HR · 22 October 2015

Five British family businesses to take inspiration from

A Royal warrant has been excellent marketing for CorgI Hosiery  a long-established family firm
A Royal warrant has been excellent marketing for CorgI Hosiery founded in 1892 and still kept in the family today
We spoke to five very different family businesses from an established firm with a Royal warrant, to a new Welsh chocolate factory welcoming droves of tourists, to find out what sets them apart.

You may have heard of RJ Balson a butcher’s shop based in Bridport, Dorset, that recently celebrated its 500th anniversary, with experts declaring it the oldest family company in Britain.

It has weathered the reformation, English Civil War, as well as the start of the Industrial Revolution and waves of recessions. Add in the fact around 240, 000 UK firms collapse each year, and it’s clear that’s quite the achievement.

A recent survey found the overwhelming majority (97 per cent) of business owners wanted their children to follow suit into the family firm, but few could imagine leaving the legacy RJ Balson has managed to.

It is this desire to create a legacy rather than just make money which is often cited as the reason for success of so many family firms.

Mark Hastings, director general of the Institute for Family Business (IFB) said family businesses are the backbone of the economy, and the bedrock of our communities. It’s no coincidence, he feels, that many have been operating for hundreds of years.

their longevity and enduring success are testament to their innovative and long-term outlook, he explained. Such businesses don’t just survive, but also thrive over generations, by planning ahead and cultivating a ‘sustainable outlook, whilst still adapting to stay relevant to the modern world.

they run over 1.1trn in the UK each year and growth in the sector brings benefits to the whole UK economy, Hastings explained.

With that in mind, here are five inspiring family firms from the established namesto young newcomers, which have differentiated themselves for a numberof reasons.

(1) Spice Kitchen

Sanjay with mother Shashi
Sanjay with mother Shashi
Sanjay Aggarwal set up his Birmingham-based business on eBay in 2013, initially as a way to keep his retired mother and father busy. Aggarwal thought the online food firm would make the perfect option. His mother creates fresh Indian spices using an antique spice grinder that’s been a family heirloom for over a hundred years, and after taking a picture of her spice tins and putting it on eBay 24 hours later we’d made our first sale.

Aggrawal splits his time between this and his own recruitment business, with the spice ecommerce sitenow selling everything from high quality hand-blended and home-ground artisanal spices and spice blends to high quality wedding favours, cookware, giftware, teas and mulled wine spices.

In fact, their mulled wine was so popular that last Christmas, the family team had to put together 1, 000 units ready to be sent within a week. It’s those kind of moments where we all pull together and I love working in a family business, Aggarwal said.

The combination of utilising family members’ individual expertise and recipes passed down through generations? has meant it’s a family firm in all aspects. The commitment has even extended to totally overhauling the family home to streamline it around production needs of Spice Kitchen so everyone can get involved during busy times.

(2) CorgI Hosiery

A Royal warrant has been excellent marketing for Corgi
A Royal warrant has been excellent marketing for Corgi



Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

Managing Your Fleet