Launching a business in lockdown may sound like a challenge, but Rhys Jenkins, founder of Wild Wales Seeds, is delighted with how his business has grown during the company’s first year and even credits lockdown with driving demand for seeds as more people focus on their gardens.
Wild Wales Seeds is based in the Vale of Glamorgan. It produces seeds and sells them to a range of customers, from large organisations such as local authorities down to individuals looking to enhance their gardens.
The company is a first for Wales and has been welcomed because it has made it possible to source seeds locally rather than buying from large European producers.
Farmer Rhys Jenkins launched the company in March last year after learning that his family was set to lose much of the 250ac in the Vale of Glamorgan that it has farmed for generations.
The land is earmarked for development, and the family’s personally owned smallholding was not big enough to enable them to continue their farming business.
However, Jenkins was invited to take on the management of the nearby 350ac Fonmon estate after the estate’s owner, Nigel Ford, heard of his plight.
Rhys’ work now includes re-wilding the estate to create a beautiful environment for visitors and wildlife, and growing wildflowers for seeds.
Wild Wales Seeds is the result. Its products include seed mixes for sports pitches, carnival sites, prettifying village greens, greening embankments and road verges and much more.
As well as selling seeds wholesale, the company sells to the public, with options ranging from beautiful wildflower mixes to grass seeds for perfect lawns.
The company also has an educational focus and will soon launch ‘grow your own food’ kits for children which can be used to support education at home or in school.
'A worrying time at first'
Rhys Jenkins said:
"We launched Wild Wales Seeds just as lockdown hit, so it was a worrying time at first, but we’ve been delighted with the response from customers.
We have been inundated with messages from companies saying they will use us now; they are pleased they can now get seeds grown in Wales.
"We’re enjoying serving a huge range of customers, big and small, and we enjoy working with them to create exactly what they need – for example, we recently created a mix that produces horse-friendly flowers for one customer.
"Lockdown has definitely boosted demand for our products as more people are focused on their homes and gardens.
We’re looking to release more products over the coming months that will appeal to this market.
"I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the farming community who have offered a lot of help and support in any way they can," he concluded.