Success Stories

Shop 2 Wear secures funding

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James Lyons established Shop 2 Wear in 2010 in Poulton le Fylde to ensure a cost effective and reliable national clothes recycling service to local authorities, waste management companies and charities. As well as environmental benefits, the recycling of clothes has an important social and economic role to play. Clothes’ recycling in the UK provides an affordable source of clothing to disadvantaged people in the developing world and emerging countries in Eastern Europe.

James has extensive experience of working with a number of different partners including charities, private and public sector and non-governmental organisations. His commercial partnerships with charities cover kerbside collections and textile bank schemes.

The business model takes bulk deliveries of clothes which have been collected by charity shops and other sources, these are sorted and re-bundled. The items are sorted by garment and fabric type to facilitate resale as clothes or material such as felts to be recycled.

The 10,000 sq foot factory in Poulton le Fylde is laid out with a bulk feed conveyor with a gantry on either side on which the operators stand. They identify and segregate the items transferring them into the appropriate bins depending on the fabric type.

Regenerates Role

New contracts have been offered to sell certain items to third world countries but logistics at the receiving end of the chain can only manhandle, so the maximum bundle size needs to be 55kg. These contracts will pay £1.50 per kg if the items are delivered in small bundles rather than rather than £1.00 per kg. If Shop2Wear can supply such bundles James is confident that they can secure £850,000 pa of sales.

Standard bailing machines are available but it is unusual to form such small bundles as common practice in the developed world is to handle much larger units. To capitalise on this market opportunity the company needs to find a way to bail in 55kg bundles. James contacted the Lancashire Innovation Network for assistance.

Regenerates advisor was able to assist the company to produce the requirement specification for the design of the machine and to search for possible suppliers.

The Lancashire Innovation Network helped with the supplier selection process and part funded the design of the new machinery. After only a few months of development work, the new bailing machine was successfully completed.

Impact

Through this development, the company secured the additional sales contracts predicted. Shop2wear are now the only company in the region able to offer smaller bailing facilities and this will contribute significantly to their future growth plans.