A New Forest Brilliance in Business Award winner, Andy Ashcroft, has now added a Fairtrade award to his collection.

Andy Ashcroft and Mike Trodd run Koolskools, an ethical school clothing company based in the New Forest, which has rapidly become one of the UK’s leading, exclusive suppliers of Fairtrade cotton school uniform.

The business won ‘Best Fairtrade Supplier’ Gold Award in the South West Fairtrade Business Awards 2013.

When Andy and Mike embarked on the Koolskools journey, their vision was to establish a unique ethical manufacturing and supply chain that would benefit everyone buying into it – producers, manufacturers and customers alike. The principal Koolskools factory is in Mauritius and employs around 250 workers.

Fairness and quality is the Koolskools mantra: from the small-scale farmers in developing countries growing their Fairtrade certified cotton; through the mill and factory employees in those regions turning the cotton into finished garments; all the way to customers buying and wearing their Fairtrade certified cotton clothing.

Andy said: “This is not something we could have achieved without the on-going support and friendship of our client schools, corporates and the Fairtrade network. As well as the day-to-day business we also do a lot of free-of-charge educational work with schools on Fairtrade so to have our work recognised at such a high profile Fairtrade occasion has been amazing for us.”

Koolskools was a fledgling business when Andy won the category of ‘Best New Business’ at the New Forest Business Partnership’s Brilliance in Business Awards in 2009 for another business venture. Following this success Andy joined the New Forest Business Partnership (NFBP) as a Board member and has been an active and valued member.

“We have found membership of the New Forest Business Partnership to be extremely beneficial to our business,” said Andy. “We have had local leads from NFBP networking that has led to tangible business for Koolskools, for which we are very grateful.”

NFBP chairman, Rob Dewing, said: “Andy and Mike truly deserve their recent Fairtrade Award. Koolskools has come a long way in the last few years and I’m pleased that we have been able to support them through the New Forest Business Partnership.”

For more information about Koolskools visit www.koolskools.co.uk

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