Kristina Boulden Romney Marsh Wools
How long has your business been running?
We set up Romney Marsh Wools in 2008 as a diversification of our main farm through collaborating with British makers, as we wanted to showcase our Romney Wool and all its benefits of being natural, sustainable and incredibly versatile. Later, in 2018, we also introduced our Romney Marsh Shepherds Huts for staying in and to open up our farm and wonderful landscape for others to come, enjoy and experience.
How many generations of the family have been/currently are involved with running the business?
My husband Paul is a 6th generation farmer and is a partner with his father Martin. On the main farm there is also Auntie Ginny and two other farm workers. Within Romney Marsh Wools Paul and myself are the Company Directors, Paul’s mum Jean is our main seamstress, and there are two wonderful ladies Marie and Hannah who support me within the office. We also collaborate with many other local businesses and makers who all help us achieve and run the wool business. The Romney Marsh Shepherds Huts are run by myself and I work with Kent & Sussex Cottages and other local businesses such as Vikki from That Little Marketing Co to promote them.
If the business has been long established did you always expect to work in the family business or did you consider a different career?
Paul has always worked on the main farm. I came from a commercial background and when I fell pregnant with my first child, Oliver, we took the opportunity to establish our diversification project and founded Romney Marsh Wools. In 2011 I gave up my full-time job as a National Account Manager for Premier Foods and took on the full-time post as Company Director for Romney Marsh Wools, the business had grown organically up to this point and was then able to sustain my role. It had always been an ambition to run our own family business together, one more conducive to family life and that could hopefully be passed on to the next generation in the future.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting up a new family business?
Love and believe in what you do, starting a new business is incredible rewarding if you are committed and passionate about your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there is a lot of support groups and networking opportunities that can aid you in the right direction, do your market research and also pull together a business plan and measure your outputs. Be prepared to put in a lot of hours and investment, let your business build up at a sensible and manageable pace to ensure that it has long term prospects. Define roles within the family and communicate openly and share the same vision.