice on Sell2Wales and submitting tenders
  • a £70,000 contract won with Swansea Council and the Welsh Government’s Targeted Regeneration Investment programme

Introduction to business

With over 40 years’ industry experience, designers Mary and David Kerfoot launched Tangent Partnership Ltd in 2000. Tangent is a design and branding agency, providing excellent, reasonably priced design consultancy to private and public sector organisations across Wales, the UK and Europe.

The business specialises in brand and interior design for the hospitality industry, ranging from start-ups to large, international companies.

Why did you decide to relocate your business to Wales?

Our company director and lead interior designer Mary Kerfoot was born and grew up in Swansea. She has very fond memories of Swansea Market, particularly from when she attended the nearby former Oxford Street School, lunching on cockles and Welsh cakes. There is a Welsh word ‘hiraeth’ meaning a longing for one’s homeland, but it is not mere homesickness. It is an expression of the bond one feels when they are away from it.

In 1989 and 1990, we took a year out to travel the world, partially to check that we were living in the country best suited to us. We found places that we loved, but could not work in, and we also found the opposite, but nothing was perfect, so we returned to the UK. Then, in 2016, Mary’s ‘hiraeth’ kicked in hard and as I was happy to agree, here we are. We now run the design studio from Defynnog near Brecon and have a sales office in London.

Business Wales support

In 2018, Mary and David got in touch with Business Wales Relationship Manager, Steve Maggs, via the Federation of Small Businesses, as they were looking to relocate their home and office base from England to Powys. In the months before their move, Business Wales ensured Mary and David were familiar with the business support scene in Wales. Once they’d relocated, Steve undertook a general review of the business and established their aspirations and aims, explaining initiatives such as the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan, the Economic Contract, the various Growth Deals across Wales, as well as specific Mid Wales programmes such as Targeted Regeneration Investment. A specialist Business Wales Tendering Adviser, Guto Carrod, provided assistance on using the Sell2Wales platform and helped with Tangent’s tenders for local contracts.

As a result, The Tangent Partnership engaged with a Business Wales client, RW Evans & Son, to work on a multidisciplinary project including design, branding and consultancy ahead of opening a new retail outlet in Brecon. Additionally, following a Sell2Wales opportunity, David and Mary were able to win a £70,000 contract via Swansea Council and the Welsh Government’s TRI programme to work with the Council, traders and the public to transform and remodel the casual trading area of Swansea Market.

Outcomes

  • Relationship Management support to relocate to Wales
  • tendering advice with Sell2Wales and submitting tenders
  • a £70,000 contract won with Swansea Council and the Welsh Government’s Targeted Regeneration Investment programme

We were introduced to Steve Maggs by the FSB and Powys County Council. Steve came to meet us in April 2019 to get an overview and feeling for the business. He put us in touch with our Tendering Adviser Guto Carrod, as well as Superfast Business Wales for a website review.

Guto has been instrumental in helping us get ‘tender ready’. He introduced us to Sell2Wales and helped us with advice and paperwork when we had identified projects that we felt were right for us. We already had the skills and experience to handle the work itself, but getting to that point was Guto’s contribution. We passed the Superfast Business Wales website review with flying colours, although we got a few helpful hints and the experience was both useful and fun. We also attended workshops on social media and cyber security. Along with the training, these events are always good to make local contacts, with both clients and suppliers.

We recently won a tender with Swansea Council to re-imagine the Central Casual Area of Swansea Market. The upgrade is mainly about creating a multi-use, communal area for seating, meeting, greeting, eating and events. Without Business Wales, we would not have been aware of the project.

Future plans and ambitions

This year has been quite a year. We won a number of prestigious awards including “Design Agency of the Year for Cardiff & South Wales” at the Corporate LiveWire Prestige Awards 2020 and “Best Multidisciplinary Hospitality & Retail Design Agency – Europe” at the SME News 2020 UK Enterprise Awards.

What we are hoping to achieve in the future is to retain our existing clients (we have so far retained about 90%) and to expand our client roster to include larger private and public sector organisations.

We want to continue to develop our digital offer including our website, social media, SEO and mobile apps, as well as update our hardware and networks. We want to create networking relationships with organisations further afield but due to the pandemic, we have only been able to manage this locally here in South Wales.

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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