How we've helped The Natural Fibre Company
The specialist spinning mill for British wools, mohair and alpaca. Woollen, worsted, organic spinning and dyeing.
Having put the foundations in place we’re now pursuing our strategic vision. There is a strong focus on capability and customer fulfilment for us, we can’t be all things for all people, but we can certainly provide a customised end product that people might be unable to find elsewhere.
How we helped
The Natural Fibre Company transformation story may only be in its infancy however it is a story well on its way to being one of great success.
The Natural Fibre Company is a spinning mill based in Launceston, turning raw fleece into high quality yarn, providing a range of specialist services including scouring, carding, woollen and worsted spinning and organic processing. Blacker Yarns produces breed specific British yarn in a variety of contemporary colour palettes and weights, sold to the consumer through its website and in collaboration with stockists in the UK and overseas.
When Colin Spencer Halsey was invited into the business in April 2019 to work alongside the existing owners, there was no secret of the fact that it was a distressed business.
“By December of 2019 we concluded that the initial turnaround was by and large complete, but turnarounds are temporary. The business needed a transformation, so the strategic conversation then developed resulting in taking over the company with my co-director/investor Graham Higgins,” he said.
Just as things were starting to get rolling, the COVID pandemic struck and like so many other sectors, manufacturing was hit hard.
“Nobody anticipated the pandemic and its impact on small business, so our transformation agenda ground to a halt and we were left in limbo for nearly a year,” Colin said.
With the business now back on its feet and its 16 full-time staff back to work, The Natural Fibre Company has begun working with the Skills Hub to see it equipped for its future way of working.
“Investing in our people is fundamental to our strategy, but there was a limit to what we could do internally so that is why we reached out to the Growth and Skills Hub.
“Transformation and change are best delivered through people, you have to get their buy in and listen to their frustrations, and what came from that was the fact that we have a skills deficit,” Colin said.
As well as up-skilling and re-training their team, Blacker Yarns was the recipient of an Access To Growth Fund grant, allowing them to hire a digital strategist who has provided a clear dashboard and roadmap for all things e-commerce related.
“Having put the foundations in place we’re now pursuing our strategic vision. There is a strong focus on capability and customer fulfilment for us, we can’t be all things for all people, but we can certainly provide a customised end product that people might be unable to find elsewhere,” Colin said.
Pushing for £1 million turnover in the next 24 months, there is no better way to spin it than to say that The Natural Fibre Company is well on its way to being a thriving Cornish company.
The Natural Fibre Company is the trading name of Blacker Sheep Ltd and Blacker Yarns Ltd.