Successful Businesses Moving On From Banks Mill
Banks Mill Studios, a Victorian building on the west side of Derby City Centre, is owned and managed by the University of Derby and has a track record of being the birthplace of some of Derby’s most up and coming creative companies.
Refurbished in 1999, the building was previously home to Banks & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of made-up textiles and retailers of tents, blinds, leather goods, coal bags and twines.
Today the Mill, which is made up of some 40 studios, plays host to a diverse range of businesses from fashion design, textiles and glass art to jewellery, mixed media art and photography.
The University of Derby has expanded rapidly over the last ten years, not least in its role in supporting new businesses in the arts. Keen for Derby to retain it’s graduate workforce, Banks Mill is seen as an ideal way of doing both.
Craig Barker, managing director of creative design agency Koobr and a former University of Derby graduate, said: “Taking studio space at Banks Mill allowed us to be situated in a great location surrounded by creative people.”
“The building itself boasts a wealth of character which helped to create a very inspiring working environment, whilst Derby is a great place to start a business,” he continued.
“We have received help from the University of Derby in a variety of ways, from support, training and guidance right through to receiving funding to help facilitate the employment of four of their graduates that have joined our team. Their staff were hugely supportive and a real pleasure to work with.”
The University have built a strong presence in the West End of Derby over the last decade, in addition to Banks Mill, the Enterprise Centre, Britannia Mill and, most recently, the new School of Law on Agard Street, all demonstrate their on-going commitment to regenerate this area of the city.
Jo Bater, founder of Sew N Jo, has seen things go from strength to strength since launching her business in Banks Mill in 2015.
“I love the atmosphere of the Mill, so many creative people, amazing work on display in the foyer and on the walls, and just the general calm feeling of the old building helped my creativity.
“The rent there was very reasonable, helping my business to grow. And when you combine that with the fact the studios are open long hours, we were able to run workshops late into the evening. This, together with events run at the Mill, have brought added interest too.”
“I seriously would not be where I am today without the help and support from the University and Banks Mill.”