A change of farming focus as ‘Warm Wellies’ business grows
Simon Wood a Cumbrian farmer (from Walton, near Carlisle), is celebrating a decade of diversification as his ‘Warm Wellies’ business continues to grow. The Warm Welly Company designs and sells neoprene lined ‘Warm Wellies’ for children – the first to do so in the UK. Simon is now focusing more farming time on growing the welly business, switching attention from crops and livestock to become The Welly Farmer.
In 2006 Simon discovered a gap in the welly market and did something about it. His children were small and spent a great deal of time ‘helping’ on the farm, getting bitterly cold feet in winter and at lambing time. Simon explained “We had four little ones so there were lots of tears over frozen toes. We could never find wellies warm enough to stop the inevitable twining - no matter how many pairs of socks they wore, so we decided to design our own.
“Our aim was to create wellies that are warm and comfortable, so our kids could stay outdoors longer and allowing us all to enjoy country life. We wore neoprene lined wellies and felt the kids deserved the same warm feet too - so that’s where the design for “Warm Wellies” began.”
With so many family and friends available to road and river test the wellies, the design has been tweaked over time. All their wellies are lined with 4mm of neoprene (optimum for comfort without clumsiness) and the children’s wellies include reflective strips on the welly loops for extra safety.
They have been quiet innovators. It’s now a decade since their first order and sales have grown steadily from their website (www.warmwellies.co.uk) whilst Simon managed the farm. In the last year, customers were asking for adult wellies so in the autumn they launched a complimentary range of Warm Wellies for adults. Now is the time for Simon to focus more on Wellies and less on the farm, so he has made the decision to let his land and cultivate warm wellies.
Commenting on people who buy Warm Wellies, Simon said “Our customers are located right across the UK. They are keen on family interaction and enjoying woods, walks and water. They aren’t afraid of getting muddy. Like us, they appreciate the value of keeping kid’s feet warm and they know the outdoors can be fun all year round if you wear the right gear. We’re also fortunate to work with Forest Schools from London to Glasgow because their pupils enjoy living and learning in Warm Wellies all year.”
There’s growth potential in this market - children’s feet can keep growing until the age of 21 which means customer loyalty is valued highly. “We can tell how old the family is by the changing size of their wellies and as ours are made to last, we’re told they’re often recycled as hand-me-downs too.”
Warm Wellies is based in the heart of Cumbria on a traditional farm and uses farming family and friends as models. To find out more visit www.warmwellies.co.uk or contact Simon Wood on 016977 41937.