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Coventry packaging business targeting £4m turnover

The Business Magazine article image for: Coventry packaging business targeting £4m turnover
17 January 2023

An award-winning business in Coventry is targeting £4 million in turnover.

Purple Planet Packaging supplies sustainable food and drinks packaging to sectors including schools, the hospitality trade, and directly to consumers.

The company, based at the Seven Stars Industrial Estate in Coventry, works with manufacturers and suppliers to ‘close the loop’ as the vast majority of the 450 products it supplies are biodegradable material that can be composted.

The firm was bought by husband-and-wife team Mark and Joanna Farr in 2019 as a lifestyle business but the Covid lockdowns – and the sudden demand for takeaway packaging – saw an immediate and unexpected boom.

The couple, who have two young children, had to quickly adapt despite having no prior knowledge of how to run a business.

They now working with Steve Tipson from the Business Ready programme as they look to reach £4 million turnover by 2024.

Business Ready delivers support to expanding companies managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.

“The support we’ve had from Business Ready has been absolutely priceless,” said Mark. “We had not long bought the business when we went into the pandemic and when demand increased we just had to roll with it.

“We did everything to fulfill our orders and make sure that we kept customers happy but we were working really long hours and it takes its toll, especially with two young children in the house.

“We’ve had great support from lots of organisations. Working with Business Ready is helping to put things in place such as policies and procedures that we just didn’t have the awareness of before. You don’t know what you don’t know."

Steve said: “Mark and Joanna are developing an amazing business and it is not unusual to see a start-up grow very quickly without having everything in place in the background.

“Business Ready is there to help businesses when they hit some of those roadblocks to growth and help them to get processes in place to overcome them. Not only that, it’s about giving the business owners the room to have an overview of what they are doing rather than rushing around day to day making sure orders are being completed and cash is coming in.”

Cllr Martin Watson, portfolio holder for economy with Warwickshire County Council, said: “The Business Ready support in this instance was bespoke as it addressed specific needs brought about by the Covid pandemic. As well as supporting a local business, it also ties in with the council’s commitment to sustainability as so much of the packaging produced is biodegradable.  I’m delighted that our support has been so helpful.”

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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