Based in the UK, Orranje, pronounced orange, are one of the leading suppliers and manufacturers of performance and styling products for the BMW MINI.
In September 2008, two friends, Richard Phillips and Richard Everitt, would meet most weekends to work on each other’s R53 GP and R53 JCW, and it wasn't long before they decided to develop their own parts for the MINI community after successfully selling custom gaiters and flocked interior pieces on various forums.
In February 2010, a scrap R53 was purchased to rebuild and to use to develop parts on, and using Phillips' GP they created their own versions of the GP interior panels (minus the shopping bar) and rear bumper trim. During this time, James Baker, a member of the MINI community, got in touch about some products for his project R53, and met with Everitt and Phillips. Baker continued to meet with Everitt and Phillips on a weekly basis, and “Saturday Club” was born.
Everitt, Phillips and Baker had wanted a GP spoiler on their own cars but the cost from MINI was prohibitive and had to be ordered using a GP chassis code, so decided to develop their own version of the GP spoiler, allowing it to fit onto a standard first gen MINI without requiring unique GP pieces like the rear boot glass (which has cut outs to allow the GP spoiler to be installed). In August 2010, it was ready for testing, but unfortunately the spoiler failed due to the brittle GRP sides cracking from the flex during normal road use.
Nigel Brown contacted Everitt and Phillips in September 2010, requiring race parts for his car. They set to work on moulding doors, bonnets and boots in GRP, and led to discussions between Everitt, Phillips, Baker and Brown about setting up as a business. After much head scratching over a business name, their initials, RRNJ was banded around as an option. Phillips, with his creative mind, mentioned that it resembled the word 'orange', and with the addition of a few extra letters, the name 'Orranje' was born.
Work continued on the GP style wing, and in December 2010 a plastic prototype was ready to be tested to destruction. This model was put through its paces, was proven to withstand hot and cold climates, and more importantly, did not crack during flexing. Although the wing was successful, the finished plastic sides needed work to be at a standard that the guys would be happy to install on their own cars. A lot of time and money was spent on perfecting the sides, and a CAD designed and CNC machined solid aluminium tool was created to ensure they were perfect every single time.
Brown decided he wanted to focus on race parts, so parted ways from the other guys.
Another member of the MINI community, Oli Mortimer, met up with the guys after meeting with Everitt for assistance in replacing the side sills on a classic Mini, and joined the “Saturday Club”.
During 2011 and 2012, Everitt, Phillips and Baker continued to make and ship items in their spare time. To take the company to the next level was a challenge due to the team all upholding full time jobs.
In 2013, Baker had to make a hard choice between continuing with Orranje, and his family and career. Ultimately it was best for all to leave the company in Philips hands. Philips had mostly been running the business alone and Everitt had little input other than guidance and support. Later on in the year Everitt handed the business over to Phillips, as Phillips was not happy with his full time job. Phillips focused on growing the business, and becoming a great asset to the MINI community through forums, social media, and social events. Everitt continued to help with new designs, including the first adjustable G-Wing and several other products, and Mortimer helped Phillips expand Orranje, by developing a new website, allowing people to order directly rather than via emails.
During 2014, Orranje was on track for its best year yet. Sales were flowing in and times were great. It was this year Phillips found out he had cancer. Orranje continued to trade, with Phillips not wanting to stop helping customers, even whilst receiving treatment. The business started to slow and eventually Everitt and Mortimer stepped in to put the business on hiatus to stop Phillips trying to work when he needed to focus on getting better.
It was in August 2015 when Phillips passed away from his battle with cancer. It was devastating news to everyone, not only to friends and family, but throughout the MINI community. The community arranged for a large convoy of MINIs to follow his hearse to the funeral, and to say their last goodbyes to an amazing guy.
Before he passed away, Phillips asked Mortimer to take on the business, and to continue with the Orranje brand. Starting with a blank slate, other than the Orranje name and the legacy that Phillips had left behind, Mortimer rebuilt the company alongside his full-time job.
In May 2017, Orranje had become more than a part time business once more, and Mortimer quit his job to focus on running Orranje full-time.
Since late 2015, Orranje has grown from a couple of shelves and a desk in the corner of Mortimer’s garage, to a thriving business running from a small storage unit, until recently moving into a larger business unit with plenty of space to grow.
In 2017 Orranje won the Modern MINI Magazine award for ‘Best Independent Tuner / Specialist’, as voted for by Modern MINI Magazine readers, and continues to grow from strength to strength, building on their ethos of being a friendly and approachable company, dedicated to supplying quality and affordable parts.