An innovative Kent-based manufacturing firm is set for growth after relocating to new premises and gaining Royal Warrant by appointment of HM the Queen for its unique security products.
Versapak International Ltd, based on Veridion Way in Erith, was established more than 40 years ago by entrepreneur Ian Anderson and his wife Anne.
After an eclectic career path ranging from ski-instructing to managing a music band, Ian spotted a gap in the market for a range of security and mail packages designed to transfer sensitive items and documents safely and securely.
The brand’s hero product, the Versapak secure mailing pouch, quickly grew to become a market leader and is widely accepted by postal systems and courier companies worldwide. Following its success, the business diversified into other security and mailing products, including tamper evident bags, cash in transit bags, medical products for transporting blood and organs and mailroom furniture.
Versapak is also one of just two companies in the world to produce anti-doping kits for the sporting industry, and supplies its products to major sporting federations across the globe.
In order to grow the business further and move its existing two offices under one roof, Ian secured a six-figure loan from his banking partner, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. The funding allowed him to purchase the business’ new headquarters and refurbish them ahead of moving his 35-strong UK team to the new location.
In addition to a solid customer base of national blue chip firms, the business also supplies mailing and security products to the Royal Household, and following its relocation to larger premises, was granted the prestigious Royal Warrant by appointment of HM the Queen.
Ian said: “This has been a fantastic year for Versapak. Relocating to new premises has been a brilliant move for the business because it has enabled us to become a lot more efficient in handling and shipping our products, which is particularly important given we now distribute to so many different countries.
“The Royal Warrant is such an honour for us and we feel incredibly proud to have achieved such an important stamp of approval. Not only is it such a prestigious recognition for the business, but it has also significantly helped us in exporting, particularly in the USA where the demand for authentic British products is so high.”
Ian is currently working with UK Trade & Investment to develop plans for exporting more of Versapak’s medical products overseas and the business is also developing new blood and urine anti-doping kits to market to the sports industry.
Paul Green, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Working with an organisation like Versapak has got to be one of the most rewarding elements of my job. Business owners like Ian are proof that true entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well within the UK and I have been so impressed with his constant innovation and determination.
“Supporting growing businesses is something that we are passionate about as a bank and we constantly strive to develop strong working relationships with all of our customers. We have a vast range of support options available to SMEs looking to expand, including the Lloyds Funding for Lending scheme, under which all of our customers get a one per cent discount for the life of their loans.”
Ian added: “I can’t thank Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking enough for their support over the years. Without the sound guidance from the relationship team and their considerable investment in the business, we would have struggled to make our plans a reality. Thankfully, we now have a very bright future ahead of us and we are excited to drive the business forward over the coming months.”