The Game Changer
“Sam and Will have transformed the packaging industry; they have created a product which allows a business to become more sustainable, without having to compromise on customer experience.”
Flexi-Hex, members of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, are the National Winners of the Game Changer award at the Chamber Business Awards 2023.
Founders and twins Sam and Will Boex are avid surfers and are also trained product designers. Their story began in 2017, when Sam’s new surfboard arrived by courier, wrapped in layers of plastic, secured with more plastic tape. The brothers were upset by the amount of plastic used to transport a surfboard.
They also considered the poor consumer experience; purchasing an expensive product, to have been somewhat tarnished by the use of such ugly packaging. At the time, the twins ran a product design company. They decided to treat this problem like a client brief, allocating time and budget to come up with a better solution to package a surfboard. A year later, Flexi-Hex was officially launched.
The Flexi-Hex sleeve is a patented, honeycomb design made from 100% recycled paper pulp. One pallet of Flexi-Hex is equivalent to five pallets of bubble wrap, and all packaging is curb side recyclable.
The twins knew they were not the first business to invent paper packaging, but they were the first to create a patented honeycomb sleeve that is both environmentally friendly and fit-for-purpose.
The process of acquiring a patent and putting up IP protection around the product was an expensive one, but the twins’ entrepreneurial spirit helped them stay positive, knowing this was something they were passionate about, and a solution the market really needed.
Flexi-Hex was launched with a feature on the popular surfing website, Magic Seaweed, and it went viral. Demand for surfboard packaging orders soon overtook their existing design business.
Demand for packaging across other industries grew, and the twins soon diversified their product to create sleeves for bottles – now their most popular product. Their product range now includes sleeves for electronics, sunglasses and more.
There have been several challenges along the way, one being pressure from investors to move out of Cornwall. The twins have stuck firm to their belief that location is not restrictive to business growth, and have focused their recruitment on the wealth of talent in Cornwall, as well as individuals from the corporate world in London who might be keen to relocate.
The business is going from strength to strength. In 2021, Flexi-Hex sold 2 million sleeves, preventing 1,555km of plastic being used. It traded in 22 countries, added five new team members, and was awarded five accolades for sustainability and innovation.
In 2022, the company became B Corp certified; revenues reached £1.2m and the team grew to 13.
2023 is set to be another successful year, and Flexi-Hex was recently awarded the Kings Enterprise award for innovation.
Sam and Will have transformed the packaging industry; they have created a product which allows a business to become more sustainable, without having to compromise on customer experience. They are worthy winners of the Game Changer category at this year’s Chamber Business Awards.
On the back of the success of the brewery site and events, Dal then set his sights on expanding both the range of products on offer and the footprint of the business. In December 2021, Dal agreed a 20-year lease on Christchurch Spire in Coventry city centre. The unique venue serves Dhillon’s beers and ales on tap, as well as offering hot drinks and food, to create a family friendly environment.
Dhillon’s next venture was the Sky Blue Tavern, a brand-new sports bar in the city centre, in partnership with Coventry City Football Club. The Tavern is a hub for Sky Blues fans to meet and enjoy a drink, whether on matchdays or non-matchdays, and helps to generate revenue and support for the club. As one of the only dedicated sports bars in Coventry, football and sports fans can watch the latest action on big screens and in individual booths.
Dhillon’s Brewery have now also secured several catering contracts, including with Historic Coventry Trust, where they provide food and beverage operations at the historic Drapers’ Hall, as well as at other Trust locations.
The company’s vision and long-term growth plan continues to be focused on its close association with Coventry whilst securing further locations and contracts, to build a sustainable, profitable business model whilst continuing Dal’s original passion for brewing beautifully crafted beer.
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