Label makers in award bid

A family-run label making firm from Ripley is vying with the big bullion companies for a chance of winning a prestigious national award.

Magpie Europe, based at Heage Road Industrial Estate, has been shortlisted by The British Jewellers Association for the ‘Supplier of the Year’ award.

The firm, run by husband and wife of 12 years Caren Colabella-Steeples and David Steeples, specialises in making price labels and barcodes for the jewellery trade.

Caren said: “The people that we are up against are really big bullion companies who have been around many years and, in some cases, generations. Then there’s little old us who have been hammering away for the last few years nominated in the same category. Whether we win or not - just being mentioned with them is a huge achievement for ourselves.”

The family company started in a bedroom in Belgium six years ago. Caren, at the time selling in the jewellery trade, and David, who worked for a labelling company, decided to combine e their expertise.

“We then upgraded to the garage,” Caren continued, “in June this year we moved into Heage Road industrial Estateto accommodate for our large export orders”

The couple, now export their robust labels to the whole of the UK and Europe, South Africa and now Vietmnam, turning over £270,000 last year.

They have just six staff in total, with an office in South Africa. Their client list now ranges from local firm England Barker Jewellers in Ripley, to the Jewellery Channel and bespoke store Fortnum and Mason.

But despite the success, the company remains a real family affair. David’s son Ryan, 29, is part of the workforce and Caren’s daughter Vicki is set to join soon.

They will find out if they have won at an award ceremony in Solihull on December 5.