There can be few families who have not at some point played with or been taught using a Cochranes model. Manufacturers of Construct-o-
Inspired by Harold Wilson’s ‘Export or die’ speech, John and Malcolm Cochrane MBE, together with their father Ralph, set up the company to manufacture products aimed at the export market and to use untapped local village labour. 50 years on, the company now operates from converted stables and barns in Oxfordshire and employs 10 people from the surrounding local area. It exports to more than 45 countries via an international distributor network plus a growing online business.
John Cochrane, Company Chairman, remembers the early days: "None of this happened overnight, funds were scarce and costs had to be kept under control: cars were the smallest that could do the job; a second hand ambulance visited our outworkers in the surrounding villages and once, myself and Margaret, my wife, slept in a tent on the wrong side of the tracks in Copenhagen when exhibiting at an international trade fair. But our ‘save up and then spend’ philosophy quickly took us out of the clutches of the banks, whilst we saw many of our competitors brought down by the sheer size of their expense accounts. With the Company now firmly under the direction of Tom Cochrane, the third generation is in control - bringing in new ideas but still keeping to the old philosophy."
As the company approaches its sixth decade amid some of the most challenging economic times in recent history, it is hoping to continue to grow through a combination of increased sales via existing channels and tapping into emerging new markets.
One of the company’s key attributes is its flexibility. Managing Director, Tom Cochrane notes: “One of our key selling points is our ability to be flexible. We retain much of our knowledge and production skills in house and as such can adapt to bespoke requirements alongside fulfilling orders for our standard products.”
Taking place alongside such momentous events as the 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Cochrane’s plans for celebration are a little more moderate.
“We have a few ideas that will roll out during the year and we plan to engage with our customers as much as possible via our new anniversary blog and other social media channels but in essence our focus is on continuing to grow the company and to offer the best customer service.” continued Tom.
As part of the celebrations, one lucky school will win one of the company's best selling products - an illuminated teaching model of the Sun, Earth and Moon.
You can read the anniversary blog postings, enter the schools competition and find out more about Cochranes of Oxford products at http://www.cochranes.co.uk.
About Cochranes of Oxford
Cochranes of Oxford Ltd design and manufacture teaching models, apparatus and kits for primary, secondary and university education in chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, mathematics, design and technology and early-years construction. Sold in more than 45 countries, the products are widely available through major educational catalogues and online at www.cochranes.co.uk.
For further information please contact:
Cochranes of Oxford
Tel: +44 (0) 1993 832868