A County Durham-based metalwork and fabrication company is going from strength to strength with the continued expansion of its online brand that offers ready-made products to customers in the UK and Europe.

Steelcraft Ltd, which specialises in manufacturing architectural metalwork, including balconies, railings, gates, and handrails, launched its online brand Forjj in November 2018.

Forjj offers ready-made products, manufactured in its premises in Chester-le-Street, throughout the UK and Europe, on a click and delivery basis.

Matthew Rodgers, Managing Director, said: “Whilst many businesses create their survival plans to prepare for the economic climate post-COVID-19, we stand resolute in our digital growth strategy and come out fighting from the economic downturn.

“Just 18 months ago we launched Forjj with a selection of Juliet balconies, narrow railings that sit outside a window or French doors on the upper storey of a building, to see if we could compete with cheaper off-the-shelf goods imported from China. Since them we’ve quickly expanded the product range to include gates and soon to follow are railings. Sales since the start of lockdown are approaching £30,000 which are more than four times our projections.”

Having initially focused on manufacturing and installing bespoke security metalwork for clients across the North East, Steelcraft has widened its product portfolio and client base over the years. It now employs a 28-strong team at its headquarters on the Drum Industrial Estate and clients include Keepmoat Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Miller Homes, The Esh Group, Vistry and Engie.

Liam Armstrong, Operations Manager, said: “Steelcraft, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, originally started life as a security grille company before phasing into more up-market architectural goods, bringing the best of both worlds ‘strong, secure and elegant’. We’ve worked hard to ensure we retain that ethos as we grow the product range. Feedback from Forjj customers has been excellent, with quality being particularly impressive.”

The range of online products are designed with style in mind and customers can order online for delivery direct to their door from the workshop, with instructions and advice for self-installation or to be passed to the tradesperson or contractor.

Matthew said: “It’s great for us to have found a way to sell outside of North East England without needing to establish a physical office in another region. It means that we can provide more jobs and supplier opportunities in a time where many others are closing their doors and significantly reducing staff numbers.”

Steelcraft accessed support for the launch of Forjj from Digital Drive County Durham, a programme part financed by the European Regional Development Fund to help businesses in the area make best use of digital technology.