Totally Wild refocuses to launch successful food foraging business
Young entrepreneur James Wood is one of only 15 professional wild food foragers in the UK. He has worked with the River Cottage, The RHS Tatton Park Feast Theatre, The Woodland Trust, The Forestry Commission and several Universities. James approached Enterprising Macclesfield with an idea of how he could leverage his skills and experience to create a business that would engage with schools and give them an experience in a Forest School environment. His ambition was to acquire his own local forest in which to site his school.
Enterprising Macclesfield met with James to develop a detailed understanding of his business idea, his goals for the business and to establish what was needed to make the venture a success. James worked directly with Enterprising Macclesfield’s coach, Mike Rance of The Silk Partnership to define the business model in more detail. This key exercise highlighted the challenges associated with accessing schools and generating revenues in this sensitive area. This prompted research on the foraging community that gave James the confidence to develop an alternative business model based on his real and differentiated foraging skills. This included working with key partners that could bring the audience to Totally Wild. James’ USP was the link he had already established between foraging for food in the wild and providing recipes and cooking demonstrations utilising foraged food. Part of the business model also explored the potential to work with high-end restaurant chefs to provide wild foods in the form of preserves, chutneys, cordials and syrups. A conservative business financial plan was developed which would enable James to achieve his personal financial goals.
Totally Wild has gone from strength to strength over the course of the coaching support. James has successfully developed an excellent reputation in running wild food foraging workshops and cookery demonstrations. He has led foraging classes and been featured on the BBC, ITV and in the RHS Tatton show. He has also written a book on food foraging incorporating recipes, which was launched in October 2016. James has been able to test his food product ideas thanks to gaining access to suitable and affordable premises and equipment through local social enterprise, Food4Macc, which was introduced through Enterprising Macclesfield. Subsequently James entered into discussions with a food manufacturing business, with a view towards producing wild food products and selling these through specialist outlets and to high-end restaurants. Totally Wild UK has experienced rapid growth and in one month alone has generated five times the revenue forecasted in the original financial plan.
“I had a fantastic experience through Enterprising Macclesfield and really valued the support they provided. The analytical approach enabled me to focus on where the real opportunities lay and avoid costly, time consuming efforts being wasted elsewhere. I would strongly recommend start-ups to tap into the experience and expertise available through the Enterprising Macclesfield team.”