25 years and still counting

Roy Burton, CEO, at a trade show back in the day

2020 marks a special year for the team at YES Ltd, for they will be celebrating a quarter of a century of serving the embroidery, and more recently, the print industry. Here Roy Burton, CEO, shares his memories and what he is most looking forward to in the future.

In these here today, gone tomorrow, throw away days we live in, celebrating a 25th anniversary is quite a story. In that quarter of a century, I have personally witnessed the company grow from a make shift office in my own home, to a multi-million-pound international supplier and developer of machinery.

The story began on St. Valentine’s day 1995 when I walked downstairs at home to settle into my small office and wait for the phone to ring. For those of you that knew me back then, won’t believe that I waited for it to ring, rather that I willed it to ring.

In those days I sold only two things – advice and used embroidery machinery, with the latter proving to be the most profitable. Many an evening was spent with both myself and my wife up to our elbows in oil and grease refurbishing a machine.

Many changes

Since those heady days the company has gone through many changes and taken on many differing product lines. Possibly the most important one though was the acquisition of the distribution rights for SWF embroidery machines back in 1997. SWF was little known in those days but it was destined to become a world leading supplier of this type of equipment. Still to this day it is the only manufacturer to produce an embroidery machine that can embroider two different patterns and/ or products at the same time.

YES Ltd became a distributor of SWF in 1997

As the team grew, we didn’t just accept success. We actively drove it, ensuring that we always had a solid base from which to support our customers. I wasn’t, for instance, content with just selling machinery. I felt it was only right to be involved in the development side of the action, for after all, who better to represent embroiderers than a company which has more years of experience in the industry than any other UK supplier.

It was this interest in development that led to us to get involved in advancing, what was then a brand-new technology, direct to garment printing. The outcome of this, as we all now know, was the industry leading DTG Digital machine which we included in our range round about 2006. These are the only machines on the market that use white ink management system (WIMS) and IQ Interweave, both of which reduce cost and increase productivity. Since the introduction of the first DTG Digital machines this range of capital equipment has included many ground-breaking features that have become a standard part of the technique.

As well, taking on distributorships for many different products over the years, I have been lucky enough to work alongside my son John-Paul for the last 21 years. Known to most as JP, he joined the business in 1998 and has a real passion for what he does.

Major milestone

One major milestone for YES Ltd that I excitedly look back on is the official opening of our new Mansfield-based purpose designed headquarters in December 2016. The day was a very special one, for in attendance was not only our longest serving employee Steve Gilbert, but also Trevor Darnborough, who was the first person I sold a used embroidery machine to. He was also the first person to buy an SWF machine when we introduced them to the UK market. Sovereign House, as it is known, measures 20,000sq ft and allowed us to more than double in size. It provides us with three showrooms dedicated to embroidery, label printing and DTG printing, as well as an onsite warehouse and development facilities.

I must say, it certainly is a marked improvement upon my small office 25 years ago!

Roy Burton pictured at Printwear & Promotion LIVE! in 2019

I feel that one of the key reasons for the success of YES Ltd is the commitment we show to service and to our customers. The ground rules for service and support are the same today as they were when I first started the business back in 1995. Nowadays though there are more people to deliver them. The ethos that was developed in those early days has stayed at the root of the company. We expect first class service from our suppliers so it is only right that we supply the same to our clientele. Quality, service and value for money from the tripodic support of this company which is, in turn, reflected in the way we support our customers.

It really is difficult for me to believe that next month we will celebrate our 25th anniversary. Time has just flown by and it only seems like yesterday that we were a startup business. Here’s to the next 25.

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