The European textiles business has long been dominated by cheap imports from the Far East, but Wooltex UK has found a lucrative niche, concentrating on premium fabrics for the office and seating markets, as well as the window-blind sector. Over the last five years it has almost tripled its revenues, from just over £6m in 2010 to £17.5m in 2014.
“Our philosophy has always been to focus on sectors of the industry that have barriers to entry for low-cost offshore producers, which means concentrating on high-quality, high-specification performance fabrics for which customers demand short delivery times,” says Peter Timmins, Founder and Managing Director. “The combination of a mainly local supply chain and lean manufacturing principles allow this to be achieved competitively.
“More than 90% of our products are exported, mainly to the EU. As an export-led company, our competitiveness is affected a great deal by the exchange rate of the pound. Long-term investment in plant, people and infrastructure are all key to boosting competitiveness.”
£17.5m – Wooltex’s revenues in 2014 – up from just over £6m in 2010
Wooltex’s biggest problem in recent years has been keeping up with continually increasing customer demand as it has lacked space for expansion and had trouble recruiting people with the necessary skills, but that is about to change.
“We are currently undergoing a big expansion of our manufacturing capability to both increase capacity and to allow us to do more in-house processing rather than using outside subcontractors,” says Peter. “We expect to create a further 50 to 60 jobs over the next two to three years.”
- Sector: Textile Manufacturing
- Region: Calderdale & Kirklees