WoodBlocX makes innovative kits for building raised beds and landscaping gardens. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has awarded £188,000 for the project, which will create four new jobs over the next year.
A second manufacturing facility will be built with a view to increase exports and improve overall productivity.
Henry Blake started WoodBlocX in 2012 as a small local business and it has grown into an international online firm with substantial domestic and commercial divisions throughout the UK and EU.
Based on a patented system, the product enables wooden blocks to be assembled to create a multitude of structures for the garden. It can be used for many purposes including retaining walls, steps, outdoor seating and ponds. The company has produced over 40,000 bespoke designs for gardens all over the UK and beyond.
WoodBlocX plans to install new plant and equipment including saws, dust extractors and a waste conveyor. These additions will significantly increase production capacity and ensure continued service quality. The intention over the next three years is to drive international turnover from £2.5m to £5m.
To help its expansion, WoodBlocX has recently purchased a new storage and distribution facility in Dingwall and has also created a European subsidiary with a distribution hub in Frankfurt to serve the whole of the EU. With the new production facility, the business expects to expand its growth further into Europe but also targets new markets in the USA.
The firm won the backing of Dragon’s Den’s Peter Jones in 2012 and in the same year won awards at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Henry was supported by HIE in 2016 to attend a 10-day course at the globally renowned Entrepreneurship Programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Through the programme, he built a network of contacts on the business stage across the world and learned the tools to build on the company’s success and generate ideas to grow a global business.
With large-scale installations at Westfield London and the Olympic Park, Stratford, WoodBlocX is continually evolving to become the go-to brand for both gardeners, landscape architects and building contractors.
The company employs 16 staff in Dingwall, two in Frankfurt and plans to recruit four new production employees in Dingwall over the next year.
WoodBlocX managing director, Henry Blake, said: “This investment will make the business more efficient and will provide the tools needed for its continued expansion. It’s great to have secured support from HIE, this will enable us to move swiftly forward with our growth strategy. It will also enable us to increase our contribution to the local economy and provide more high-quality employment opportunities, which is an area that we are incredibly passionate about.”
Juan Paulo Rodriguez, account manager from HIE’s Inner Moray Firth team, said: “This is a fantastic project and a great example of a dynamic Highland manufacturing firm pursuing its growth ambitions through innovation and automation. It’s also brilliant news for Dingwall and the wider local economy, particularly in relation to the creation of new jobs at the new facility. We are delighted to be able to provide support and we look forward to seeing the new facility take shape.”