Rising Star: Heather Gorringe

Nearly 20 years after launching her business, Wiggly Wigglers, Heather Gorringe has won £15,000 as the UK winner of the Dell Small Business Excellence Award.

How did the company begin?

I was using worm composting to reduce the waste on our own farm. When I realised how effective it was I decided to start selling our own kits. I raised £15,000 by remortgaging the house and built our initial customer base by advertising in specialist magazines like Gardeners’ World.

Has your marketing changed?

When the internet took off in the mid-1990s we set up a website as a way of advertising ourselves. Now we promote the company through Facebook, blogs and regular podcasts from our farm.

Related: The World Wide Web and its role in building businesses

How has the company developed?

In 2000 we decided to introduce other products for people who had started to recognise their waste problems. Now we have 900 sustainable living products and sales of £2.6 million.

How will the prize help you?

We’ll invest in more marketing technology and set up a big screen and audio equipment for our podcasts. Also, meeting someone as successful and innovative as Michael Dell, something is bound to rub off on me.

What next?

We want to expand our customer base by connecting more people to their gardens. They make up 12.5 per cent of land in the UK so if gardens were used to produce more food it would have a huge impact. Worms are at the core of this because without them we wouldn’t have quality soil.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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