Case Study 13


The Accelerator Programme has already benefited dozens of businesses in Lincolnshire. Here are some shining examples of business owners who have made a commitment to the success of their businesses by participating on previous Accelerators.



Marketing a business fit for a queen

Crackpots designs and creates beautiful wooden tissue box covers, bins and homewares using a craft method called decoupage.

From humble beginnings, the business was born 11 years ago at a kitchen table. Alison and partner Gail grew the brand by frequenting large craft shows and developing a strong online presence on e-commerce channels like Etsy and Not On The High Street.

When the Accelerator programme began, Crackpots had made over 18,000 sales in 40 countries worldwide.

However, being a self-starter, Alison openly admits she didn’t have some of the business skills she needed to launch Crackpots in other markets.

Crack-pots tissue boxes


Papering over the cracks

Alison and Gail were happy with how the business was performing, but they saw an opportunity to grow their business in another market – the hospitality industry. Alison had created the Crackpots website and had a basic understanding of SEO but knew she needed to upskill in marketing if they were to make an impact here.

When starting the programme, Crackpots were investing money in marketing experts but not seeing enough of a return on investment. Alison said, “I was paying people to do it but didn’t know about best practice.” Alison wanted to get to grips with the process to a) understand what she was paying for and b) run more of the marketing activity herself.

Working with the Accelerator mentors, Alison began to understand how to create a marketing strategy that made sense for the business.

The Solution

Accessing the marketing mentor and their all-day session, Alison was supported to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and piece together the various marketing activities the team were running.

Seeing where her marketing activities made a real impact meant that Alison could stop outsourcing and bring the whole thing in-house.

The new business grant and Alison’s upskilling means that the Crackpots team are planning on hiring two new employees, one of which will be a marketing assistant. They’re also hoping to adjust their workshop space, allowing the business to increase sales by a third.

With their high-quality products, outstanding service and now coherent marketing plan, there’s no doubt that the Crackpots business will thrive in the hospitality industry. Let’s face it, when the Balmoral estate comes asking for a bespoke product, you know you’re onto a winner.

Crackpots bins and tissue boxes
Alison Johnson Crackpots

The Verdict

From the entrepreneur

Alison says, “I’ve already recommended the Accelerator programme to someone. I cannot recommend it enough. For someone with limited business knowledge and even those with experience, taking part is so beneficial.”

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