Willsow are the creators of the first-ever plantable children’s books, where the end of the story is just the beginning!
While working at his 77-year-old printing firm in Leicester, Tom Willday discovered that it was possible to make business cards out of seed paper and use them to grow plants.
At the same time, Tom was looking for ways to get his cousins away from technology and back to enjoying nature and the fresh air.
As a result, Tom came up with a plantable children’s book concept, and Willsow’s books was born.
The company currently has a portfolio of five cotton-stitched books made from 100% recycled paper and biodegradable ink. They hope to considerably extend the product range.
Each page is embedded with 500 vegetable seeds, so you can read the book and then plant a page to grow your veggies!
To help the company grow, Tom Willday decided to pitch his idea on the national TV show Dragons’ Den!
Willsow, secured an investment of £20,000 after negotiating with three Dragons.
The plantable books’ green credentials
Environmentally conscious and eco-friendly practices are at the heart of Willsow’s brand values.
As a result, each plantable children’s book is made from post-consumer recycled paper, and features non-genetically modified seeds.
It also uses vegetable-based, biodegradable ink.
Instead of toxic glue or metal staples commonly used in binding, the books are hand-stitched using natural cotton.
In addition to this, the family printing firm that produces the books is powered by entirely renewable energy making the whole production process completely sustainable.
Tom Willday and James Coulthurst entered the Den looking for £20,000 investment for a 10% share in their company, Willsow.
After an intense pitch to the Dragons, Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, and Sara Davies were extremely keen to invest.
Following some serious negotiation, Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden refused to reduce their asking percentage.
As a result, the pair struck a deal with Sara Davies, securing a £20,000 investment for 15% of the business.
Tom, the founder of Willsow, said, “We’re incredibly proud to have created the world’s first plantable children’s book.
Everything we do is completely sustainable, whether it be our renewable energy-powered factory or our natural cotton stitched books instead of toxic glue or harmful metal staples.
It is 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. Willsow, where the end of the story is just the beginning.”
When asked about the future of Willsow, James Coulthurst said, “It’s going to be an all-encompassing brand that stands for; sustainability, recycling, and getting the most from our natural surroundings.
We’ll have a huge range of plantable children’s books, how-to plant guides, and gardening equipment.
We will be the go-to business for parents who are looking for fun ways to get their kids out into the garden, learning about our environment and everything it has to offer.”
Willsow’s appearance aired on 20/05/2021 at 8pm on BBC ONE.
Images by permission from willsow.com