A Durham metalwork and fabrication company has seen a 900 percent boost in its online sales during the last financial year, highlighting how the Covid-19 pandemic has galvanised ecommerce activities for some sectors.

Steelcraft Ltd, which operates from the Drum Industrial Estate in Chester-le-Street, specialises in manufacturing architectural metalwork and sells ready-made products on a delivery or click and collect basis through its ecommerce arm, Forjj.

“We’ve seen unprecedented sales through Forjj, which we launched in November 2018,” Matthew Rodgers, Managing Director at Steelcraft, said, “turnover reached £10,000 in its first year of trading but in the second year we reached the £100,000 point, equating to a 900 percent boost to our top line.”

The strong performance for Steelcraft’s online sales is a result of a carefully set digital strategy and expansion in its product line that saw the introduction of gates and railings alongside the traditional offering of Juliet balconies.

Matthew said: “The last year has been exceptionally difficult for many industries, so we are pleased to have seen a sustained and growing demand for buying crafted metalwork products during this time. People have been investing in their homes, a trend that we anticipate will continue and, as a result of this along with the phenomenal sales we have experienced, we have been able to secure our workforce’s jobs while setting in place further plans for growth.”

Steelcraft employs a 24-strong team at its headquarters based on the Drum Industrial Estate and clients include local authorities, Taylor Wimpey, Keepmoat Homes, The Esh Group, Vistry, and Engie.

Liam Armstrong, Operations Manager, said: “Steelcraft originally started life as a security grille company over 30 years ago before phasing into more up-market architectural goods, and we have worked hard to ensure we retain that ethos as we grow the product range.”

The range of online products are designed with style in mind and customers can order online for delivery direct to their door from the workshop, with instructions and advice for self-installation or to be passed to the tradesperson or contractor.

“Having the right infrastructure in place has been key to achieving our aims and our ecommerce growth strategy has been at the heart of this,” concluded Matthew, “so finding a way to sell further afield without needing to establish a physical office in another region has meant that we have been able to secure jobs and provide supplier opportunities in a time where many others are closing their doors and reducing staff numbers.”

Steelcraft is based at 2 to 6 Second Avenue, Drum Industrial Estate, Chester-le-Street, DH2 1AG. The Forjj website can be accessed at: https://www.forjj.co.uk/