Today the company employs 85 people, occupies 55,000 square feet of office/distribution space and turns over nearly £30 million per year, while trading with most major stores in the UK.
And it all started with an investment of just £6,000 each from founding partners Tim Dawson and the late David Parsons.
TDP specialises in licensed children’s underwear and nightwear and has recently branched out into men’s licensed underwear nightwear and T-shirts.
Tim Dawson, MD explains: “Our move into licensed goods was around 15 years ago and was a key part of our development. Today around 90 per cent of our goods are licensed.”
The children’s apparel and nightwear range has been the firm’s staple line to date, with over 50 licences currently in its portfolio. In fact, the majority of key properties in the children’s market have some kind of apparel or nightwear attached to them. But why is this sector so successful?
Dawson explains: “Licensed apparel is so powerful at retail for kids because it taps into the child’s lifestyle and everyday activities. It is an extension of their play and viewing habits into their daytime or bedtime clothing.”
He continues to explain how a brand can prosper in the licensed sector and the elements that are necessary to product a hit: “For us, for a brand to be successful it must have the obvious kid appeal, normally significant television exposure and a wow factor. You also cannot escape from the significant amount of gut instinct that comes into play.”
Dawson went on to clarify how TDP has added to these brands to create successful products: “We invest heavily in design so that licensors will trust us with their brands and so our customers benefit from the sales opportunity that licensing delivers.”
The move into adult male apparel has proved a success so far and last year earned the company a place on the finalist list at the Licensing Awards’ best adult licensed apparel category with the Plain Lazy Nightwear and Underwear range.
The success so far could see the firm grow the category further, as Dawson explains: “Logically a move into offering ladies underwear and nightwear will come in due course.”
To date, TDP works with a range of the key High Street retailers including Asda, Mothercare, Tesco, BHS, Matalan, Next, Dunnes Stores, TU Clothing (Sainsburys) and many more. One of its key accounts, however, is now missing from the list causing some difficulties for the company.
“The last year has been a challenge with the demise of Woolworths,” says Dawson. “However we are experiencing strong demand for our products and expect the coming year to be successful if a little difficult. We see it as a year for consolidation and a year to exploit our classic brands.”