Wednesday, 26 May 2021 10:45 GMT

First plantable book wins over the Dragons

The first plantable children’s book produced by Alfred Willday & Son has secured investment on Dragon’s Den.

Crafted in the East Midlands, the Willsow books are made with handmade paper embedded with vegetable and herb seeds and printed using vegetable-based inks.

The books have a shelf life of two years but after they are finished with, they can be planted in soil with produce growing from the paper.

As the books are bound using 100% natural cotton rather than glue or metal staples, they are fully biodegradable.

Tom Willday was working as the managing director of Alfred Willday & Son - his family's business - when he founded Willsow in 2019. 

The books were inspired by Ofsted’s number one priority of making reading more engaging

He says: "It's amazing to continue my family's legacy by running our 77-year-old printing firm and creating truly innovative products. We're on a mission to educate future generations on all things sustainable."

Whilst the books themselves weren’t produced using Vivid technology, Alfred Willday & Son has been using its kit for over a decade.

The firm first invested in a Vivid Easymount wide-format laminator 12 years ago and since then the company has worked closely with Vivid, investing in three additional machines over the years.

Willday says: “We’re really chuffed that we have invested in the VeloBlade Volta 69+. This is the fourth system we’ve purchased from Vivid spanning our 12-year relationship and I am very much looking forward to running a diverse number of substrates on this system and creating innovative products that will bring a new revenue stream to the business.”

Vivid has worked with Alfred Willday & Son for over 12 years

According to Willday, the investment will enable the company to reduce make-ready cost and reduce production time for work that needs cutting and creasing.

“It’s created so many different options”, Willday says, adding: “We can produce boxes with no make-ready loss at all. If we make 50 or 100 boxes, there’s only a time difference instead of a massive make-ready cost."

The Willsow books appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den on Thursday 20th May where it secured a £20,000 investment for 15% of the business from Sara Davies.

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