Now trading for almost 40 years, Forms Plus was established in 1981. At the time, we were mostly selling computer consumables alongside pay slips and pre-printed invoices.
A few years later, in September 1990, shortly before Mrs Thatcher left Downing Street, and before seatbelts in cars were even compulsory, Forms Plus welcomed a new Office Administrator, Victoria Andrews. Now the MD, having led a management buy-out of the company in 2012 with Finance Director Jo Carter, Victoria is celebrating 30 years with the company, something not many people can say they have achieved in their career!
When Victoria joined Forms Plus back in 1990, the internet had barely been invented. Tim Berners-Lee had just launched the first ever web browser, Amazon and Ebay were 5 years’ away and it would be 10 years before even the likes of Walmart had an online store.
Very few people had mobile phones, computers were all beige, the internet involved a dial up and every office still had a fax machine. There was no social media. Gradually, through the 90s, e-commerce began and the dot com boom started.
Over time, Forms Plus moved from selling floppy discs and printer ribbons, to the labels, forms and packaging we trade in today, always looking ahead at market trends to make sure we can meet customer needs.
To mark the occasion and celebrate her 30th Anniversary, Victoria is having a celebratory trip to the Isles of Scilly, for some much-needed rest and relaxation. Before we let her escape, we asked her for a few thoughts on her career…
What are the main changes you’ve noticed in the company across the 30 years?
From a customer service point of view, proofing and production times have reduced vastly as email really speeds up our workflow. Within the workplace, I have been really happy to see us grow a positive awareness around the wellbeing and mental health of our team.
Who are your longest-term clients?
Over the years, many of the local independent clients we worked with have been bought out. Of our larger clients, some of the longest standing include Boden, Brittany Ferries and Mole Valley Farmers.
What are you most proud of from your time at Forms Plus?
As MD, it is really important to me that we provide staff with the best environment possible to work in and ensure they feel valued. This led to us moving into our much larger, purpose-built office and warehouse last year. We have also won numerous Healthy Workplace Awards, including our Gold Award in 2020.
I am also very happy that as the business has grown and evolved, we have managed to stay true to our core values – providing a competitively priced, quality product with exceptional customer care.
Forms Plus is quite rare in being led by an all-female team of Directors. What advice would you give to other women to help them grow and develop over a long period with the same company?
Make a real effort to learn about the industry you are in. Work hard, be adaptable, reliable and have confidence in your own abilities.
Victoria is not the only member of the Forms Plus team with such staying power. Many of our experienced staff have been with us for quite some time. Our Finance Director and former Payroll Assistant, Jo Carter is looking forward to her holiday on Scilly, as she has been with us for 24 years.
If we can help you at all with any of your forms, labels or packaging requirements, or indeed if you’d like to ask Victoria just how she has managed her many changes of hairstyle, do get in touch.