A Brecon military business is celebrating 30 years of trading and is celebrating by letting people see what goes on behind the scenes on the 1st of December.
Genuine JayJays Ltd, situated in Ffrwdgrech Industrial Estate, has kept the business in a military and police family since it started on a market stall.
"The business was started in by our parents Jean and Jon," director Roberta says. "They initially started the business with a market stall and later, in 1993 we converted our home's front room into a shop with only £300 worth of army surplus stock. It has now developed, and we, their five children, have now taken over the business. Their grandchildren also work here now! The business has developed from selling surplus on a market stall to manufacturing specialist load carriage equipment and clothing. We now sell our items around the globe.
"We are very keen to develop the younger generations skills and encourage them to keep on developing the business - as we have done. Each generation has grown up in the business on a day-to-day basis. This means that the business itself is seen as another family member, where we all use our knowledge, care and attention to mould and expand it further."
The business sells military webbing equipment, and high-quality British Army equipment, and has amassed a strong five-star rating online. "The business is hugely important to all of us. We are very aware that you need to put in a lot of time and effort to make something work. In return, the business has offered us work and stability. Especially in hard times, like we have all just come through, with the pandemic and global economic downturn."
For Roberta, investing in the staff is critical to the business's growth. "With the new generation of family and workers, we are now focussing on moving forward with new technologies and working practices. We have invested in laser cutting and etching technology alongside computer-aided design. We also invest heavily in our staff. In the last 2 years we have gone from having no employees under the age of 25, to now having 8 young members of staff on the books, that’s half of the staff! We understand that youngsters are our future, and the business needs them in order to maintain growth."
Naturally, with 30 years under their belt, they have many things to be proud of, but Roberta recalls a way that she and her staff helped during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "I think one of the ventures we are most proud of, is when we made, donated, and delivered over £20,000 worth of medical pouches to the government of Ukraine, following the Russian invasion.
"We have had our products used on an expedition to Mount Everest, with a picture at the base camp to prove it! We have designed, manufactured, and supplied specialist equipment and clothing for use in extreme environments, such as the hot and humid jungle to dry dusty deserts and into the freezing Arctic! We have designed and manufactured specialist ‘form-fitting’ load carriages for adventure spec motorcycles. We also make bespoke, specialist K9 products amongst other things."
Now, they are ready to celebrate 30 years by giving back to the community. "We have had a busy year with lots going on. At the start of the year, we had a complete re-brand with a new logo and colours, to represent the many different elements of the business and the direction we are taking it. We are now holding an open day on Friday, December 1st to wrap up this exciting year. For this day we are opening the whole building, allowing customers to see how we operate behind the scenes. We are also offering a sneak peek into the new clothing range we have been busy working on and the much-anticipated Generation V Belt Kit, alongside some other new products. There will be reps from a few select new companies whose range of products we are now adding alongside ours. We will be offering 10% off on the day, in-store only, and handing out gift bags to our first 50 sales of the day."
Celebrating 30 years for JayJays is a huge accomplishment, and one Roberta looks back on fondly. "We are proud to have served our country both around the globe and on home territory. We have many years of combined service and now use this experience to ensure our products are fit for purpose and of sufficiently high quality, that we proudly offer a lifetime guarantee on our workmanship. It feels great to know that we have developed the business over the last 30 years to encompass everything that JayJays is now. Looking back on our journey, it all feels a little bit strange to see how we have progressed and grown. As a family-run business, we are all very invested and have poured many hours, blood, sweat and tears into this venture. As the family has evolved, so has the business. This is our baby!"