Sheffield Business Awards: ‘Winning was very important to us’.

Diamond Dispersions. Sue Wright and Peter Callahan
Diamond Dispersions. Sue Wright and Peter Callahan
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It is fitting that the leaders of a business which scooped the Excellence in International Trade accolade at last year’s Sheffield Business Awards were on a business trip in Korea when The Star called for a progress report.

Diamond Dispersions, an award-winning Sheffield company with global sales in excess of £1.2 million, sells to China, India, South Korea, Indonesia and the Far East and directors Peter Callahan, 63, and Sue Wright, 62, travel together three months of the year in their quest to get the perfect ink solution they make at their premises in Darnall to industries all over the world.

They are currently in South Korea visiting distributors and will then be heading for China to meet with customers. “We do this trip frequently. This time we will also be going to a textile trade show in Guangzhou and then we fly home,” said Peter.

The pair, both former advisors for Business Link Derbyshire, who ventured into the ink pigment industry after helping scores of people set up in business, say business is booming and part of their current success can be attributed to their win in the Sheffield Business Awards 2013.

“Winning was very important to us. We have used it in our publicity frequently,” said Peter. “In addition, we are working with some major customers now and the award gives them added confidence in Diamond.”

The firm recently won a £2.2 million contract to produce five tonnes of navy blue dispersion every month, with similar orders for magenta and orange likely to follow.

The duo are preparing to up production when a Diamond Dispersions customer launches a new digital textile printer globally in the New Year. “We are supplying some of the ingredients for the black inks they will sell with the printer. The ink quantities used in industrial printing machines are huge.

“For a manufacturing company in Sheffield to win such a large order from such a major original equipment manufacturer is a great opportunity. We’ve also been asked to look at creating some more colours for the printer next year.”

Just seven years ago, the pair were broke. Their ink firm, Diamond Sheffield, developed a carbon recovery process but had to fold, costing the pair huge sums.

But knowing they had come close to developing a world quality ink jet dispersion formula, they borrowed from the bank and on credit cards to launch Diamond Dispersions and try again.

They now have a staff of 13 and their stable, non-bleed, non-smear formulation with consistent colours and high optical density is used by global clothing industry clients and photographic companies.