New legislation concerning plastics and increased market awareness of their environmental impact led Mark Goodwin, who already owned a packaging company, to create a new product called GOODCHAP’S, a new brand of fish-based dog treats with no additives which are wrapped in specially developed biodegradable, plastic-free packaging.
“We already had the machinery so it was a question of making some modifications to meet Trading Standards and developing the brand. We rescued our dog, Ralph from Romania and we’re passionate about dogs as a family so it seemed a natural step for us to create a dog treat brand” says Mark.
The family has developed a range of six dog treat flavours which have been custom-made for them to be sold both wholesale and retail through their website as well as craft fairs, garden centres, independent pet shops and other outlets. The newly developed pouches for the treats have been created using natural materials which are both biodegradable and compostable and disintegrate in seawater.
The Goodwin’s son, Liam has a background in graphic and packaging design and joined the family business to create the GOODCHAP’S brand with his wife, Beth – an illustrator – as well as building the website for the business and on-going marketing. The business expects to need another full-time employee in the next 12 months to manage the predicted growth of the business.
The diversification of the business was made possible thanks to investment from SWIG Finance which loaned £25,000 to enable the required changes to production as well as the development of the brand and initial marketing of the products. Mr Goodwin originally approached their bank and Funding Circle but was referred to SWIG Finance by Barclays.
Sarah Osborn, Business Manager at SWIG Finance supported the business with their application. She says: “I was really pleased to be able to approve the application from Mr Goodwin and his family which essentially has enabled them to move away from a time-limited core product and develop something with huge growth potential.”
The loan from SWIG Finance was made through a new fund created using SWIG Finance’s own capital alongside investment from Triodos Bank. The fund, initially worth £1.5m has been established to support small businesses in the South West that struggle to raise finance from traditional lenders. It is targeted at disadvantaged areas and communities in the region.