Karen Wigglesworth – The Cotton Expert

Karen Wigglesworth – The Cotton Expert

Karen sleeps and breathes cotton wool. Retail Sales Manager for cotton, she has 25 years’ experience in the retail environment.

She is motivated by identifying growth opportunities through market trends and consumer need, then developing new and highly relevant products to excite retailers and engage end users.

As a result, Karen has taken this white fluffy product to new levels and is passionate about working closely with her customers’ specific needs. She works hard to understand each customer audience and tailors product solutions that add value and develops their business.

So Karen, what questions are you asked most frequently?

To be honest, I don’t get asked too many. I always try to consider all the retailers’ needs and pre-empt any queries in customer presentations.

But the thing I hear most often from customers is surprise. That Polyco Healthline is a private label cotton company offering new product development goes against what 92% of the rest of the market is doing. I see that as a compliment – that we can offer something different, bespoke and challenge trading paradigms.

Others sometimes ask whether we can develop a new product based on something they have seen work in another country. Or because the market is becoming more conscious of the environment, they ask what we’re doing to deliver more sustainable products.

What questions do you wish you were asked more frequently?

I rarely find myself saying, “no, we can’t do that”. Our strength and difference is that we’re always open-minded, flexible and deliver against what the customer wants. So I’d love for customers to dream bigger and ask how we can add real value while keeping the product offering unique.

What do you feel is the biggest problem within your industry?

It’s great that consumers are increasingly more conscious of health and beauty products impacting the environment. But the industry is still playing catch-up to their expectations: staying reactive rather than proactive. While we’ve made big steps towards reducing plastic in cotton products, this is only the start and we will continue to work towards offering alternative, sustainable packaging solutions.

How do Polyco Healthline’s products address the problem?

Our focus is to achieve long-term environmental change. So rather than keeping pace with other suppliers, we lead sector innovation. For example, after learning that one of key retail partners aspired to reduce plastic in their products, we worked with them to become the first supplier to introduce FSC-certified paper stemmed cotton buds to market. It’s by listening to customers’ needs we can then understand how best to make a difference with sustainable products.

What is your favourite product and why?

The exfoliating pads and textured nail pads. Quite simply, they’re a superb innovation – launching at the right time. With the ban on microbeads enforced from January 2018, our cotton pads are slightly textured on one side with extra pad thickness, and offer the consumer a unique way to continue exfoliating.

These days, we all love trendy and fashionable dark and glitter nail varnish. Our textured nail pads safely clean your nails in just one wipe.

What future technology will have the greatest impact on your industry specialism?

I look forward to when sustainable packaging is mainstream. Then there will be no excuse for a company to avoid plastic waste reduction and protecting the environment.
At the same time, current technology is still having an impact. With TV ads, consumers are becoming increasingly educated about the benefits of cleansers and toners with natural additives – like micellar water.

Why are you proud to sell Polyco Healthline products and services?

Consumer confidence and trust is at an all-time high with our products. It’s a great feeling to know we’re delivering what people want from their health and beauty disposables – protecting people and the environment.

What project are you most excited about at the moment?

While I can’t be specific, I’m excited that we’re committed to launching three new cotton products each year. These balls, buds and pads won’t just be novelty for the sake of it, but developed against appropriate consumer studies. Our plan is to offer cotton pads with additives and extend our sustainable organic cotton offering.

How are you able to provide the greatest value to Polyco Healthline customers?

I have real confidence in my ability to drive forward any business in this sector. At the heart of my expertise is my ability to understand and listen to the consumer. There’s a great opportunity to take cotton products to the next level. It’s an underdeveloped market and we’re actively trying to grow it – so get in touch and let’s work together.