Rutland retailer unveils US expansion plans following funding from Santander UK

Natural wool sleeping products and homeware company Woolroom has unveiled plans to expand internationally following funding from Santander UK.

Santander UK has provided the Rutland-based business with a six-figure funding package to support its plans to increase sales in the US. The package includes foreign exchange support, and the bank has provided Woolroom with international expertise to connect it with product distributors and home delivery partners in the US. Woolroom has also shifted its day-to-day banking to Santander UK.

The US market currently represents 25% of its sales and the business plans to grow this figure to 50% over the next three years.

Woolroom sells its products – including beds, mattresses, bedding, accessories, homeware and children’s sleep items – to clients through its four stores in the UK and via its website which attracts international customers particularly from the US and Europe, and print catalogue. It plans to extend its range of products with the launch of a woollen sleepwear line in July this year.

All the wool it uses in its products is sourced from UK farms and exclusively purchased directly from British Wool. The company aspires to create a safer, cleaner, healthier environment for sleep with sustainably sourced products. In 2020, it launched a traceable wool programme enabling customers to scan QR codes on their product and identify which specific UK farm the wool came from.

It is the increase in demand – particularly in the US market – for bedding products made from natural materials that is a major driving force in the growth of its business. Another factor propelling growth in sales is people spending more time at home during the pandemic and investing in products to make themselves comfortable. The company’s annual turnover has increased from £5.7m in August 2020 to £8.5m in August 2021 and it is targeting £12m this year.

Woolroom was founded in 2008, is based in Oakland, Rutland and employs a staff of 27. It plans to hire three additional staff over the next year as it grows. Last year, it won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which recognises outstanding achievement by UK businesses in innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The business has four stores in Ipswich, Marlow, Oakham, and Peak Village in Rowsley, Derbyshire.

Chris Tattersall, Woolroom Managing Director, said: “Santander UK is a true partner to our business, working hard to understand our vision, challenges and goals, and supporting us to move forward and grow profitably across all of our markets.”

Chris Kovacs, Relationship Director at Santander UK, said: “We are delighted to have become Woolroom’s banking partner, supporting the next phase of its growth strategy. Our international support solutions and funding package will help it expand further in the US market. The business has a fantastic ethos of delivering ethical and sustainable products and we look forward to working together to deliver growth globally.”

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