A British market leader in remote-controlled toys and gadgets has expanded at a thriving innovation centre in Portsmouth on the back of retail demand.
Bladez Toyz Plc signed up to a third office at Portsmouth Technopole, the 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) landmark building by the M275 city gateway.
Founded by entrepreneur Iain Morgan, Bladez Toyz now has an extra 371 sq ft (34.5 sq m) of open-plan space, adding a third to its footprint and generating employment for 12 local people.
Iain, 36, an ex-pupil of Mayfield School in Portsmouth, founded the design-and-distribution firm following a £100,000 investment win on TV’s Tycoon, the brainchild of millionaire businessman Peter Jones of BBC Two Dragons’ Den fame.
He said: “Demand from customers and high street retailers has been extraordinary and we’re flat-out, especially with Christmas rapidly looming.
“For example, the pump-up-and-play jumbo inflatable Minion, from the computer-animated comedy film Despicable Me 2, which retails at £39.99 and is two foot tall, is already a sell-out.
“We’re constantly expanding our product range, which is now at 30. The design and distribution aspects meaning we’ve happily need to take one-third more space at the Technopole, our highly supportive business premises for seven years.”
Two years ago Bladez Toyz plc landed a milestone contract with Lucas Licensing, which is responsible for licensing and merchandising activities relating to Hollywood blockbuster Star Wars™.
Iain and his team created a jumbo-sized inflatable R2-D2, the bin-shaped silver droid and faithful counterpart to golden robot C-3PO, both of whom played a part in shaping history in a galaxy far, far away.
Bladez Toyz also has a licence by search engine giant Google to develop an inflatable remote control green robot, based on the Android phone icon and retailing at £29.99.
Stephen Brownlie, the senior centre manager, said: “Bladez Toyz is very much a home-grown business success story, with British design and distribution generating local employment, driving innovation and creating other jobs through the regional supply chain, such as transport, accountancy and legal services.
“‘Iain and his team are an inspirational example of a firm here at Portsmouth Technopole which has grown from strength to strength, flexing the commercial office space to suit the needs of Bladez Toyz, which is a market leader in its field.”
Run by Innovation Centres specialist Oxford Innovation, Portsmouth Technopole is home to 37 registered firms employing nearly 200 people between them, with 92% occupancy.
The five-storey premises provides serviced offices for start-ups, early-stage firms and outsourced businesses, for one person to 50, along with virtual offices, meeting rooms, conference and seminar facilities to hire.