Early 2005: In a moment of weakness I decide to give up a well paid job, nice company car and no risk to our mortgage. So I decide to risk our mortgage, get an old car for deliveries (I hated that car) and pay myself very little. The vision was simple, provide the best customer service in the industry (we are not there yet by the way).
November 2005: 3 of the 4 main banks refuse to work with MI, stating an "unviable business". Natwest worked extremely hard with us and are still are banking partner today.
November 2005: MI Supplies are registered at Companies House. M is for Murray (my wife Claire's maiden name and son Oscar's middle name) and I for Ingham (my surname, if you don't know me).
December 2005: I take possession of our first building, a 1000 sq ft unit in Thornaby on Tees. It's a freezing cold winter's day, and the company has no stock, no staff, no customers and very little money. Meetings with suppliers are held in the dark as I await the switching on of the electricity. Most suppliers will give us no credit to trade with. One kindly gave us a whopping £100! We placed our first order with this supplier and were promptly put on the stop for going over our credit limit of £100.
January 2006: The first sales are made, and JPS Services in Northallerton, North Yorkshire are the first invoiced customer for a pair of Himalayan work boots. The month has sales of £2,100. We take on our first employee. We were absolutely delighted.
December 2006: Our first year of trading comes to a close with 1551 orders and a turnover of £192,000. A few years on and that 12 months total was a one week total. We finish the year exhausted but happy. To add to the "stress/fun", baby Ruby is born (more juggling of home/work life).
March 2007: Geoff Surtees becomes our first warehouse team member, working with me on goods inward, picking, packing and despatching of goods.
August 2007: Our second building is taken on, increasing our warehousing by 50%. This is now our main online packing area.
December 2007: On our daughter's first birthday, we attend an employment tribunal for our first employee, claiming constructive dismissal. It never makes the court room and our ex employee agrees not to take it further, but we'd spent a full year of awful stress on it. Being an employer is proving to be pretty tricky at times.
December 2007: Our second full year ends with a record year.
June 2008: Neil Hodgson joins Geoff in our warehouse team, as our number of orders and customers begin to grow further. We'd now sent out 6,900 orders, seemed quite a while since that very first pair of boots. Neil very quickly becomes an expert in packing anything from a pair of size 15 boots to a set of ladders and making sure it's under our courier's price breaks (don't tell them).
August 2008: We take our third warehouse building on, giving us a further 500 sq ft.
November 2008: Sheryl Butters joins us from one of our nearby customers, joining Claire in our admin office. Sheryl is now our logo girl, helping customers with their embroidery requirements (we have now supplied 250,000 logos). Sheryl's husband confirms she shouts out logo designs in her sleep.
December 2008: Our 3rd year ends in another record year.
June 2009: We send out our first online order through our safetyandclothing store, we now have serviced over 120,000 customers globally.
December 2009: Our first shipment goes abroad.
December 2009: Our 4th year ends in another record year.
January 2010: Our first Corporate Social Responsibility charter is produced, 8% of our pre tax profits are donated to charity during the past 12 months.
February 2010: Our first ever employee to climb Kilimanjaro returns after her group raise over £50K for a local charity.
December 2010: Launch of our first brand own brand starts hitting the streets, Phoenix. Over 9,000 pairs of trousers have now been purchased by our customers.
December 2010: Our 5th year ends in another record year.
February 2011: MI are opened up as a Snickers Centre of Excellence - one of only a few in the UK.
June 2011: Vicki Nicholson joins Sheryl in our admin team, with the main task of increasing our customer service levels and in particular our online customers. The best example of a remote worker, she took 4 years to actually set foot in our premises - a great commitment to reducing our carbon footprint! This was "working from home" a long time before Covid came to haunt us all.
December 2011: Our 6th year ends in another record year.
May 2012: Michael Hill is our first apprentice, successfully completing an NVQ in Warehousing. Now working towards a Customer Service qualification and working alongside Geoff and Neil in our warehouse team.
August 2012: We gain our 1,000th fan on Facebook.
September 2012: Sophie Tasker becomes our next member of our admin team with Sheryl and Vicki, working with customers, ensuring suppliers are paid on time (morally, this is very important to us) and working on credit control.
October 2012: A trouser buyer from Shrewsbury becomes order number 40,000. Just over 6 years since our first pair of boots left the building.
November 2012: MI hit £1 million in annual sales for the very first time.
December 2012: Our 7th year ends in another record year.
January 2013: Employees join our new Profit Share scheme, sharing in our success and growth. Our profits are shared across all staff in every role.
May 2013: Re launch of our MI site hits the web.
June 2013: MI opened up as a main Dickies distributor.
July 2013: Our 2,700th fan joins us on Facebook.
November 2013: Our 50,000th order arrives safely with our customer.
December 2013: Our 8th year ends with another record year.
May 2014: 4,500 fans now have fun with us on Facebook.
October 2014: Our 9th year is already another record year.
November 2014: We announce our relocation giving us 5 times more capacity and warehousing space.
November 2014: Callum Patton joins our warehouse team following warehousing experience at Sports Direct & Next.
December 2014: Bill Watson joins our warehouse team having worked for one of main customers, bringing over 25 years of stores experience, we now double our warehouse team in the past 12 months.
December 2014: 2014 sees us close in on £2M turnover in our 10th year. Another record year.
January 2015: MI agree sponsorship of cycling team Adept Precision.
March 2015: 84 Willows Court is opened with more capacity to enable our growth to continue.
May 2015: Our 82,000 embroidered logo is applied to a customer's garment.
June 2015: Russ Lock joins the business from Goliath Footwear, managing our business account bringing a wealth of PPE experience.
August 2015: Derek Clark joins our warehouse team, bringing experience of numerous warehouse roles.
December 2015: MI finish another year at £2.25m in our 11th year. Another record year.
January 2016: Our biggest investment programme is announced, £100K is invested in to new web platforms and internal servers/systems.
April 2016: Agreed contractual terms supplying a global supermarket with 21,000 orders over the forthcoming 3 years.
June 2016: Our 109,000 order was sent out to a customer of 10 years standing.
July 2016: Recently published report, details MI as one of the fastest growing, most profitable and strongest companies in the UK industry.
August 2016: Following a large financial investment, MI launch their brand new website in conjunction with award winning company Visualsoft. This is to grow their online business to £1M within 12 months.
September 2016: In house web development team is formed, Neil Shepherd joining the company on a permanent basis after working closely with the business for a number of years.
December 2016: Our 12th year is complete. Another record year.
April 2017: MI are again shortlisted for the second year running for "Best Small Business" at the North East Business Awards. On this occasion MI are the winners of this category (companies employing less than 75).
May 2017: MI are runners up in the main North East award for "Best Small Business".
October 2017: Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, MI raise over £1500 through donating £1 for every online order received in October.
November 2017: Main sponsorship of cycling team AIMS cycling is announced, helping riders race across the UK.
December 2017: Project 2020 is announced, a 3 year plan taking MI into Europe through their e-commerce solution, and by 2020 interacting with 4m customers per year.
December 2017: Our 13th year is complete. Another record year.
January 2018: MI's appear on the BBC as they visit the company in their Brexit week feature.
February 2018: MI appear on Sky News, again featuring the Brexit challenges in the North East.
March 2018: For the third successive year, MI are shortlisted for "Small Business of the Year" in the Teesside region.
November 2018: MI enter women's cycling with sponsorship of Elite cycling team Boompods racing team.
December 2018: Our 14th year is complete. Another record year and on target with Project 2020 plans.
December 2019: Our 15th year is complete. A strong year of consolidation and future growth plans.
December 2020: Our 16th year is complete. Another record year with revenues over £4m.
February 2021: Our detailed plans to expand in to the United States takes place, with a strong increase on year on year sales.