A PRODUCER of traditional luxury woollen clothing in Yorkshire, Glencroft Countrywear, has been announced amongst the north west regional finalists of this year’s NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
The awards acknowledge the hard work and inspiring stories of entrepreneurs and businesses from across the United Kingdom. Glencroft has been shortlisted in the Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year category alongside seven other finalists from the north west.
Set up by Richard and Justina Sexton in 1987, Glencroft produces responsibly sourced wool and sheepskin clothing, accessories and homeware products from their converted cow barn in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Over 30 years on Richard still hand trims 200 British sheepskins a week and his son, Edward, who returned from London six years ago to build a business fit for the future, is now also at the helm.
With a background in marketing, Edward is creating a strong brand based on solid family values and has expanded Glencroft into online and offline retail and into new international markets including Japan and the US – a strategy which helped to deliver 14 per cent profit in 2018 with hopes for continued growth over the next few years.
Edward said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be recognised in this way. Glencroft is much more than just a woolly jumper - we’re not about fast fashion, we’re a brand with products you can trust just as much as the one your granny knitted for you.
“Our customers are at the heart of all that we do, and this is reflected in the personal service we provide and the customer loyalty we retain - some even come back 20 years after they first purchased their flat cap - not because theirs has worn out, just because they want a different colour!”
Glencroft produces a variety of traditional and modern products from knitwear, flat caps, beanies and bobble hats, to scarves, gloves and sheepskin rugs - all manufactured in the UK and Europe using natural materials such as British Wool, sheepskin and Harris Tweed.
“Being shortlisted for the family business award recognises the hard work my parents have invested in the business over the last 30 years. It also allows us to benefit from the eco-system of business support that these prestigious awards provide and we’re incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to connect with the other businesses shortlisted – past and present.”
Revealing the finalists, founder of the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Francesca James, said: “With the changes to the format of the Awards, 2019 was always going to be an exciting year for us. But looking at the shortlist, I can safely say this is our strongest year yet. We have such a diverse range of businesses in terms of size and industry, and the calibre really is quite incredible.
“I wish each and every single finalist the very best of luck, and look forward to welcoming them to the regional finals.”
The judging panel includes Holly Tucker MBE, founder of notonthehighstreet.com and Holly & Co, as well as Cath Kidston MBE of renowned brand Cath Kidston Ltd.
Announcement of the regional north west winners will take place on 15 October at an informal ‘beers and street food’ event in Manchester. A more formal black-tie ceremony for the national final will take place in London on 21 November.
Gordon Merrylees, director of entrepreneurship at NatWest, said: “NatWest is proud to support the Great British Entrepreneur Awards celebrating another year of amazing achievements for entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses from every corner of the country.
“Supporting entrepreneurs is a key priority for NatWest and our dedicated programme of fully funded accelerator hubs, mentoring, insight and bespoke coaching, is specifically designed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs who want to start, scale and succeed in business. Congratulations to everyone who has been shortlisted for an award and I look forward to the competitive regional finals.”