David Wolffe of Wolffepack Limited talks to Denise Beedell in the last of a series of articles featuring the winners from the FSB Celebrating Small Business London Area Finals held on 19 March.
Wolffepack Limited was the first venture of David Wolffe after he’d spent his early career working for large corporates.
He grew up in Birmingham and came to London for his first job after graduating in engineering.
For several years he developed his idea until he was able to turn them into reality, file his design patents, obtain capital through crowdfunder Kickstarter and see the first batch of products delivered into their UK warehouse in late 2015.
He was in completely new territory, having never started a company before, but his engineering degree and corporate world experience as a Finance Director gave him a great grounding.
The business was started initially from his home, but in early 2015 he moved to the fantastic and historic Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End, North London and he brought in local designers and freelancers to build the business.
He now employs eight people from his local community.
David said, “We have a really strong connection with our local community, and it has been great to be able to recruit locally.
“I love being my own boss as it gives me the freedom to move very quickly from ideas to action and I get intense satisfaction shaping a future for me and my team, making something from nothing and seeing the results of our work.
He continues, “It’s important to have the right mindset to be able to accept and learn as you go along, and to be comfortable with high levels of uncertainty. Every day is different; scary and exciting, often at the same time.”
Wolffepack has achieved great success and won 7 design awards across 4 continents, selling to over 25,000 customers in more than 50 countries.
Despite this, David said, “I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way and if I could change anything, I would have invested more and been quicker in developing the strength of the team. I carried too much on my own shoulders in the beginning and now recognise that I underestimated the team strengths.”
“My biggest challenges have been around knowing when the product was good enough to take to market, and then finding the best routes to market.
“Online marketing and social media have helped to drive success, although it is expensive and requires continual work, so we are looking to reduce our dependency on these channels.”
David has big plans for the future with new products launching in May and expansion into new territories including Eastern Europe and Asia, when he expects to take on more staff.
To relax and recharge he enjoys playing tennis and hockey and spending time with his family, which includes three teenage sons.
His favourite parts of his adopted city is around Hampstead, Hampstead Heath, and the vibrant Southbank, which provide a great connection with the river.
Wolffepack Ltd won the Business Exporter of the Year award in the 2018 FSB London Area finals and has been shortlisted in the FSB National Finals.