A Ceredigion business has been crowned the best rosette manufacturer of 2023, as well as the best family rosette manufacturer, at the SME News British Made Awards.
Rheidol Rosettes, Wales’ biggest rosette maker, was set up by husband and wife team Andrew and Tracy Kirtley over 20 years ago.
Working up to 16 hours, seven days a week from their workshop in Dihewyd, the couple have built the business into Wales’ largest rosette manufacturer, employing three full-time staff members, as well as being supported by their family members, which include Tracy’s mum and her 82-year-old stepdad who goes out on deliveries for the business.
“I used to do all of the sewing on a small domestic sewing kit, and Andrew would do all of the printing,” said Tracy.
“We’ve worked very hard to build the business, we were working 16-hour days, seven days a week for years when we were starting out.”
The family’s decades of hard work paid off when they were named best rosette manufacturer and best family rosette manufacturer by SME News.
“We’re ecstatic, proud and privileged to have won the award,” Tracy added. “It takes a lot to be the best rosette manufacturer of the year, there’s a lot of competition. We’re proud to have received it.
“It’s great to have been voted the best manufacturer of the year, but to have also been voted the best family rosette manufacturer means a massive amount to us.
“My husband and I built the company up 20 years ago, and my mum and stepdad help out too. My stepdad’s 82 and he does some of our deliveries. My son and his fiancée also come down and help out over the summer. We do employ staff too, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them.”
The family-run business has clients from all across the world, including the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and even the Falklands.
They’ve supplied major events such as the Royal Welsh Show, as well as making rosettes for The One Show and the award-winning film Napoleon Dynamite.
However, the award comes at a crucial time for Rheidol Rosettes, which despite year after year of success, has faced many years of challenges as a result of Brexit and the pandemic.
“We lost about 25 to 30 per cent of our European customers as a result of Brexit,” Tracy explained.
“In the pandemic, everything came to a stop. We put our staff members on furlough, knowing their importance to our business, and that was that for the following two years.
“Although things are getting back to normal and sales are coming through, we haven’t returned to our pre-pandemic levels of trading.”