Frugi design, manufacture and supply fair-trade, organic clothing for children and mums-to-be.
The Coaching for High Growth programme was known to Lucy Jewson, founder director of Frugi, as she had been invited by SWRDA to be a member of the selection panel that appointed Oxford Innovation as the delivery partner for the programme.
Frugi faced a number of growth challenges. The business was fast out-growing its farm-based premises and desperately needed space for both staff and increasing stock. In addition needed in developing a revised marketing and sales strategy that included web site development and optimisation. As with all growing businesses, there was a need to address the difficulties associated with the team, existing and new staff issues, development and training, and all this whilst running to keep up with the growing.
The Grow Cornwall team has supported the management team in a number of ways. Coach, Peter Haycocks, provides 1-2-1 coaching for Lucy, the MD. Lucy comments: “Coaching sessions with Peter helped me decide on a way forward with the decision to move to new premises. Peter acted as a sounding board, giving me confidence in the decisions that I made.”
Other members of the Oxford Innovation team facilitated vision, strategy and branding workshops to help the Frugi team formulate a well-defined 5 year growth plan and a brand image with core company values that would underpin the growth of the business. Coaches with financial expertise provided expert mentoring on a number of parallel financial issues faced by the business. The broad range of expertise offered by the Oxford Innovation team allows experienced coaches to be introduced to the business as specific needs are identified.
External e-commerce expert, Andrew Wilson, was brought in by the programme to help Frugi’s marketing team optimize their catalogue and website layout, helping to drive direct sales from the website that would secure the continued growth required to support the costs of expansion.
Frugi continues to grow at a significant rate (37% per year), having completed relocation to a purpose built unit that will meet space requirements for the foreseeable future. The Grow Cornwall programme has most recently assisted in the development of the business’s recruitment strategy and processes enabling an internally run recruitment assessment centre to fill senior positions. The programme continues to provide regular coaching to the MD who is an active member of one of the Director Peer Groups which the Grow Cornwall team facilitates to aid the personal development of senior managers and directors of Cornwall-based businesses.
Lucy says, of the support that she has received through the programme, “The help I’ve received from Oxford Innovation has been absolutely invaluable to us as a business and to me personally learning how to manage an ever-growing company. There are times when it’s quite a lonely thing making big decisions about the future and the responsibilities to the company and indeed your own family weigh very heavy at times. Having a sounding board that can actually offer a helpful ear and bring in specialist support where needed allows us to grow faster, with confidence and maybe with one or two less grey hairs!”
Lead Coach/Mentor: Peter Haycocks
Entrepreneur: Lucy Jewson