As a small business consultant I work with a myriad of businesses and get involved in many different scenarios.
Here’s part 2 of my client case studies, illustrating a business looking to expand to increase its social impact as well as growing as a sustainable business proposition…..
I met Dave from The Warm Age Wood Company in the last quarter of 2015 and was blown away by the concept that they offered. I knew I just had to get involved.
A social enterprise / community interest business, The Warm Age Wood Company centres around the formation of packed wood briquettes made from 100% recycled waste wood, a by-product of manufacture from FSC managed forestry sources. There are two types of wood briquettes, hardwood and bark which offer different burn properties and for every 10 packs sold one pack is donated to the local community to help those who perhaps cannot afford to heat their homes or more often to an older person to help keep them ‘warm and well’ in the cold winter.
Alongside, Warm Age have also launched a wool based ‘arm’ to the business. By engaging local knitters and crocheters, sourcing (mostly British) fine yarns, often from the local area of Teesdale they have created a fabulous social support network for people in the local community and kept alive the beautiful process of handcrafting with a wide selection of beautiful bespoke items of clothing, bags, doorstops and even tea pot warmers.
Our initial discussions centred around how Dave and his partner Gerardine could grow the business both as an enterprise and in respect of its social impact
My initial proposals pinpointed a robust pricing structure as a critical factor for the business that could be implemented across the wool side; given the briquettes were pretty much already setup.
I suggested a structure around the quality of wool, the weight, the skill and the time involved in making each item. Using this formula resulted in an acceptable pricing structure on every line rather than just a blanket price across the board irrelevant of any additional costs involved which were inevitable given that each piece was truly unique.
- development of the website to really shout about the bespoke offer that Warm Age were giving already to the discerning customer, with updated photography, blogs to describe what events they had attended and what was new within the wools and processes they employed
- funding recommendations for greater support of the growing business;
- the development of a strapline campaign ‘warm hand, warm heart’ for a festive gift box containing briquettes, firelighters, matches and a wee dram of whiskey to generate a talking point and PR around the fabulous support that the briquettes offered our local community
- networking and introductions to guest houses and colour ‘gurus’ to expand the network pools that Dave & Gerardine could work within
- and finally a heritage programme for a local venue who wanted to look at workshops and activities for certain holiday periods and the like.
The Warm Age Wood Company continue to work hard in developing their growth plans and their offer to their customers and I am delighted to have been involved in working with them to date, and to have purchased items for gifts myself.
If you haven’t heard about The Warm Age Wood Company or seen what they have to offer, have a look for yourself at www.warm-age.com.
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