Pure Lakes in Staveley, Cumbria, manufactures eco-friendly skin care products from natural ingredients. The range includes soaps, bath products, lotions, face creams for different skin types and shampoos, conditioners, and products for cyclists and walkers.
The business was acquired by Gareth and Claire McKeever from 2014, after being founded in 2007 by Sandra and Iain Blackburn.
Gareth says: “I moved to Kendal from London. Whilst I was here I met Claire, my future wife, who comes from Ulverston.
“We went back to London but when our little boy, Angus, was born in 2012 we decided to come back to Cumbria with the idea of either setting up or buying a business. We wanted to do something together full-time that gave us flexibility with a young family.”
At the time of acquisition, annual turnover was just under £100,000 but the couple had ambitions to grow the business and turned to their local business support service, Cumbria Business Growth Hub, for help.
The Hub suggested that they access the Manufacturing Growth Fund - a grant to support small and medium manufacturing businesses. They would work with a specialist Manufacturing Advisor who would assess the businesses best opportunities for growth and increased productivity.
Gareth explains: “Our Advisor provided very useful insights. We identified two areas [for growth], business development and marketing.”
Together they devised a consultancy project, with 30% of the cost being covered by the Manufacturing Growth Fund. This would be used to develop a strategy for business development and a marketing plan to reach new audiences and develop an e-commerce strategy which would open up the option to sell directly to customers.
Gareth and Claire worked with their Advisor to appoint the most appropriate consultant to deliver the project. This saw the business focusing on three markets with the greatest potential for growth.
Gareth adds: “We have three routes to market. Direct sales to hotels, through local retailers, and direct to consumers online.
“The business development strategy, to ensure we develop our markets carefully and don’t stretch too far, is complete and has enabled us to view the future with greater clarity and focus on the important opportunities.
“The marketing strategy, which touched on both packaging and our new website, is nearly complete and will launch imminently.
“We are already growing quite significantly with new hotels on board such as Low Wood Bay and the Brimstone in Langdale. That has been a game changer. The project has helped us enormously.”
The Cumbria Manufacturing Service offers grant funding to small and medium enterprises operating in Cumbria.
There is fully-funded support available for manufacturing businesses across the North West. To find out how it can help your business grow head to www.manufacturingnorthwest.com