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The small company building big consumer brands

KMI Brands has an eye for a bestseller. The brand builder creates and distributes products on behalf of clients, such as fashion houses Ted Baker and Orla Kiely, and incubates its own ranges from scratch.

It takes significant time and money to get a new product from idea to shelf, so it has to back winners. In the last 12 months, managing director Rachel Parsonage estimates that around 20 brands – from household names to rising stars – have approached KMI seeking a partnership.

It pays to be focused: “In 2009, we had 16 brands and a turnover of £9m, and now we have six brands that generate £16m in revenue,” she explains. “Sometimes you have to let go of the good to focus on the great.”

The firm, which is based in Teddington, South West London, has been solely targeting customers in the UK since its creation in 1993. But that is all changing now. “Back in 2015, less than 2pc of the business was international,” says Parsonage. “This year we may generate 20pc of sales from markets around the world.

“The company has expanded into 12 overseas markets in the last 12 months”, she adds.