The Business Owner: Kate Hulley, Boxed Up
The female owner of the Wigan-based manufacturer, talks about maintaining a good reputation and inheriting the family business
Name: Kate Hulley
Company: Belmont Packaging Ltd, home of Boxed Up
Founder: Kate Hulley
Proposition: Manufacturer of corrugated packaging
Size: small business
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
We are female led which is unusual for the packaging industry. We are also one of the first packaging companies to invest in greener technologies which helps promote our sustainable and ethical business ethos.
How did you finance your business?
Bank loans and personal guarantees.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
Cashflow, getting paid and paying suppliers, without it the business cannot function.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
We have a strong social media presence and use this platform to build relationships with our customers as well as for recruitment and industry development updates. We launch competitions on Facebook and encourage people to like and share posts to be entered into a prize draw to win free products. This gets a good response and in turn gives us great exposure.
Our website is updated with fresh, unique content on a monthly basis and last year the web specialists at Bespoke designed a brand new responsive layout for our customers to enjoy. We attract new customers to the site by giving our existing customers incentives to refer their friends and family, like discounts and giveaways… good reputation sells!
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
Cannot comment as we do not currently export!
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
LinkedIn is by far our go-to business app that we use to reach out to business buyers and connect with professionals. This allows us to build relationships, establish connections, gain insights and generate leads.
We’d encourage any business to optimise their LinkedIn account to improve visibility and credibility, both as individuals and (thus) as a brand.
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Friendly, feisty and hardworking.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
Be more supportive regarding business rates.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
My dad has influenced the career path I’ve chosen and without him I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. He’s passed on the Belmont Packaging/Boxed Up business ownership to me, which I couldn’t be happier about!
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
Doing more of what it is good at… with even better kit. We already have a great turnover in-store so we’re looking to spread the net wider. We’re investing a lot of money into our digital marketing, and continuing with the ongoing optimisation of our website to ensure our customers get the best possible shopping experience.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Follow your instincts, elevate those with potential in the organisation to support you and put your faith in them. Keep your eye on every aspect of the business, both internally and externally.