On the up · 1 August 2018

Yorkshire Day 2018: Why these business owners wouldn’t want to trade anywhere else

Yorkshire Day – August 1 2018

Known for their humour, honesty and Yorkshire puddings, this Northern region of England welcomes in the month by celebrating their annual day. Yorkshire Day, 1 August, is in full swing and these local businesses have a thing or two to say about why trading in the beautiful countryside rivals all regions.

Fat Lad At The Back

This cycle and sportswear brand makes gear for all sizes because all sizes of people do sport. Richard and Lynn Bye were inspired by Richard not being able to find any cycle wear to fit. Richard’s nickname amongst his cycling mates was the Fat Lad At The Back.On an Alps cycling trip, it occurred to him that he saw loads of lads of a similar size to him, out cycling and if he couldn’t get kit that fit, neither could they.

What’s the best thing about trading in Yorkshire?

“Having customers in 42 different countries, we could live anywhere and run FLAB but we are both born and bred in Yorkshire and it is a beautiful place to live. Yorkshire people have a brilliant sense of humour, we do stuff our way, we say it how it is and we like that the fact that the water tastes great straight out of the tap.”

Anthology Brewing Company

Musician turned brewer, Liam Kane, runs his own microbrewery which produces an ever-changing range of small batch seasonal beer in Armley, Leeds. The brewery has monthly taproom days where anyone can come along and sample the beers at the source. After his hobby as a home brewer got out of hand, he decided to go for a career change.

What is the best thing about trading in Yorkshire?

“Yorkshire is full of so many great small independent businesses, artists and musicians and presents so many opportunities for collaboration. For instance, I recently brewed a beer with Headrow House using forced Yorkshire rhubarb purchased from Leeds Market, as well as a collaboration with a Leeds based electronic music collective called ‘Nightports’, with a beer launch and gig.

“I’ve been working with accountants Garbutt and Elliott who put on an excellent awards event in York, it was a perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people running their own small businesses as well as enjoying lots of Yorkshire based produce.

“On a daily basis, I’ve met some great people on the same trading estate in Armley, from guitar repairs, motorbike and car workshops to a fabric shop. Being a brewery owner is a good way of making friends!”

Twisted Automotive

A firm specialising in the re-engineering of one of Britain’s most iconic motor vehicles, Land Rover Defenders. Following in his dad’s footsteps, founder Charles Fawcett and his team revamp both new and use Defenders.

What’s the best thing about trading in Yorkshire?

“London would have been the obvious place to set up a company selling an aspirational product that nobody really needs, but that most people find an excuse to try and own.

“If we sat on Saville Row, this business would be ten times the size. But the fact is – I love Yorkshire – I love the people and the views. We are never far from the city but always close to the country.

“Alongside Twisted, there are a number of other local businesses that specialise in 4×4. Ultimately, we’re competitors, but there is a collective spirit and determination to promote the interests of the area to outside investors.

“It’s that collective philosophy of pulling together for the betterment of all of us operating as part of Yorkshire’s economy that will equip us to better compete with other regions, including London.”


In previous jobs John England used to drive a lot, so was used to the peeve of dropping phones, credit cards, money and food, you know name it, down the side of his seat. After never being able to retereieve some of the items England decided to come up with Cabung, a car seat gap filler.

What is the best thing about trading in Yorkshire?

“There is a wealth of enterprising talent in Yorkshire and lots of businesses who like working together to bring new things to market.

“This is something I tapped into with Cabung and I was delighted, being Yorkshire born and bred, that we were able to come up with and manufacture the product in this region.

“I also had fantastic support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme, which helps SMEs to overcome barriers to growth by providing grants towards improvement projects.

“It provided expert advice and guidance on making the brand packaging stand out from the crowd, pricing levels and routes to market, not to mention exploring how we can reduce the manufacturing cost to provide even better value for money for our customers.”

Yee Kwan Ice Cream and Adventures

Yee Kwan began her ice cream business in 2009 after she became inspired by Far East flavours whilst traveling through South East Asia. Yee began exporting her delicious ice creams and sorbets only three years ago but already sells products across

10 European countries, supplying desserts to Japanese-inspired restaurant chain Wagamama.

Yee Kwan came into the spotlight after securing a £50,000 investment on BBC Dragons’ Den after impressing Deborah Meaden.

What is the best thing about trading in Yorkshire?

“I love living and working in Yorkshire. Sheffield is my home and where my roots are, – I have a fantastic team that support me, they are creative and inspirational.

“And it is easy for me to hop on a train to London if I need to meet people there. I began my business here, it is a supportive environment with local businesses helping each other to blossom and succeed.”

Maxwell Scott

William Scott Forshaw began by selling Italian briefcases to businessmen on their lunch breaks, he then started dispatching from his living room. He developed the business online and moved back to Yorkshire seven years ago to build a HQ for Maxwell Scott.

The luxury leather brand based in York, North Yorkshire, sells Italian-crafted full grain leather bags and accessories, aiming to create investment pieces to treasure for years in order to defy the current fast fashion culture.

What’s the best thing about trading in Yorkshire?

“Yorkshire is an incredibly spirited and business-driven area. The people are grafters and you find that the communities you find yourself in are friendly and willing to help you out.

“With its beautiful green countryside, it’s an inspirational place to be when it comes to designing new collections and infusing a sense of British-ness into the Maxwell Scott brand. York especially offers incredible history and rich culture – it’s hard not to be influenced by it.”

OTTY Sleep

As a keen martial artist and young entrepreneur, Michal Szlas understood the benefits a good night’s sleep has on both physical and mental wellbeing. On the hunt for a good mattress, Szlas faced high prices and false marketing promises, so he set about positively changing the sector.

Leeds-based online bed-in-a-box retailer, OTTY Sleep, has developed an award winning product which is priced up to £150 less than their nearest competitor.

What’s the best thing about trading in Yorkshire?

“Yorkshire is not only central to the whole of the UK, but it also provides a much better standard of living. Rent is cheap, people are nice, there are plenty of great cities, and more importantly, it doesn’t hinder our level of service. I really can’t imagine our headquarters being anywhere else!”

Arras Restaurant

Originally set up in Sydney Australia and now located in York, this small independent restaurant came from a desire to offer the Sydney public and latterly the diners of York delicious food and fine wine. Founders Adam and Lovaine Humphrey wanted to create a restaurant that they wanted to eat in, where the oft-forgotten little things are done right.

What’s the best thing about trading in Yorkshire? 

“The best thing about trading in Yorkshire is the loyalty of your customers. Yorkshire folk are not fickle, they’ll tell you if they don’t like something and equally if they do. I think that’s really important, you can then choose to act on it if it’s viable. Yorkshire has great suppliers and raw ingredients also which are a pleasure to work with. Yorkshire is still my favourite place on earth, why would you not want to have a business here?”

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Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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