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Hello and welcome to TUFFSHOP 2023We all start somewhere…and every great business has a story. This is ours.
Now a major player in the safety and printed workwear industry, we often get asked where it all started.
You won’t be surprised to find out it was very small affair.
A one bedroom flat above a chemist’s shop in Wakefield Yorkshire in 2011.
You could say that’s where we were born and yes, we’re very proud of our more than humble beginnings.
When Tim Banks our founder and MD was made redundant from his job, after gathering himself together he came up with the name and the idea. But now needed customers.
So calling local companies asking if they wanted, needed or had thought of branded embroidered and printed clothing. The story began.
Thankfully a few said yes – and his new but tiny business had left the station.
In those early days he’d buy the stock from the wholesalers then run across town to another firm to get the embroidery done. Making enough to just get by but more than that, igniting a spark as to what actually may one day be for this new but exhausting venture.
He soon found himself as most new company owners do working 18 hours a day then then realising, he needed to take the big step all companies have to take at some time.
Saying YES to the first employee.
That came in the shape of a bright young kid of 17 with an eye for design. A work ethic, a sense of humour and the will to make good. Bob Lodge from Barnsley.
Tim often says you never forget the first person you set on, and he had found a Godsend. Along with the first TUFFSHOP embroidery machine the first bit of company kit for Bob to switch on.
Bob, Tim and the new machine started getting busier so they all moved into an old unused double garage close to the flat. They re-fronted it with some double glazing, knocked down the middle wall and found themselves standing in what turned out to be the very first shop.
They’ll tell you to this day how that felt for both of them. Excitement mostly – but with a little twinge of OMG!
4 more embroidery machines quickly followed along with the first printer for printing clothing.
The loft had to be converted making the garage more like a little factory. Things had really started to move and customers from all over the UK asked for help online, bought online or turned up to be served personally in the shop.
Fast forward 3 years and Tim's wife Kirsty noticed a bookies were closing down in the heart of Woodlesford near Leeds.
The position was perfect. Right next to a pub where the builders would go after work. A car garage the other side and would you believe it even had butty shop in the middle.
Many more embroidery machines and printers were invested in and then even that building was too small to accommodate everyone’s ambition. So they moved the printing facilities to an old joiners shop over the road to extend the operation even further.
TUFFSHOP as you know it now was beginning to form.
Ask Tim about the early years of the business and he’ll always tell you how he felt when they got that first £15,000 order on the phone in the little flat. Then the realisation the job had to be out on time and on quality – in 2 weeks! Working shifts with Bob they pulled it off. One man at the machine. One man sleeping for 4 hours until the job was completed. They high fived as they got more orders by recommendation and fast created a reputation. A brand of their own.
He’d also most likely let you know about the morning the first £80 internet order that came in from the website. How he called his wife with the news. ‘’If we’ve got one sale there, we can get a thousand!’’
Thousands actually as it turned out. And continuing to grow.
The latest chapter for TUFFSHOP has just arrived post the Covid19. Pandemic.
Now sourcing the worlds most advanced and innovative safety measures and of course being the #1 supplier of all branded workwear and more. A lot more.
Tim will always be the first to say he’s been so lucky with staff. It’s people who’ve given customers the service and the care. Not a brand name or a logo.
There are now 20 brilliant people with us. All eager to be the best in the industry. Just like Bob.
Having recently received planning permission for a massive 700 Square metre former cinema TUFFSHOP can continue its growth and it’s ambition into another chapter. Never forgetting the little flat above the chemist’s shop.
But always looking to the future and here to be the best, here not for money, but to help, just like they have been since the very beginning, in the tiny flat in Wakefield.
Thank you for reading. It means a lot.
How can we help you and your business?
TO SPEAK TO US ABOUT BRANDED or PLAIN WORKWEAR Click here.
Trust Tuffshop For the Toughest Workwear that will last!The team here at Tuffshop are committed to providing the very best in tuff workwear, PPE (personal protective equipment) and safety wear. With many years of experience in the clothing industry, we've learned a lot about what our customers want, and have based our philosophy around this knowledge.
Whether you're buying a regular t-shirt, a pair of work boots or a range of workwear to kit out your whole workforce, you want a reliable service from people you can trust - and this high level of customer service is what we continually strive to achieve.
Quality PPE and safety wear to suit your budgetOur workwear has been selected from a variety of manufacturers to ensure that the products we offer are hard wearing, stylish and easy on the pocket - but with no compromise on quality. We know that when you select PPE and safety wear for your business or personal protection that you want something affordable, but that won't need replacing every few months.
We always make sure that we have something to suit everyone; from well known tuff workwear brands such as Dewalt Workwear ,Blaklader Workwear , Snickers Workwear & Helly Hansen Workwear to more simple, generic items like Uneek Clothing items that are perfect for embroidering or printing with your own company's branding.
FREE logo set-up on all our tuff workwear, PPE and safety wearWhile you want your tuff workwear to be fit for purpose and to do its job, it can also help to highlight your business brand, making it clearly visible when going about your day to day matters.
That's why we provide a quality print and embroidery service, allowing you to choose your official logo, motif or text and have this added and displayed on your work shirts,polos,hoodies and jackets. Simply choose your clothing or workwear items and then send us a picture or the text you want us to add and we'll take care of the rest – and to save you money on the conversion costs, we’ll set up your logo or image ready for printing or embroidery at no extra charge to you!
All we require is for you to send a picture via an attachment, online link, by post, from a company flyer or even a picture text message – and we’ll take care of the rest for you!
Place your order online, speak to us on 0113 2887713 or email [email protected]
So whatever workwear you need, from a pair of Snickers Trousers to a pair of Dewalt Boots, from a pair of Blaklader shorts to a Helly Hansen Hi Vis Jacket PPE items such as hard hats, Gloves or any other type of safety wear, we’re here to provide anything you could require!