Three new board appointments at fast-growing Derby firm

Peter Ellse

A Derby company which sells ethical educational supplies to primary schools and nurseries has made a treble appointment to the board as it looks forward to celebrating a tenth year in business.

Cosy Direct, which has recently moved from its city headquarters to a new 45,000 sq ft specially adapted building near Tutbury, on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border, has appointed David Hook, as its chief operating officer, Jackie Raven as buying director and Stuart Morgan as ecommerce director.

Hook will be in charge of the company’s distribution unit, while Raven will take control of Cosy’s buying team and supply base. Morgan is given an open platform to fuel the rapid digitisation of cosy.

Hook and Raven have previously worked with Cosy chair Peter Ellse and managing director Nick Walker.

“David, Nick and I worked together more than 10 years ago and transformed a humble £2m company – into a resilient £40m global business that in the words of the outdoing RM plc’s chairman singlehandedly transformed the PLCs prospect,” said Ellse. “I’m delighted they have left very well respected cushioned jobs for our deeper team adventure here.”

Walker said: “Jackie is the number one buyer in our sector, Stuart is a leading ecommerce specialist and both are a real steal for the Cosy team. These scale investments to the board, alongside our building and new systems, gives us a platform to scale Cosy yet again as we aim to initially double the turnover and expand to 50 countries.”

The appointments don’t stop there.

Retired primary school teacher Jan is the brand-new face of Cosy initiative ‘Tea at 3’. The former coffee shop barista will serve homemade cake and a cuppa to Cosy staff in China tea cups at 3pm every Friday while Peter has plans to launch a ‘Mum’s Army’ – 10 part-time jobs which will suit working parents with flexible hours during term time.

It comes after a recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that women had been “disproportionately impacted” by repeated Coronavirus lockdowns.

Ellse added: “The national lockdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have affected us all – but it is women who have suffered the most, as this report shows.

“They have been responsible for the majority of home schooling and caring for or supporting vulnerable relatives. The Government’s recovery funding has been directed towards ‘male dominated industries’ and opportunities for career development for women has dwindled.

“We want to create a multi-lingual ‘Mum’s Army’ to share our Cosy brand around the globe, with flexible working arrangements to work around young children who are, of course, so important to Cosy.”

Cosy Direct, which was set up in 2011 by Ellse and his wife Amanda, employ more than 80 people and, last year, the company reported an £8m turnover.

Supplying schools, councils and nurseries across the UK with thousands of inventions including craft, art and upcycled resources as well reading shelters and story chairs, Cosy have benefitted from an increase in the number of children playing outside in the fresh air since the Coronavirus restrictions were put in place last year.

As a lockdown hobby they have quickly built an export business to 15 countries around the world and will celebrate a 10th year in business in June.

Hook added: “Cosy is one of the UK’s most exciting prospects when it comes to the educational resources industry and their deeply held community-minded ethos – they support a feeding programme for 300 young families in Kenya, are sponsoring the education section of the Derby Book Festival, the Derby Ram Trail and are heavily involved in Derby Kids Camp – is uniquely appealing.

“It’s like being home with friends for me and I look forward to creating the excitement once again.