Chimney Sheep makes draught excluders for fireplaces from Cumbrian Herdwick wool. Started in 2012 by Sally Phillips, an ecologist, the business in Maryport has sold more than 40,000 so far.
She came up with the concept after she moved into a Victorian terraced house and realised that heat was escaping up its chimneys.
Sally completed the Cumbria Forum programme in January 2017.
I felt that I needed some structure and ideas of how to grow the business in a more organised way. Cumbria Forum was just what I was looking for.
She said: “The business had grown organically but I felt that I needed some structure and ideas of how to grow it in a more organised way. Cumbria Forum was just what I was looking for.
“I learned that there isn’t a magic bullet or formula. It’s about developing as a business person, having a clear understanding of your business, a clear strategy, and confidence in your own skills as a manager.
“A lot of the things they were talking about I was doing, and that was good for my confidence because I don’t have a business background.
“Talking to other business owners was useful, discussing issues we had in common. When you work in isolation you don’t get an opportunity to do that.”
Cumbria Forum is designed to help business owners develop strategic thought processes and provide the skills and tools they need to evolve their business model.
She praised a masterclass delivered by food entrepreneur Helen Colley and was enthused by a visit to Playdale, the playground equipment manufacturer, which has become a hugely successful exporter.
Sally said: “Helen was inspirational in the way that she developed her business in a phenomenal way. And I learned a lot from Playdale. I’d definitely recommend Cumbria Forum to other businesses.”