Yorkshire T-shirt company provides a tonic for troops

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A COMPANY which personalises tour T-shirts for the British 
military in Iraq and Afghanistan is investing in new machinery and expanding overseas after more than doubling the size of the business over the last five years.

Banana Moon Workshop, which customises clothes such as hoodies and t shirts by printing and embroidering at its headquarters in Birstall, West Yorkshire, has doubled turnover to £1.8m and grown staff numbers from eight to 22 since 2009.

It is now planning to invest a further £100,000 in new 
embroidery and print 
machines to further improve its efficiency.

It bought its first automatic screen printing machine last year, which enabled it to increase production from between 50 and 100 printed t shirts an hour to 1,000. But now it wants to upgrade again.

Marketing manager Alex Grace said: “The automatic machine has made a huge difference to our turnaround times and it has allowed us to pass on cost savings to our customers.

“We are looking to invest in more equipment - bigger more efficient machines either alongside or instead of what we have got.”

The company receives about 1,000 orders a month and prints on branded clothing from American Apparel, Nike and Adidas among others.

Tour of duty memorabilia for the Armed forces accounts for around 30 per cent of the business, with personalised hoodies, t shirts and exercise gear, going all over the world, including naval ships.

In recent years, troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in particular have proved to be a regular revenue stream.

“These people are often away for long periods of time on particular operations,” Mr Grace said. “They want to remember that time with an item of clothing to wear when they return. The clothes often have lots of personalisation on them such as a flag, the name of their regiment and the names of everyone they were with.”

He added: “For the troops in war zones it has provided a big morale booster and designing the personalised clothes has given them something else to focus on.”

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