AA Flags, in Consett, looks to build on success

The Northern Echo: Mandy Scott, founder of AA Flags, in Consett Mandy Scott, founder of AA Flags, in Consett

A FLAGMAKER behind colourful displays for Royal family celebrations and international sporting spectacles is aiming for further growth after another successful year.

AA Flags, in Consett, County Durham, makes flags used on The Mall, in London, which are seen by millions of people around the world during Royal occasions.

The company's decorations also adorn Wembley Stadium's pitch and stands, and has made St George flags for England's Twickenham rugby union base.

The firm, founded by Mandy Scott in 1992, operates from South Industrial Estate, carrying out work for hotels and corporate clients, and it is a favourite with football fans showcasing their team colours and the Ministry of Defence.

Last year, the company played a key role in the London Olympic Games and the Queen's diamond jubilee, with Mandy targeting the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games as a platform to further bolster its position.

Mandy founded AA Flags, which employs 13 women, after being made redundant at a flag pole maker, and started working from her dining room table with a sewing machine, a type writer and telephone.

Earlier this month, she was awarded a Natwest Everywoman Award, with judges hailing her as an inspirational and successful female entrepreneur running a business in a rural location.

She said: “When I was made redundant, I started off at home with £500 borrowed from my dad and just started ringing around contacts.

“I loved my previous jobs and loved the industry and knew there were markets I could target.

“When you are making flagpoles, they are designed to last a long time, but flags need to be replaced after a while.

“Gradually, we got bigger and converted the cellar in the house as a little workshop, before I moved into a big Victorian house, and worked on the top two floors and lived on the bottom two.

“We get a lot of varied work, the Royal family side is really nice to have, but we also have the national flags and do work for golf clubs and councils.

“We also do a lot of corporate work for companies who, when entertaining guests, want flags from their countries to welcome them.

“We have made St George flags for Twickenham and have a really good relationship with the Football Association too.

“The award is nice recognition, and it's for the girls who do fantastic work and are so loyal.”

Mandy said her company, which also uses its sewing skills to work on curtain alterations, caravan awning repairs and fancy dress costumes, is a real example of the strength of North-East industry.

She added: “The Government seem to think there is nothing north of Manchester, and when it comes to industry, it feels like they think we are part of Scotland and we are fighting for recognition.

“But there is a large manufacturing base in the North-East and we have the workers, the skills and the machinery right here.”

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