You can say Happy Mother’s Day with very special gifts this March, thanks to a pioneering Lincoln firm that is supported by Wilkin Chapman solicitors.

27 March 2019


Cadbury’s chocolates adorned with personalised Mother’s Day messages, names and faces are winging their way across the nation from a business in Lincoln this March, as a new million-pound investment bears fruit.

YPP Group Ltd in the city has struck gold with its new business idea - winning licences from some of the world’s best-known brands to personalise their globally-known products. And the idea has been launched to hit the Mothering Sunday market, with a SKY TV advert and social media campaign running alongside.

Online orders are being taken to put images and words onto Cadbury’s Chocolate and Toblerone outer sleeves, that are then inserted over the original packaging and dispatched in time for Sunday 31. This is the start of the firm’s new subsidiary project Custom Gifts, which enables it to personalise these products long-term – along with those of any of the Premier League’s football clubs and such brands as Warner Bros and Disney.

For owner Stuart Maclaren this step has been made possible thanks to new investment funding of £1m, along with the support of local professional services.

As reported, YPP Group Ltd is one of the first two city firms to secure investment from Foresight Group LLP, via the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, (MEIF).

Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, MEIF provides commercially focussed finance through Small Business Loans, Debt Finance, Proof of concept and Equity Finance funds. Aiming to transform the finance landscape for smaller businesses in the Midlands and to realise the region’s potential to achieve economic growth through enterprise, it is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), including The Marches LEP, in the West Midlands and East and South East Midlands.

From an idea working on his kitchen table seven years ago, Stuart now employs more than 50 people in his print and design business, with a £2.6-million turnover last year. His new idea, supported by the recent investment, will see both staff and turnover further increase.

“This is by far the largest investment into the business and we are delighted to be launching these new gift ideas in time for Mother’s Day. The potential in this marketplace is huge and we are proud to be here in Lincoln delivering it – although these premises are already outgrown,” said Stuart.

As Stuart developed the idea and prepared for the investment and its consequences, he praised local firms, including Wilkin Chapman solicitors – for their genuine interest in not only providing the work required, but also supporting him with a wealth of experience and professional advice. Head of the Corporate department, Russell Eke, and colleagues Adam Ottley and Jonathan Mackinder, worked on the project and continue to support the venture, along with their colleagues in Employment and HR, and both commercial and domestic property.

“I would email at 3am when a thought had sprung into my head – and I was always answered. There really was a desire to help,” recalled Stuart.

As the idea becomes a business reality, Russell and Adam were invited to YPP to see the work progressing – and as they did so, they stressed the challenge and opportunity when a flourishing business like YPP transitions from a ‘one-man-band’, as has happened with this latest investment.

“This move from being the owner/manager of your business to having to work with other people in a corporate environment can be a very big challenge and it can be difficult for some to adjust. Reporting to a Board of Directors, for example, is not something people in Stuart’s position will have ever experienced before. It is our role, not only to perform the legal services, but to draw on our experience to offer advice where appropriate,” said Russell.

Walking around the 32,000ft YPP-owned premises, on Pyke Road, Russell added: “It is so interesting to see the living and breathing results of the investment and the positive impact it is already making, something we – as lawyers – do not always get to see and we look forward to Stuart’s further progression.”

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