A Salford-based company that creates reusable crackers is enjoying the benefits of support from GM Business Growth Hub ahead of its busiest time of year.
Keep This Cracker was founded by Bea Thackeray in 2013 with the ambition of creating Christmas crackers that could be kept and reused to minimise waste.
With an estimated 100 million crackers pulled in the UK every year, that is enough to reach the North Pole eight times if laid end-to-end.
“My thinking was on how to create that product and to make it something people will want to use and keep,” said Bea. “I decided to do some product trials and tests to see whether it was something I could get manufactured at a larger scale here in the UK. That’s really where the idea came from.
“And then at one point I thought, now I need to go full time and give this a go. I’m tackling this from so many different angles. They come flat packed, which means that the packaging is minimal. The packaging is alsocompostable and reusable, you can store them away after you’ve used them back into the packaging. And one of the main advantages is you can put your own gifts inside. I’ve got customers that are telling me they’re still using them five years on.”
During the pandemic, Bea started to access support through webinars, before signing up for the EnterprisingYou programme through the Hub, and benefitting from support from experienced eco-innovation specialists.
She said: “It really helped having the initial assessment of where are my strengths are, and where are my weaknesses are. We identified a lot of inefficiencies in my business and I needed to streamline a lot of the operations.
“My business adviser on EnterprisingYou was great. He put me in touch with the departments I needed to speak to within the Business Growth Hub, such as the Eco Innovations team, which is how I ended up on Eco-FORCE workshops.
“From there I completed the Journey to Net Zero programme as well, which was fantastic because I’ve learnt how to write an environmental policy statement and put a plan in place. it’s been great learning curve.
“I’ve had a lot of advice from the Digital Innovation team. My brand new website went live in August. The team have helped with fine tuning and I have now added a trade shop where B2B customers can order direct. It’s been great to have that level of support.”
Bea’s plans for the future include expansion in 2024, supplying the hospitality industry and developing the corporate gifting side of the business which will give the product more exposure – as well as taking on additional staff or using third party resources to help with her production.
Yvonne Sampson, Head of Enterprise at GM Business Growth Hub, said: “Small businesses like Keep This Cracker have such an important role to play in our journey to net zero.
“They have the innovative ideas and drive to create products that will help us all reduce our own carbon footprints, so we are thrilled to help Bea continue to grow her business and get her crackers on more and more tables for many Christmases to come.”