Animal wear specialist AniMac is already generating significant global growth after taking part in the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Innovation Clinic, and receiving Growth Mentoring support from Boost.
Founder Nathan Thorowgood, who came to the North West from New Zealand in 2016, is well on his way to achieving international success, having secured sales in Africa, Switzerland, Germany, France, Ireland and Australia.
Lancashire-based AniMac designs and supplies functional and cost-effective animal wear, ranging from calf coats to horse rugs. Nathan is also working with one of the UK’s leading agricultural suppliers, Carrs Billington, to create and develop their own brand of calf coats.
A working relationship with the UK’s leading agricultural suppliers was key to a successful first year of trading. During this time, Nathan visited farms, spoke with customers and trialled various samples before delivering Carrs Billington with their own branded calf coat.
The support delivered
After undergoing a business support review with the team at Boost, Nathan was introduced to UCLan project, Unite+. In turn this led to him being referred to another Boost programme at UCLan’s Innovation Clinic because he was looking for support with the development of a new product range.
Support delivered by UCLan’s Innovation Clinic featured a tailored 1-2-1 programme with specialist advice and practical concept design work from product design specialist Rory Southworth.
The support activity included competitor and sector analysis; literature review of academic research into animal health; brainstorming to consider opportunities to elevate product and brand value; development of design concepts and brand language; producing a tech pack and product specification; and evaluation and feedback on samples.
Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The benefits for the business
Nathan said: “Working with Rory and the team at the Innovation Clinic was a great experience. They all have their own strengths which helped make this project a success. I already had knowledge about the products and textiles from my previous background. However, I did not have experience with the branding and the finishing touches on product design which these guys were brilliant at.
“There was a clear leap from my first product to the products I have coming in this season in terms of looks and branding and I look forward to how this continues to develop into the future.”
Nathan added: “The UK is a centre of global business and we are proud of what the business has achieved in a short space of time. Hopefully the next 12 months will see AniMac move deeper into Europe and work with more established businesses, helping them develop their own brand of calf coats.”
Rory commented: “The support has helped the AniMac brand elevate to a professional level through upgrading the branding and infographics that effectively explain the benefits of the calf coats to the farmer.
“This should help farmers make decisions if a calf coat is the right method to help them improve their farm performance.”
This upbeat assessment was underscored by Jim McRobert, Regional Branch Manager at Carrs Billington. Jim said: “Nathan was very knowledgeable in terms of materials and how certain features would affect the final product. Not only did we get our own branded product, it was better quality and better priced than what we could source from local wholesalers. We look forward to working with Nathan in the future and possibly developing more products under the Carrs Billington brand.”
Following on from the support from UCLan, Boost is now providing support to Nathan through the Growth Mentoring programme to help him export his products to even more countries, working in partnership with the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.