FATHER-of-four Simon Wood has definitely seen the public warming to his welly business this year.

For the Walton, near Carlisle, farmer who set up The Warm Welly Company over a decade ago, is seeing his business marching on to a record year for sales.

Thanks to welly innovations and the growing market from families looking to make the most of the outdoors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sales are currently 95 percent up on the same time last year.

Since lockdown in March, as families spent time on the internet, their website www.warmwellies.co.uk has seen visitor numbers grow by more than 90 percent. Predicting a spike in sales Simon increased production with additional consignments arriving before Christmas.

Sheep farmer, Simon and wife, Cookie moved to Hillfield Farm in 2000 farming a breeding flock of 300 sheep. Passionate about the outdoors they enhanced their landscape with over 6,500 trees and 2.8km of hedges.

Simon, now known as The Warm Wellies Farmer, launched his new career after seeing his own children shiver in traditional wellington boots.

He designed a new range of warm wellies using his own children as models and welly testers, featuring neoprene as a built in insulator.

Since then the business has expanded to include a range of wellies for all members of the family, and more recently the introduction of a range of Short Wellies and Wide Wellies.

Simon explained “We’ve lots of customers who are very active outdoors, be that on farms, riding horses, walking or working, and those with chunkier calves or wide feet wanted a wider fit welly. Similarly, older people with less flexibility in their joints wanted more room in the ankle – that’s why we created our Wide Wellies. We decided to include short wellies because we also had feedback that customers wanted an easy to slip on style that’s great for gardening or just nipping outside.”

He added: “We have been selling more wellies right across our range, but it seems an increasing number of parents are more prepared to invest in their children’s feet with good quality, comfortable wellies that have the added benefit of a neoprene lining.

“It’s very positive news for our business as there’s long term growth potential in this market - children’s feet can keep growing until they’re teenagers, which means customer loyalty is valued highly. We know our wellies last because we hear from customers who are buying bigger sizes, who tell us they are still working well as hand-me-downs, that’s perfect recycling.”

Warm Welly customers are located right across the UK.

“Many are farmers and they are all keen on family adventures in the fresh air. They aren’t afraid of getting muddy. Like us, they appreciate the value of keeping kid’s feet warm and they know the outdoors can be fun all year round if you wear the right gear.”

Four-year-old Northumberland young farmer, Sam Carmichael became involved with the Warm Welly Company when Simon spotted signs created by the youngster designed to encourage people walking to respect farming life and the countryside.

Simon was very impressed with Sam’s signs – so much so that his company launched a competition asking kids to create signs that helps people respect the countryside. And Sam and his mum Jess were invited to judge each of the category winners who received a pair of Warm Wellies.

Simon said “We had a great chat with Jess and it was very clear that Sam is a real farmer. He loves his wellies because he looks like a farmer in them – and Jess said they really do a good job of keeping out the cold.”

Making the right impression and connecting with customers is at the fore of ‘Warm Wellies’ marketing plans. During the summer they invested in a new website using ‘real life’ customer photography alongside pictures from photographers that connect with farming and the great outdoors.

Interaction on their Facebook and Instagram accounts has grown too – and the company is working with a diverse range of Influencers from kids who want to be farmers to an Ex Norland Nanny in London who has been developing a practical parenting app.

The Warm Welly Company is supporting the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) and The Farmer Networks across Cumbria and Yorkshire by offering members a discount on wellies.