iinouiio, currently based in Barnsley, specialises in breathing new life into discarded textiles; converting them into a range of fibres, yarns and fabrics known as “shoddy” - the first of its kind to be produced in the UK for more than twenty years.
The company was started by John Parkinson, a veteran of the textile trade, who wanted to get back into his family business after his former textile company, Evergreen, was destroyed by fire in 1995, forcing him to retrain as a teacher.
He approached ScaleUp 360, a programme that provides tailored support to entrepreneurs and start-ups across the Sheffield City Region with the ambition and potential to scale up their business.
Through them, he was referred to Design Futures, a commercially focused product and packaging design consultancy group based within Sheffield Hallam University, who provided packaging designs suitable for both wholesale and retail use.
John Kirkby, creative director at Design Futures, said: “iinouiio is all about sustainability so we really wanted to make that the focus of our design whilst still creating a professional look and feel for each product.”
“We wanted to make sure the packaging would suit multiple environments, whether that be a shop, craft markets or delivered direct to your letterbox.
“With support from ScaleUp 360 and the Sheffield Innovation Programme, the project has been a fantastic example of how the University can help local businesses develop and thrive.”
With specifications for two new pack designs, iinouiio can now manufacture the packaging independently with a local manufacturer.
Now, the company is exporting to the USA and has received a Capital Expenditure Grant of more than £150,000 to upscale their operation to a mill in Leeds later this year.
John Parkinson, co-founder of iinouiio, said: ‘My life has been consumed by recycling textiles and we are determined to preserve and improve upon this craft’s impressive heritage and the legacy of my own family’s ‘shoddy’ business’.
“Working with John Kirkby and team at Design Futures has been highly beneficial for us. We have already had so much feedback from businesses who think the packaging looks really professional.”
Fran Noble, Enterprise Project Co-ordinator for ScaleUp 360 in The Business Village @BarnsleyBIC said: “When John came to us in 2019, it was clear that he had a unique vision to go back to his routes and breathe new life into the Yorkshire textile industry.”
“Through our programme of guidance and support, it’s been really pleasing to watch iinouiio grow, and Design Futures have played a key role in that.”
ScaleUp 360 is part-financed by the England European Regional Development Fund receiving up to £1,868,028 as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
Support was also provided by the Sheffield Innovation Programme.