At The Yorkshire Press, we’re passionate about local business. Our county is home to some phenomenally successful business owners and has been the birth place of numerous international brands. In this new series of articles, we’ll be talking to various Managing Directors from across the county, to find out more about what inspired them, how they achieved their success and what it takes to run a successful enterprise in God’s Own Country.
Part of JR Group UK, world-leading manufacturers, Texfelt, recently relocated to their brand new multi-million pound factory in Bradford, West Yorkshire where they continue to produce and supply sustainable, eco-engineered underlays, waddings and insulators to more than 15 countries across the globe. We spoke to Managing Director, James Taylor…
Hi James, could you please tell us a little about your background? What did you want to be as a child and where were you educated?
I currently live in a village to the South of Huddersfield, which is the area where I was born and have spent most of my working life. I started out at St David’s Preparatory School in Huddersfield, before being sent off to boarding school, namely Ranby House then Worksop College. At 18 I studied a part time HND in Business & Finance at what is now the University of Huddersfield whilst working in the family
business learning from the shop floor up.
If I’m being honest, I always saw myself joining the business. As a child, I spent many days in the school holidays helping my grandfather and father doing jobs for pocket money like sweeping the mill floors and
helping deliver bales on the mill wagon. Even in my leisure I would be found washing cars or fishing in the river at Smithy Place Mills, Brockholes, where James Robinsons was formerly based. Its fair to say my DNA and work ethic came from those early childhood holidays!
What hobbies or interests do you have outside business?
I like to walk, swim and gym and keep healthy. The rest of my time these days is spent either travelling on business or spending time with the family or in the garden.
What makes your company unique?
With my JR Group UK hat on, we are a multi-generational family business, predominantly involved in textile raw materials and non-woven manufacture with commercial interests in residential building restorations and developments, farming and agriculture.
What makes us unique is our business agility to spot opportunities and be able to react very quickly and make decisions without layers of red tape and bureaucracy. A recent example of this is our major new investment at Cutler Heights in Bradford where we purchased the former NG Bailey depot and redeveloped it as
one of Bradford’s flagship business parks.
From there we created our new highly innovative 60,000sq.ft manufacturing facility for our Texfelt business to be able to diversify and create a new unique range of highly sustainable and high performance non-woven products. These are designed to replace PU foam in many traditional sectors like flooring, furniture, bedding and insulation. We use raw materials derived from upcycled plastic bottles and other single use plastics that require no chemical treatment and have no harmful VOC’s so they can be fully recycled at the end of
their useful life.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I’d like to think I’d be doing something innovative and entrepreneurial with my time. I’ve never been able to sit still for long.
What do you think is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about business is?
Listen to any advice given by your colleagues and associates and make informed decisions. Also your gut instinct will often serve you well.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I would advise to listen and read more, study and work hard, keep healthy and spend money wisely.
How do you see your company developing over the next few years?
The world’s consumers are fast moving towards a sustainable future and all the products and services we consume will have to be respectful of the planet in the future. We see great opportunities ahead in the world of sustainable fibres and non-wovens – we have the latest technology, production capacity, unique
performance capabilities and the skills and people to deliver this.
We are well placed to develop our SpringBond® branded eco-engineered non-wovens as composite materials within other products in many sectors such as flooring, specialist acoustics, thermal insulation, bedding and furniture.
Ultimately, we want our company, Texfelt, and our brands to be synonymous with offering genuinely
sustainable products therefore delivering a positive environmental impact to the consumer and giving those valuable raw materials a second lease of life.
What personal qualities do you look for most when you look to grow your team?
People who share the same drive, enthusiasm and ambition and who are genuinely passionate about sustainability and the products we manufacture.
What’s your favourite thing about Yorkshire?
It’s like being part of an exclusive members club, Yorkshire! Wherever I am in the world, whether on business or on holiday, I am always proud to answer the question ‘Where do you live?’ with ‘Yorkshire’ in the North of England.
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend in Yorkshire?
A day out walking amongst the beautiful North Yorkshire scenery and a traditional Yorkshire pub lunch. A stroll around a market or spa town like Malton, Harrogate or Beverley. Have a browse round the artisan shops then head back to one of the leading Yorkshire hotels like Rudding Park, Yorebridge House or The Talbot in Malton for a cosy and relaxing stay over, and enjoy the fine wines and delicious Yorkshire fayre. We recently visited the new Spa at Rudding Park and thought it was an amazing experience – a real coup to have on the doorstep for Yorkshire folk!