A SOUTH Lakeland firm is making its mark on the business world after expanding to help cope with an increasing workload.

Coniston Corporate Embroidery Ltd has taken on extra staff and moved to larger premises as the word has spread far and wide about its service.

The firm, which embroiders logos on to all kinds of work, leisure and sportswear clothing, relocated to two converted squash courts on the eastern side of Coniston Water because it needed more office and workshop space.

Managing director Paul Riley said the move, partially funded with a grant from Rural Regeneration Cumbria, had enabled the firm to grow and it now operates eight single-head sewing machines and a four-head machine.

Two new full-time jobs have been created and another member of staff's hours have been increased so far this year, taking the total number of people working in the business to seven.

Coniston Corporate has more than 1,000 active accounts at present, and the business has grown by 20 per cent, year-on-year, since being formed five years ago.

Clients range from big-name Lake District visitor attractions and hotel groups, through schools and universities, to an oil company and even prisons.

Local authorities as far away as Islington and Richmond-upon-Thames are also on the firm's books, together with leading national suppliers of workwear to the construction industry nationally.

Mr Riley told Business Gazette that close attention to customer service was one of the secrets behind the firm's success.

"We are as excited to get an order for one sweatshirt as we are for an order for a thousand because ultimately it's one person who is going to be satisfied with what we have done. Hopefully, they will spread the word that we do a good job."

It's a policy that appears to be paying off, with many clients placing repeat orders as well as recommending Coniston Corporate to others.

Orders come in daily from all over the country, and the firm's website (www.corporate-embroidery.co.uk) has given it a shop window to a wider customer base.

While some expressed surprise that the business operated from such a rural area, Mr Riley said the firm's location made little difference to clients. "People don't care where you are based as long as you are good to your word. If your samples get there the next day and your order is there on time, then that's all that matters."

The idea for Coniston Corporate sprang from a former business, Coniston Woollen Mill, run by Paul's father, Colin Riley. The firm did embroidery work as a sideline, but Paul took over that part of the operation and has developed it to such an extent that his father now works for him.

Colin said whether a business was large or small, it increasingly wanted to present a corporate image to customers, and one example was staff wearing shirts bearing the company's logo.

"We can give them a professional appearance, whether they have three staff or 50 to 60 staff, and that is valued by small businesses," said Mr Riley senior.

As well as an embroidery service, the business has branched out by offering a wide range of promotional merchandise and has now started selling first aid kits for the workplace.