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Meet Richard & Rachel Kay, owners and full time managers of the team behind Green-tech.
Why and when did you start the company?
Richard: I went to college to do the National Diploma in Agricultural Marketing at Brackenhurst in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. I left college in 1989 as a qualified Agronomist and worked in Agriculture for four and a half years. During that time I sold chemicals into the landscape industry and tried to persuade my boss that we should get into the market however the company wasn’t interested. So I handed in my notice and joined a well-established company called Joseph Bentley’s of Hull as Sales Manager for their amenity division. At this time Rachel and I had been married for a year and when we returned from holiday I learned the company had gone into receivership. We had often talked about working together.
Rachel: It was the ideal opportunity to work together. My background was agricultural – my father was a farmer and we both shared a passion for it. I worked in the motor industry as an accountant and then went into private practice. This was extremely interesting working with businesses of all sizes providing accountancy and business support.
Richard: We went to SALTEX in the September and saw most of Bentley’s customers. We promised them goods on account and an assurance that we would make sure they got the product one way or another. On the way back from the show I visited an old colleague who suggested we name the company Green-tech. We bought a little van and with only £200 in our account we approached my old bosses who put £5,000 in an account that guaranteed our overdraft for £5,000. Ironically we never used it but it definitely put the pressure on us not to let them down. We paid the money back within eight months.
How do you think the team see you?
Richard: I think they see us as the head of the family. Green-tech is very much like a large, messy family. We work hard but we have loads of fun with the odd minor squabble, especially in our very busy winter period. The team know we like a good laugh and we have lots of company nights out – generally I will have the sorest head!
Rachel: We have regular staff appraisals and the feedback is that the team love the Green-tech culture, they love the relaxed style Richard and I have created but they know we expect 100 per cent commitment and hard work.
In terms of sourcing products – do you care where they come from?
Richard: Yes we do. We have to ensure quality, traceability (for ISO) and longevity. We spend a lot of time building great relationships with our suppliers for the benefit of our customers. Our own brand products means we source raw inputs or work with contract manufacturers who use our tooling or specification to achieve the desired quality.
Where’s future development for Green-tech?
Richard: We’ve got a few ‘own brands’ that we own manufacturing tools for (John Chambers Wildflower Seed, Mona irrigation, Green-tree Topsoil, Dales Collection grilles and guards and Holdfast belting blocks). We can set a quality standard and offer better deals to our customers on these products. Three of the brands were bolt-on acquisitions and we want to continue development in this area.