Waterlooville manufacturer flies the flag for Hampshire business as its products appear at Olympics, Euros and Buckingham Palace

A MANUFACTURER from Waterlooville is flying the flag for Hampshire business – quite literally.

As suppliers of flags and bunting for the Euros and the official flag supplier for Team GB at the Olympics, the Hampshire Flag Company has seen incredible success.

The family-run business, which opened in 1981 and celebrated its 40th anniversary in April this year, is made up of 28 workers and has also recently invested in new machinery worth more than £250,000.

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Bought from the manufacturer Dgen, it is replacing current machinery at the Hampshire Flag Company because of its ability to print better quality on multiple different materials, at a faster pace.

This means the flag manufacturer can branch out into new areas, such as signs.

Rod Sessions, sales manager, said the firm was expanding, and as a result it was also looking to take on more staff.

He added: ‘Our future plans are to grow the business further, we have just purchased new print machinery worth £250,000 and we are pushing on into the signage market.'

Hampshire Flag Company Ltd, Pipers Wood Industrial Park, Waterlooville Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 130721-04)

Marketing co-ordinator David Louth said the company replaced its machinery to keep up to date with customer demand and ensure high standards of customer service.

David, 27, from Hilsea, said: ‘As a company and team, we are extremely proud of our progress - especially throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the company has evolved, and everyone has moved forward with the times to adapt to current circumstances and our customer’s needs.

‘Throughout Covid, we had to work quickly and efficiently to meet our customers’ demands, even more than what we normally would, because most of our customers specialise in hospitality, they needed solutions quickly as they didn’t know when they were opening or closing.

Julia Vassallo, left, and Surach Khomkhai with a finished flag. Hampshire Flag Company Ltd, Pipers Wood Industrial Park, Waterlooville Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 130721-02)

‘Like most things during the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty, so we had to be there for our customers more than ever before.

‘The attitude of our staff, I’d say is the main reason behind our past success, everyone is highly motivated, and we always do everything we can to ensure orders are sent out on time, if not earlier - we always go the extra mile for our customers.’

The firm’s most popular service is its traditional flags for all types of ceremonies. It has seen its products in prestigious places, such as Buckingham Palace and at Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant, and its flags have been taken on expeditions to the South Pole, Everest, the summit of K2, the North Pole, Arctic Ocean and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Other clients include Selfridges, the BBC, Channel 4, Portsmouth Football Club, IBM and British Airways.

Finance director Carole Ellis and managing director Angela Saunders, right. Hampshire Flag Company Ltd, Pipers Wood Industrial Park, Waterlooville Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 130721-05)

It has also produced flags for the Last Night of the Proms and it made the famous Pompey ‘Til I Die flag for Portsmouth FC.

However, other services are growing in popularity including custom printing, fence scrims, bunting, banners and flag poles.

The company was founded by Roy Carr in the bedroom of his Cowplain home in 1981. Roy’s daughter Angela Saunders took over the business as managing director in January 2020. Her teenage son Robert Wilkinson is also now working for the firm.

Story by Sophie Gibbons

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Robert Wilkinson is in charge of cutting fabric and PVC. Hampshire Flag Company Ltd, Pipers Wood Industrial Park, Waterlooville Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 130721-07)

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Hampshire Flag Company Ltd, Pipers Wood Industrial Park, Waterlooville Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 130721-06)