Case study by the University of Portsmouth

Pearl Fit-Out has achieved remarkable success in its first five years. The high-end fit-out/joinery business launched in Portsmouth, in September 2013. Now winning awards and securing prestigious brands as customers, the next step in Pearl Fit-Out’s journey will be influenced by a deep partnership with the University of Portsmouth.

Pearl Fit-Out has been a forward-looking business since day one. Its directors, Andrew Phipps and Leigh Roswell, took the plunge and founded the company based on the business cycle theory that a period of economic expansion follows every recession. They reasoned that a new refitting company could capture the market as shops began to look at re-opening, re-branding or expanding. Their logic proved correct. Starting with only two customers and letting their work speak for itself, Pearl Fit Out are putting Portsmouth on the map.

Their commissions include upgrading the VIP lounge at Ascot, relocating the wine department in Harrods, and refitting the beauty department within Selfridges, voted the best department store in the world.

Such success stems from their philosophy of providing a quality service to clients. Offering ‘everything manufactured and fitted’ via a ‘turnkey fit-out’, they have in-depth knowledge of products available and can advise customers on achieving the highest standards. But that’s not the only way in which they stand out from the crowd. They are as committed to their staff as to their clients.

To take development opportunities to a whole new level, they collaborate with another future-focused local brand – the University of Portsmouth.

Working closely with the University, Pearl Fit-Out became one of the first companies in the country to support a member of staff to undertake a Business Management Degree Apprenticeship. This bold step demonstrates the kind of leadership behaviour that has nurtured success for Pearl Fit-Out, as Andrew and Leigh aim to pass on more management responsibilities to their apprentice Matthew Barnes. His own success will be entwined with that of the business.

The directors are thrilled with the results so far. Describing how Matthew’s learning is having a direct impact on their business, Andrew says: “The questions he asks and ideas he returns with from the projects he carries out as part of the course, has made us take a step back and look at the business in different way.”

On winning Business Excellence Small Business of the Year 2017, awarded by The News (Portsmouth) of Johnston Press plc, the company’s commitment to staff development was noted. Their next step was to collaborate even more closely with the University of Portsmouth.

In recognition of their hard work and success, they became Business Enterprise Ambassadors of the University. In this position, they work closely with the Faculty of Business and Law.

With an exciting future ahead, both parties look forward to continuing their collaboration, helping young talent develop, and collectively going from strength to strength.


On the photo: VIP personal shopping lounge Harrods Penthouse

Published: 3 September 2018