The Oxford Health Company (TOHC) is located in Bicester, Oxfordshire and is the proud owner of the brands Oxford Vitality and Oxford Contract Manufacturing. They specialise in the manufacture and supply of consumer ready vitamins and food supplements which are distributed worldwide.
TOHC Director, Pete Burrows, tells how their business success story began “We were 10 years old last month, the company was set up by the company’s other two directors, James Allen and Tom Humphry, back in 2012. They started off making their own branded vitamin supplements, Oxford Vitality, and selling on eBay and other online channels. They did this for about a year and then over time they were gaining interest from sellers asking how they were selling such good products at such competitive prices. This transitioned them into contract manufacturing, so producing other people’s products. That continued to grow and TOHC are now am established contract manufacturer for vitamins and supplements for a whole host of brands, large and small, all over the world.”
TOHC have received a raft of business support from OxLEP Business, going back to 2020. Pete tells us the story of building a great connection with the team at OxLEP and how it has benefitted their growth “You get a point where you need that outside help and assistance, it’s an outside insight that don’t really get, especially if you’ve never really worked for anyone else.
So going back a few years, James connected with OxLEP and engaged in the mentoring programmes they were offering. He found them very valuable. Meeting and hearing from these experts, what their experiences are with business growth pains and how they solved these problems. They discussed a whole array of subjects, things like HR and talent, scaling-up and innovation. The OxLEP advisors also actually came into the business and talked through our plans, general strategy and how we could free up our time to focus on business growth.”
"OxLEP’s support has helped us reach a point where our future is looking really positive. They not only helped on that initial phase of growth, but it’s the knock-on effects for our next phases as well."
Alongside the one-to-one mentoring, the team at TOHC engaged with OxLEP’s Peer Networks and were also successful in receiving a grant from Cherwell District Council’s Business Adaptation Fund (CBAF) delivered by OxLEP Business. Pete discloses “We also joined the Peer Networks programme, and in those environments, chatting to peers, you can pick up a lot of ideas and tips and extract information from other businesses. So much knowledge is transferable between industries and sectors.
It was off the back of all of this we were informed about the matched financing opportunities available. We were eligible for the CBAF grant and applied. It was a good process to go through as it makes you think what you are trying to achieve and why you are trying to achieve it. I actually found it quite therapeutic completing the application, because it makes you put down an external facing business plan, so you question yourself on your own aims and goals which is a good path to go down.
We were successful with our application and with this funding we built a new mezzanine floor in the factory and bought some new specialist manufacturing equipment. This has allowed us to grow quite quickly off the back of that. If we had to find that money on our own it would have taken us another two years. These grants have enabled us to speed up getting the projects we want and have massively increased the capacity of products we are producing. Plus, we can now do it all in house, under one roof. This speedy growth has allowed us to create more jobs as well which is great. 5 years ago we only had 12 staff and now we are over 60 members of staff.”
“OxLEP’s support has helped us reach a point where our future is looking really positive. They not only helped on that initial phase of growth, but it’s the knock-on effects for our next phases as well. We’re going to continue expansion, get another 5 or 6 members on the team at least. And, we want to increase our night shift production as well to make our production more efficient.
OxLEP have been everything you could ask for a local support network. If you’re not sure what support your eligible for, don’t be put off, they have an online business support tool that you can use which helps you see what support is a viable option for you.” says Pete.