Last week, FWB Park Brown hosted our 5th Female Leadership Forum and were delighted to have Jacqui Gale, CEO of Wax Lyrical as our speaker.
Jacqui explained that Wax Lyrical has been through a remarkable journey since March of this year, re-appropriating a business which makes candles and diffusers into one which is now making bulk hand sanitiser for the NHS, care homes and private businesses.
Jacqui was kind enough to provide both a presentation on the business and to explain how they have adapted to making these changes. We were also lucky enough to have a virtual tour of the newly laid out factory for a first hand view of their production facility.
She described an incredible turnaround from 18th March, when they were in full production of candles and diffuser products, to delivering their first bulk order of hand sanitiser to the NHS on 28th March! This process involved significant changes in the production lines, as well as a change in suppliers and accreditations and approvals from HMRC, given the bulk alcohol that was going to be involved in the new product manufacturing. Jacqui lent on some very strong connections in her supply chain in order to meet the deadlines and one of Scotland’s distilleries is the primary supplier of the alcohol used in their product. The shop floor is socially distanced which has been a challenge, particularly in the traditionally labour intensive packing areas. Wax Lyrical’s parent company has been very supportive in approving the necessary investment to make these changes. All of this has resulted in them being able to ramp up from zero to 1.6m units of production in a remarkably short time frame.
The staff on site were very driven by the purpose of their new venture and have really bought in to what they’re trying to achieve. Having said that Jacqui went on to explain that there is some fatigue beginning to show after such an enormous push and there is strong focus now on engagement of staff and well being. Jacqui has been keeping a diary throughout all of this and has encouraged her senior team to do the same and will use this to encourage open discussion. Staff are being actively encouraged to take holidays where possible too. Keeping everyone safe is and has always been at the top of the agenda and as time progresses this will remain the case.
It’s likely that hand sanitiser products will feature as a permanent product for the company and they are looking at introducing fragrances into new products in the next few months. The business is also looking to expand its range into hand wash and hand lotion, using the best natural ingredients and meeting a market need as we are all being encouraged to wash our hands more often.
We are grateful to Jacqui for making the time to share her experiences.