For those who aren’t familiar with Unleashed, the competition offered participants the chance to pitch an idea for a brand new ecommerce business that we would adopt as an agency and turn into a real-life brand on Shopify.
As well as the launch of a new ecommerce business, the competition was designed to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity throughout the agency.
“Unleashed is designed to be a unique training environment aimed at creating new leaders, as well as enabling our people to become better versed in all aspects of ecommerce strategy and deployment.” – Matt Giles, CCO at Swanky
Weeks of researching, ideating and grappling with P&L sheets culminated in a thrilling pitch evening, where a panel of esteemed judges grilled each of our teams before choosing a winning business idea. Beyond selecting a victorious team, the evening was a fantastic celebration of entrepreneurship and a great opportunity to come together in our HQ city.
Since then, the successful team, joined by others from across Swanky, have been busy building the business infrastructure required for launch. Whilst this journey has taken longer than anticipated, we are finally there; our new ecommerce business is live!
It gives us great pleasure to finally be able to share details of what that business looks like, along with the opportunities it continues to afford our team.
Without further ado, we give you WoolShip!
What is WoolShip?
WoolShip is a new ecommerce business that seeks to reduce plastic packaging waste by providing a woollen alternative. Wool is a resource that has so many positives and yet, in recent decades, it has been massively undervalued. This is predominantly because plastic has taken its place.
Plastic is cheap and easy to produce and iterate into infinite products. However, the long-term impact of plastic on our planet cannot justify the increasing dependence on this resource.
If we are to move away from plastic, we need to get creative. Tackling the climate emergency requires everyone to compromise and contribute where they can. Here at Swanky we have expertise and creativity in abundance. And it is exactly these skills that have brought WoolShip into existence.
WoolShip’s store offers a variety of woolly products to best suit your packaging needs. There are three options for flat packaging that are priced per metre squared, and there is a filler packaging option too.
These products can be used for anything from protecting picture frames in the post, presenting jewellery in a beautiful and unique way, or wrapping up crockery when moving house. The versatility of wool doesn’t end after it’s been used in packaging. It can then be composted, felted, made into a pillow, used as insulation… The list goes on.
This new ecommerce business all started from a conversation with a sheep farmer in Devon about wool. If you want to read more about this conversation and how it sparked the idea for WoolShip, then head over to their site for a more in-depth story.
What’s on the horizon for this new ecommerce business?
Opportunities and experience
Launching a new ecommerce site is hard work. We know this from working with clients and partners. There are bugs to fix, links that break, and unforeseen hurdles to jump over. It’s likely that the coming months will include some of this for the WoolShip team. But that’s why we launched the Unleashed programme in the first place.
It was a programme designed to spark entrepreneurship and creativity, yes. But more than that, it was created to provide a space where members of the Swanky team could learn first-hand what it’s like to run a business.
Since winning Unleashed, the WoolShip team has already changed and new faces have joined the fold. Of course, this brings challenges, but far more importantly, it brings opportunity.
Unleashed was designed to create a profitable and sustainable D2C business that would grant Swanky employees the chance to gain insight and experience in ecommerce business management. Therefore, as much as WoolShip is about creating profit, it is also about gaining new skills and improving existing skills. This adds value to the whole of Swanky and ripples through to our clients too: individuals involved in WoolShip have an amplified understanding of ecommerce through first-hand experience and can then offer this insight to colleagues and clients alike.
Growth and collaboration
We are confident that this business will grow. It is a scalable model that will likely include a B2B portfolio and an international approach. As the business grows, the WoolShip team can draw on the expertise of their Swanky colleagues, our tech partners and clients.
During the Unleashed competition we received huge support and encouragement from our clients, some of whom attended the pitch event. It was wonderful to hear their input on our ideas and advice on how to overcome problems. Going forward, we are looking forward to maintaining this communication with clients.
Our tech partners Yotpo and Webtrends Optimize also attended the pitching event and offered feedback. The WoolShip store has Klaviyo integrated into its tech stack to provide a smooth email marketing service. The team will no doubt be working with other trusted tech partners to be solutioning problems that arise as WoolShip grows
Learn more about WoolShip
To hear more about WoolShip, head over to the brand’s Shopify store where you can read about the whole story and see their current product line. In the coming months, WoolShip will be sharing content across their social channels. Keep an eye out to see how this new ecommerce business progresses and grows.
If you too want to profit from the expertise we have here at Swanky – expertise that continues to grow through ventures like WoolShip and Unleashed – get in touch today.