Environmentally friendly solutions – Green Fence Ltd
In 1998 after many years working in the financial services sector, David Thompson made a bold career change. A keen environmentalist with a passion for sustainability he researched potential business opportunities in the renewables sector.
His endeavours highlighted the environmental and sustainable benefits of products made from British straws and miscanthus grass, in particular straw pellets.
Straw is 100% renewable, requires no pesticides, has high yield, encourages wildlife and has natural anti-bacterial properties.
Following extensive research and considerable product development David opted to enter the equine bedding market with straw pellets. After much personal investment into a building a new straw pellet factory, Pellet Beds was launched online, and today it’s the leading UK supplier of straw pellet equine bedding. A superior product to wood chip and straw in terms of both absorbency and in helping keep horses hooves healthy and free from infection.
The innovation focus
Equine bedding is a very autumn/winter seasonal product so David sought to find something to keep the factory busy in the spring and summer and so looked at the horticultural sector. His next product was a garden mulch using straw pellets. Feedback from Easy Mulch customers was very positive and also led to the next unexpected journey for the business. They reported that the use of the mulch led to a significant reduction in slug damage to nearby crops. Further investigations showed that slugs don’t like the spiky and ultra-absorbent surface of the straw.
Subsequently, the idea to create an anti-slug product based on straw pellets began, and many months of experimentation to perfect the formula followed. Slugless, an entirely new unique, innovative product to the horticulture market is 100% natural and harmless to slugs, pets and wildlife.
David came to Innovate2Succeed to assist with the launch and market entry of Slugless. With one-to-one support from his coach he worked on the development of both business and marketing plans, finance raising and a pricing strategy.
He also attended masterclasses on ideation, business evaluation, market analysis, product development and commercialisation. The business also received support from Focus Digital, an ERDF programme at CUE Business Solutions to develop digital branding.
Slugless launched in June 2017 at Gardeners’ World Live Exhibition at the NEC, and is now also available in garden centres nationally and online. It’s establishing itself in the market place as a viable eco-friendly alternative to other chemical based products.
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