Arts Derbyshire


Success for Banks Mill’s growing businesses as they fledge to commercial premises

The University of Derby’s business incubation centre at Banks Mill has recently seen three of its clients move out to commercial premises.

Banks Mill Studios in Bridge Street, Derby, was set up in 1999 to support the development of new businesses within the creative industries. It provides low-cost studio and workshop spaces for over 60 creative businesses through studio rental and membership, and offers training opportunities and access to the networking and other services provided by East Midlands Chamber. Banks Mill’s aim is to nurture new businesses and enable them to grow until they are ready to move on.

The three latest businesses to announce they are ready to leave Banks Mill for new premises are Anchor & Crew, Art ChaiRs and Studio 4.6.

Anchor & Crew is a multi award-winning jewellery brand which has been based at Banks Mill for five years. Having built a strong online and instore presence during that time – with stockists including Harvey Nichols, Joules and Zalando – they have now moved to multi-storey premises on Sadler Gate in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. With manufacturing taking place on the premises, customers can see how items are made as well as browse the collections.

Chris Warner, Brand Development Director at Anchor & Crew, commented: “Banks Mill has been paramount for us to grow as a business with our unit there being a much better upgrade than our previous premises in terms of general space, community, convenience of postal access and location within Derby – in close proximity to the city centre yet without the high business rates. What was particularly useful for us was being housed alongside other creative industry businesses, – jewellery manufacturing is often seen as too dirty for office/studio premises, but not really suitable for industrial estates. As such, we were able to have all the machines for production and make everything we needed to within the space provided.”

Sarah Skinner’s business, ARt ChaiRs, sells chairs and footstools that have been reupholstered with quirky and contemporary fabric designs. Sarah is moving the business to Hopkinson’s House in the centre of Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Sarah says: “Since being at Banks Mill I have gained confidence and honed my skills. I’m going to miss Banks Mill but I’m really pleased to have found a beautiful space where I can continue to upholster old chairs, with room to exhibit my work and run workshops.”

Studio 4.6, run by Natalie Clarke, has moved to Uttoxeter Old Road. The studio specialises in hair and make-up for weddings, special occasions, music videos and editorial shoots.

Laura Williams, Commercial Manager at the University of Derby, commented: “We’re really pleased that our incubation services have helped these three businesses grow and to be in the position of having their own commercial premises, which is the whole ethos of what we do. Banks Mill is a real hive of creativity so with these businesses fledging we now have the space to support other new businesses. We’d love to talk to anyone interested in joining this vibrant community of artists and designer-makers – which includes fine art, jewellery, photography, fashion, weaving, graphic design and more.”

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber, added: “Banks Mill is an important component of the business support landscape in Derby, providing fit-for-purpose workspace and a nurturing environment that stimulates business development. The growth of these tenant businesses, graduating into their own commercial premises, achieved with the wraparound support provided by the University of Derby and its partners, is good to see. I can’t wait to see how they continue to develop into the next generation of businesses in Derby, further enriching an already thriving creative sector.”

For those who are not looking for studio space, Banks Mill also offers a membership service, providing a platform to promote their work through the Banks Mill brand. This includes the annual Banks Mill Open Studios event, which takes place in November and now attracts over 1,400 visitors.

To find out more about Banks Mill, or to enquire about space, visit or email

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