Michael White and Richard Sice
An entrepreneur who started his office interiors business with support from the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has himself become part of the furniture after moving into his own dedicated workspace.
Michael White had the idea for his business Posture Team in 2014 after recognising a gap in the market for ergonomic furniture and workspace fit-outs that improve health and wellbeing as well as productivity.
He started the company from his kitchen table on a shoestring budget and business quickly took off after he started to work from the BIC’s coworking facility Open Space, where he received practical support and made valuable new contacts.
Five years later, Posture Team has moved into its own office and showroom on the Sunderland business park, turns over business worth £350,000 a year and handles orders ranging from budget furniture for business start-ups to full workspace fit-outs for big name brands, including games company Ubisoft, crane company Mammoet and the NHS.
Michael said: “It’s amazing to now have our own purpose-designed space here, just yards from where this journey began and within the community that has supported me from the beginning. I started with nothing more than a homemade website and lots of ideas but good things immediately started to happen as soon as I started working in Open Space.
“The BIC supported me with some of my very first orders, provided me with excellent advice and helped to create so many new opportunities and relationships. I’m such a part of the team now that I even get involved with space planning at the BIC, helping to imagine new workspaces, such as the recently launched Innovation Zone.
“The Open Space environment was really constructive and I’d recommend it to anyone starting out or working on their own. I met so many new people, including my new Head of Marketing Richard Sice, and everyone is keen to help each other. Information just flows between people; ideas are sparked and problems are solved.”
Posture Team has transformed a two-storey unit on the Sunderland business park to demonstrate some of its innovative products and inspirational design and to serve as a base for the company. It has a second showroom elsewhere on the park.
The firm specialises in understanding the needs of its customers and the day-to-day routines of their staff before recommending how they can improve the environment to create a healthy business with a happy workforce.
Michael added: “We all sit down too long and too many of us sit on chairs and at desks that aren’t good for us. This sedentary lifestyle has some serious consequences for our physical and mental health and it comes at a cost for business too, with almost 31 million days lost to musculoskeletal problems, accident at work injuries and mental health issues.
“The workplace provides lots of opportunity to make simple but worthwhile improvements including height adjustable desks, monitor arms and ergonomic chairs, as well as creating spaces that look good and make people feel good. Businesses are now beginning to make the health of their workspaces the priority it deserves to be so it’s an exciting time to be in this market and I’m confident we’ll continue to grow at the BIC.”
Donna Surtees, centre manager at the BIC, said: “Michael is a perfect case study of how entrepreneurs can explore their ideas with the support, facilities and friendly community of the BIC and can stay with us as they grow and develop their businesses. Our wide range of work units and business support services on site mean our tenants need never look elsewhere for the perfect place to call home.”
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