A range of sustainable packaging is produced by Woolcool.

Stone-based company, Woolcool speaks on facing their first crisis, the challenges of running a family business and the importance of learning lessons.

Woolcool is a Staffordshire-based packaging company, founded in 2008. The company manufactures a range of sustainable insulated packaging, such as bags , boxes, envelopes and pouches for the food and pharmaceutical sectors. Instead of using man-made polystyrene in the company’s supply chain, Woolcool manufacture their products using 100% pure wool.

Woolcool’s Managing Director, Josie Morris:

“We’ve been really lucky as we’ve experienced uplift in sales. I know there are a lot of businesses that are suffering so I’m very grateful and very humble. It’s been really hard work, especially with a skeleton staff and managing a warehouse with social distancing measures. I’ve had a severe lack of sleep as I’ve been working 12-14-hour days for the last month or so, but I can’t complain.

“We were growing anyway. That said, only a small percentage of food in the UK is bought online and, as not everyone can or wants to go to the shops as normal, we’ve benefitted from companies moving to delivery, which requires more packaging.”

Since incorporation, back in 2008, Woolcool has grown and now employs close to 40 members of staff. In that time the company has worked with companies such as John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason, Innocent and Unilever. The company has recently been accredited as a ‘Certified B Corporation’ and facilitates a circular economy scheme that enables customers to return the wool so that it can be reused in new packages.

“Around 20% of our business is export, mostly to Europe. There has been a bit of a delay in shipping to customers but, overall, we haven’t been affected. I have to hand it to the haulage companies – they’re keeping things going. I was planning to go out to the US to recce how we can grow our business there in the future, but that is obviously on hold for now.

“We have furloughed four or five high-risk individuals, but we won’t claim any of the other support unless we experience financial hardship – I think the money is needed elsewhere. Ultimately, if you claim money and you don’t really need it, you will find that you will pay it back elsewhere anyway. I believe in good business karma.”