[T]his cold wet January has been a busy period for Simon Wood at The Warm Welly Company, but it was his interview on BBC 4 Farming Today that has caused the biggest spike in sales of warm wellies.
Cumbrian reporter Caz Graham visited ‘Warm Wellies’ at Walton, to discover all things wellies and interview farming entrepreneur Simon Wood who moved from sheep to warm wellies. It has just been aired on the Radio 4 BBC Farming Today programme as part of a feature on how farmers broaden businesses to bring in extra income.
The interview began with Caz Graham setting the scene “It’s freezing – we’re in a wet farmyard in North East Cumbria and my feet, even with two pairs of locally sourced gorgeously knitted woolly socks inside my wellies, are like little blocks of ice. It was just this kind of frozen feet scenario that pushed Simon in to the world of insulated welly sales.”
Simon Wood said “We explained how we began 11 years ago, wanting to produce warm wellies for our kids, so they wouldn’t cry over frozen toes when on the farm with us at lambing time. Things quietly grew, then 3 years ago, in 2015, we decided really did have a business that we could take forward.
“In this day and age, a farm of 150 acres can struggle to be feasible. We took the bold decision to sell our sheep and concentrate most of our time on the Warm Welly business. I loved my sheep, I loved farming but at the end of the day, you’ve got to make things viable, you’ve got to make a living out of whatever you do – and we can see real potential in this market.”
This autumn, Simon has invested in marketing instead of livestock with promising results. Monthly orders have increased dramatically, and sales have doubled compared to last year.
Most sales are children’s wellies – in green and purple, but because of the programme, a record number of men’s wellies are being shipped out to customers across the UK.
The extreme interest on the website took Simon a by surprise, he said “We’ve had a huge response to the broadcast. It went on air the day I was helping a neighbouring farmer scan sheep. My phone pings when an order or enquiry comes in and it went crazy. It was a good day for us all because the scanning revealed a high percentage of twins for my neighbour in the spring too!
“I was initially surprised to see that we had so many more orders for men’s wellies than we’ve had in the past, but talking to customers, it appears they see me as a farmer and a professional welly wearer – an advocate for warm wellies.”
Simon has also been contacted by a Cumbrian school, looking to explore future projects – something that’s becoming second nature as they are already working closely with several Forest Schools across the country.
To Listen again – click here for the BBC 4 Farming Today programme with the Warm Wellies feature starting 4 minutes into the programme. You can find out more about Warm Wellies at www.warmwellies.co.uk