It’s early January and while we’re excited about what 2020 will bring, it’s also satisfying to look back on everything we achieved in 2019.
We had a busy year and often it felt like we couldn’t keep up with everything we wanted to do. But we’ve done our best and will look forward to another year of exciting plans and developments to come.
None of it would have been possible without the independent retailers we supply, in shops, on markets, online and mail order. Many have been loyal customers since the very beginning and their continuing support is vital to our business.
Equally important are all our individual customers who love all things wool and responsibly sourced country clothing, buying either via the shops we supply or direct from us. Your love and support, feedback and patience is helping us become a better company.
Here are some of the highlights:
We launch new products every year to refresh our range but couldn’t have been happier at the success of our Dales sheep jumpers. Based on a design we first made in the late 80s our first batch sold out within 3 days! We didn’t anticipate how popular they would be with both the fantastic retail shops we supply and individuals ordering online. Made in the North of England with British Wool, they should easily last the wearer 30 years.
Our employee Rose
We were absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Rose back to the warehouse in January to work with us part time. Rose worked with us over 10 years ago when we had a retail shop and got straight back into it, sending out orders, managing stock and helping to run our office. She played and continues to be an essential part in building processes and efficiencies as we grow our online retail. Her handwritten notes fit perfectly with the sort of brand we want to be and she manufactures bespoke sheep drawstring bags on her sewing machine for our retail orders.
Work trips don’t come better than the opportunity to meet the distributors and retailers we supply on the other side of the world. In 10 days in Tokyo, Kyoto and Himeji, we experienced generous hospitality, met some fantastic people, explored a beautiful country and gained some new customers who we look forward to growing our business with in the future. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of British Wool in Japan and the Department of International Trade. We can’t wait to go back and introduce new products designed for our Japanese customers.
Great British Entrepreneur Awards
In 2019 we were nominated for our first ever award recognising our business development over the past few years and plans to continue to grow a great British country wear brand. Sadly we didn’t make it to the grand final, but it was a great endorsement from successful entrepreneurs and business owners that we’re doing the right thing.
We launched our first retail website in 2018. After looking at our whole business it was clear that to survive for another 30 years we needed both our loyal wholesale customers as well as the ability to reach consumers direct. 2019 saw us further develop our website with the help of Harry, Emily and the whole team at Huddle in Manchester. We then ran a dedicated project from July to December – Hannah at Han Communications helped us grow our brand through PR, reaching media across the country and sharing our unique brand proposition and message while Faye Levi helped us develop and run a full marketing plan engaging with our current customers and reaching new people to further grow and develop our online offering.
We commissioned some new photos of all our products to help show off the quality of the range and materials. We had great fun with Sarah Glynn Photography and all her lovely models, creating photos that you will see across our website and catalogue in 2020. We look forward to working with her team again.
Three Peaks Project
We embroidered the Three Peaks Project logo featuring our local mountains onto our Yorkshire made lambswool scarves with all the profits from the sale going to charity. We haven’t added up the exact total yet but hope to be able to make a donation in the next few weeks that will go some way to supporting their mountain ranger for another year, maintaining the paths and our local environment. Find out more here.
We’ve always tried to be environmentally friendly with our packaging and recycling wherever possible. Unfortunately plastic has still played a big part with most items stored in clear bags. While we still have a long way to go, this year we’ve developed and manufactured two new boxes for our scarves and gloves. Both made from recyclable FSC approved cardboard and also made in Yorkshire which keeps transport to a minimum. We’ve trialled paper bags for retail orders (read more about that here) and we now have recyclable swing tags on many products explaining what makes our products different.
Richard is still putting the finishing touches to our second warehouse, originally a stable that we’ve converted and where we hope to be finishing all our sheepskin rugs in 2020. Now we have both a converted cow barn and stable, what’s next?! (don’t answer that).
We hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and New Year, we can’t wait to speak to all our customers both in the trade and retail in 2020 and spread the Glencroft love to more people around the world.