(Photo:marieaustralia)

Cento Clothing Ltd, based at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), helps fashion brands with everything from design, sourcing and sampling through to production.

The company, set up by entrepreneurs Anna Moutafis and Colin Butt, recently employed Lauren Grice, a graduate from the University of Sunderland, to help with the recent growth of the business.

“The idea for Cento came about when Colin and I met at the BIC four years ago. Colin had launched his own clothing brand, and I had experience within the fashion industry, which together complemented each other perfectly. We then went one step further and decided to use our knowledge of the industry to support others aiming to start their own clothing brand.

“We started out offering a consultancy and mentoring service to those just starting out, and expanded on this to provide designs, production and everything in between including import duty and VAT. Cento deals direct with the overseas factories, acting as the middle man to make the process as easy as possible for our clients, allowing them to get on and build their business. It’s nice to be able to help others especially if they are just starting out.”

Cento was initially set up as a partnership and 2014 a Limited company was formed. In the past year the directors have seen their turnover quadruple, Anna adds:

“We have built up a good reputation, which means brands and factories are putting their trust in us to deliver a high standard of service.

“The recent increase in orders meant that we required a larger space and the BIC is the perfect fit for us. The additional support such as marketing, business advice and postal services are very important to us.

“Although we love the professional look of the building, we also like the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, making it comfortable for our clients to visit.”

Cento which has its own clothing brand with clients from Denmark, Iceland and Australia also works closely with local universities providing placements for students looking to gain experience in the industry.

New recruit Lauren originally came to Cento as an intern, but is now a permanent employee. Lauren said:

“I was lucky enough to learn every aspect of the business during my time as an intern and I am delighted to have been offered a permanent position.

“Internship placements help to develop your skills whilst in a practical role and I have learned a lot from Anna and Colin about the industry, leading me to my current role in design and quality control.”

In April, Cento were shortlisted for the Best Creative Company award at the North East Business Awards.Read more at:celebrity dresses