Case Study – CorkSol UK Limited

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When did CorkSol start trading?

April 2017

Who started the business?

Jonathan Ward, Paul Hemingway, Jamie Orr

Tell us what you do and how you do it?

We believe that all industries require innovation to advance. We therefore look to bring innovative and sustainable products to the UK construction market. Our business is based around the amazing material that is cork. We offer a sprayed cork material which started out life as an alternative to thin coat render.

In the time we have worked with this material we have seen new application areas form, from energy efficiency through thermal insulation to acoustic insulation to fire resistance.

We develop these areas to allow our Approved Applicators to expand their business as well. We have added other sustainable products to our range which can be offered by our Approved Applicators, and we are always looking for others.

We also manage the CorkSol Approved Applicator scheme. Only those trained by CorkSol are able to buy our product and offer it to their customers.

We cherish the product we have and will always maintain its quality by having only the best applicators applying it. This ensures the end customer receives the highest quality product and service at all times. This may seem restrictive to a small business but is something we never compromise on.

Who buys your product / service?

We only supply CorkSol Approved Applicators with our products. Some of these Applicators have taken on the product as the core of their business, others offer only as an alternative. All of these are independent companies who are the core of our business. However being a supplier to larger, national construction companies would be a game changer for our business.

What makes your business stand out from your competitors?

As we only supply Approved Applicators we know our customers personally. We make a commitment to them to protect the quality and the brand, as they commit to us in becoming Approved and becoming a part of the CorkSol community.

What are the main strength/s of your business?

We are fortunate to have a quality product which has extremely strong eco credentials. We see that the construction sector in the UK needs to, and will, embrace more sustainable materials and especially those which bring energy efficiencies. We are strengthening this product range to capitalise on this need and to ensure our customers have access to these sustainable materials.

What are the values that drive your business?

We have a passion to build a ‘team’ amongst our customers. We do not see them just as customers, we see them as an integral part of the CorkSol team. We can only grow our business with these Approved Applicators behind us, and in return we hope we can help these companies also grow.

What’s your favourite business book and why?

Big Ideas for small businesses by John Lamerton. We are a small business. We have aspirations to be a larger business, as many of us do, however it is very easy for small business owners to get caught up in the business they are trying to run. This book reminded me why I was doing what I am doing and what I can attempt to put in place to grow my business without sacrificing other things which mean so much to me.

What is the most useful lesson you’ve learned through experience?

Since I first set up my business, I have learnt that change is the most essential part of development. I would be amazed if anyone’s first business has been an overnight success. I am convinced that you need to accept that you will make mistakes and that, without the understanding that you will need to change path at some stage, you will fail. Once I had accepted that, we have become more successful, and yet I am always open minded to the need for further changes.

What is the main mistake to avoid in future?

Allowing others to take advantage. As a small business we are constantly looking to survive and hopefully grow. There are many people out there who see that and look to exploit your desire to succeed, whilst at the same time benefiting themselves. We must be strong enough to walk away from that business, no matter how hard it seems at the time.

Which business success are you most proud of?

Two and a half years ago, I made the decision to quit. I then convinced myself that the product was good and the market receptive to it. What I had to do was find a new business model. By putting myself in an environment I was wholly uncomfortable with I was able to meet people who led to us changing that model and building a business, small as we are at the moment, which has real prospects. Still being here now is a huge success for us, and something I will forever be proud of.

What are your future ambitions?

We are in a phase of our growth where we could possibly move to the next level of business. There are significant challenges ahead to achieve that, mainly around financing that growth. However, we in the UK need to embrace sustainability and I genuinely believe that we will in the coming years. Therefore, with the right plan in place we aim to significantly grow the business in the coming months, focusing as much on the National and International customer as much as the fantastic network we have built and cherish.

 CorkSol Product Approval

 CorkSol Certified Applicator Programme


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Yorkshire Powerhouse, Case Studies

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