December’s newsletter- End of Year Roundup

20 December 2023

Welcome to the last edition of Viscose Voice for 2023! This month we focus on our Christmas charity work, reflect on the past 12 months, and celebrate the appointment of our new Managing Director ….and lots more!

Reflections on 2023

As we approach year end, we look back at our highlights and key achievements from the past 12 months. Like many businesses, one of the biggest challenges we faced this year was to navigate the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis such as rocketing energy prices and increased supply chain costs. Despite these challenges, we’ve had a successful and rewarding year.

Here’s our highlights:

  • Appointment of our new Managing Director- Emma Blackmore.
  • Installation of 250 solar panels in July, since then 20% of our energy has been produced by renewable energy, saving 5.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions. That’s the equivalent of planting 355 trees – A win for the planet and us!
  • £150,000 investment on new machinery for our factory; a typical order is now produced in half the time.
  • Creation of dedicated warehousing for our distributed products – caps and closures. Prior to this we used a 3rd party warehouse, bringing this in house has increased our flexibility and reduced costs.
  • Launched Viscose Voice, our bi-monthly newsletter.
  • Released our first customer case studies with our friends at Sauce Shop and the Isle of Wight Distillery respectively.

For more detail on these achievements and many more, click the link below:

Proud Sponsor of the Mermaid Atlantic Team

As mentioned in previous editions of Viscose Voice, we are proud sponsors of the Mermaid Atlantic team who are partaking in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. After months of preparation the team set off on their 3,000 nautical mile journey from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean on 12th December. Good luck and safe travels to the Mermaid Atlantic Team on their voyage!

Christmas is a time for giving

Sketty Foodbank

The Viscose Elves delivering our colleagues food donations

We have all been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and this time of year can be especially hard for some households.
Sketty foodbank is one of thousands supporting families in need all year round, after donating in the Summer and seeing firsthand the great work they do we were keen to support them again.

Our colleagues blew us away with their generosity, donating everything from coffee to Christmas puds, as well as the classic selection box to ensure everyone has a treat at Christmas.

Our colleagues food donations

A total of three trollies filled to the brim with dried goods, toiletries and treats were donated – the largest donation the bank had received to date for which they were extremely grateful.

Thank you to Sketty Foodbank for all that you do to support our community!

Mr X Appeal:

This is a charity very close to our hearts and we have supported them for many years. This is a local scheme in South Wales that provides presents for less fortunate children & families who would otherwise go without. The Mr X charity works with nearly 150 Childcare agencies and in 2022 was able to provide 8,000 children with Christmas presents. It is a massive operation that takes much organising and unfortunately the list seems to get bigger each year.

If you would be interested in finding out more and supporting this cause, you can find them on Facebook.

Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day

On the 7th of December we joined the nation in wearing Christmas jumpers to raise money for this very good cause. Our colleagues raised £75 in total and the company has matched this and donated £150 to Save The Children.

Staff Corner:

Staff Profile: Emma Blackmore

We have some exciting news to share, we’re pleased to announce that our Head of Commercial, Emma Blackmore, has been promoted to Managing Director which was announced on 19th December. We thought this was the perfect time to interview Emma for this month’s staff profile.
Emma has recently celebrated her 10 years of service with us, after starting with Viscose in 2013 as an Accounts Assistant in the Finance team. A lot has changed within the business since Emma began, namely we closed our Crawley Head office and centralised all business functions into our current factory site in Swansea. With the move to Swansea, Emma has been instrumental in the switch of focus within the business to our manufactured products and has been part of a team who worked hard to get the business to generate cash which has been re-invested in our plant.

We asked Emma to share some of her personal highlights from her 10 years of working for us and here’s what she listed:

  • 2014 –Became a qualified accountant and promoted to Management Accountant.
  • 2015 – Emma took maternity leave to have her first daughter, Lexie, when she returned, she took on sales enablement as part of her role. This meant Emma started and was instrumental to bridging the gap between finance and sales within the business.
  • 2019- Took a second maternity leave to have her youngest daughter, Libby.
  • 2020- Promoted to Head of Commercial and took on Customer Service and Supply Chain functions in addition to her other responsibilities.
  • 2022 – Added Finance function to her responsibilities after the Finance Director left the business.
  • 2023 – Added Sales & Marketing function to her role.

Alongside her personal highlights, we asked Emma to also tell us how she is feeling about becoming Managing Director and her plans for our business going forward.

Emma told us ‘I’m passionate about our business and our Viscose family and excited to take on the challenge of the MD role. This is something I have been working towards for some time and it means so much to have this opportunity as well as the trust of the Board. I love a challenge and fully intend to give it everything I have for us to continue being a successful business. My ultimate goal is to ensure Viscose has a healthy future and is an open, friendly and pleasant place to work. We are a small but robust business and whilst we face some challenges such as energy prices and the war on plastic, we also have some great opportunities.’

Over the next 12-24 months Emma’s objectives are:

  • Implement online purchasing via our website.
  • Run at least two successful trade shows- our first one being exhibiting at the Farm Shop & Deli show in the NEC in Birmingham at the end of April.
  • Continue to improve our marketing function.
  • Review alternative printing methods within our heat-shrink products department which will allow us to win more printed business.
  • Visit our top customers and suppliers- we’re visiting customers in the USA in March and are planning a trip to visit European suppliers in the summer.

Alongside her busy work-life, we asked Emma what she gets up to when she isn’t working. With two young children a lot of her time is taken up with their activities and school related admin! However, when she does get a free moment, she loves reading crime thrillers and enjoys baking for friends and family. Emma’s interesting fact about herself is that she used do Tae-kwon-do and got to blue belt status!

Our last question to Emma was, “what does she like most about working at Viscose”?

Emma said ‘The team environment – our ability to pull together through hard times and celebrate the good times is really special and not something I have experienced in other businesses. There are so many instances of people going above and beyond to ensure the future of Viscose, it’s really inspiring and I’m so proud to be a part of it. The culture has completely shifted when I compare it to when I first started, there is a real close family unit feel both in the office and on the shop floor.’

Join us in congratulating Emma and wishing her luck and success in her new role!

Viscose In The Press

We featured in Food & Drink Process & Packaging’s latest edition.

Featured was our products and the range of solutions we’re able to offer including our Heat-shrink sleeves and our Plastic-free shrink sleeves.

Next Edition:

Thank you for reading Viscose Voice this year, we hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it! Look out for 2024’s first edition of Viscose Voice in February!

Until then, may we wish you Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year from Everyone at Viscose, we look forward to working with you in 2024!