Fantastical Keith Lemon to be brand ambassador for Peterborough’s Ideal Shopping as profits rise
Profits at multi-channel retailer Ideal Shopping Direct have beaten predictions as it become one of the few companies to get through the lockdown relatively unscathed.
The home shopping operator, which owns the popular Create and Craft and Ideal World TV channel, has reported profits of £6.5 million for the last 12 months.
The figure is in excess of the expected £5 million and comes just two years after the Newark Road company incurred a £32 million loss.
Turnover at the company, which employs 615 people, has reached £140 million.
The figures have been released as the business announced a new partnership with Celebrity Juice star, Keith Lemon (Leigh Francis).
The comedian, who is a keen crafter and recently starred in a prime-time Channel 4 six-part series, The Fantastical Factory of Curious Craft, has agreed to be a brand ambassadorship with Create and Craft as the UK craft market takes off.
Chief executive Jamie Martin said: “To say craft is having a resurgence would be an understatement.
“We have seen the industry explode in recent years and the recent lockdown has only added to this growth.
“Younger people are now crafting for the first time and we know that working with Keith Lemon will ultimately help us reach a vast and highly engaged younger audience.”
The drive to engage with a younger audience and a decline in TV audiences will be a principal focus for Ideal as it moves forward.
Mr Martin said its success over the last year was due to its £3 million investment in its digital focus before Covid-19 hit as well as its partnership with ITV, new HD facilities and product innovation with its Create and Craft channel.
He said: “Covid-19 forced businesses of all sizes to shift gears.
“Luckily we were already well on our way with a digitally-centric approach ahead of Covid-19 crisis hitting and the last 12 months has been about us reaping the benefits of this strategy.
“By laying the foundations to thrive in an increasingly on-demand, online world, our business has not only successfully navigated retail’s
choppy waters but we have been able to invest in new facilities, bring on bigger brands and negotiating pivotal partnerships.”
Looking ahead, Mr Martin says the focus will remain on enhancing its digital offering and aim to engage customers across a variety of platforms including websites Twitch, Facebook, Instagram and You Tube.
Plans in the pipeline include an online ‘marketplace’ where third party sellers can sell a range of goods online, from fashion to technology.
Mr Martin added: “The medium has changed and so have the markets but in real essence this is still our model – people selling value to people in the environment the audience has chosen.
“We’re active across the platforms and that’s how we’ve turned the company around – and I can see no sign of our evolution ever having to stop.”
Keith Lemon said: “Create and Craft is the best place for crafters like me t’ get their fix.
“If it was a car it’d be a right good’un! If it was lady, it’d be me dream lady. If it was a fashion label it’d be the most stylish. Of all the ranges it’s top of the rage!
“I’m actually chuffed to be working with ‘em. I’m gonna create some RAD pieces of crafty doings with some of the best materials in’t business!”
He will work with the team at Create and Craft to create and deliver engaging digital content packages across its YouTube and Instagram channels, starting with Keith Lemon’s Crafty Doings, broadcast only on Create and Craft’s YouTube channel.
The first part of Keith Lemon’s content series is available now on the Create and Craft YouTube channel. New episodes will be released every other Monday at noon.