Print firm facing bankruptcy gets new lease of life

Sea Dog Print Studio staff, Stu Linfield, Joff Reid, Jenna Boyson, Josh Willis, James Mankiewicz and Luca Mankiewicz.' Picture by Habibur Rahman
Sea Dog Print Studio staff, Stu Linfield, Joff Reid, Jenna Boyson, Josh Willis, James Mankiewicz and Luca Mankiewicz.' Picture by Habibur Rahman
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A GROUP of friends has turned a business facing bankruptcy into a profit-making firm that some of the biggest companies in the region have come to know and rely upon.

Sea Dog Print Studio is a print and graphic design company based on Goldsmith Avenue, Portsmouth.

The huge loft space is home to Stu Linfied, owner, James Mankiewicz, senior graphic designer and their colleagues Jenna Boyson, Joff Reid, Josh Willis and Emma Nicol,

In November last year, the former owner advised his staff he would be closing down and liquidators would arrive to collect equipment.

But Stu, 36, saw an opportunity. He said: ‘Due to some bad business decisions and investment, the debt had mounted up.

‘I saw strengths in our small team and recognised our big client base. We were always performing on top but the debt and having no control on decisions had held us back.

‘I realised this was a life-changing opportunity. I could take on the company without the debt and build it.

‘We have fun in this office every day, constantly creating, playing pranks and celebrating birthdays.’

When Stu shared the idea with his colleagues, they were delighted. In it’s first year the firm has gone from making 1,000 to 3,000 t-shirts a month.

The company’s clients include the University of Portsmouth, Fat Face, Southsea Beach Cafe, Southsea Skate Park, Pie & Vinyl and Strong Island.

James said: ‘If you haven’t run a company before but you know your market and see an opportunity, you should grab it with both hands. You have one life...live it!’

On being his own boss, Stu said: ‘It feels incredible. I’m lucky to have a determined workforce.

‘I want to get even more involved in community events so we can help other firms and start-ups to develop with us.’