Nikwax recently received one of the U.K.’s top awards for business, The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement, and was also recently given the International Business award for Language. Both honors speak to the diversity of culture within the company and the success it has seen in international markets. This was the third Queen’s Award that the company has received since Nick Brown founded the company in 1976 and made his first delivery in a shopping cart he “pinched” from a local super market.

Since founding the company, Brown has built it from a one-product local manufacturer, into an international exporter with distributors throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Nikwax still manufactures all of its waterproofing products in Wadhurst, although the tight U.K. green-space laws are making it harder to find room for expansion.

Part of the reason behind Nikwax’s repeated Queens Awards is a mutual interest in the environment. Queen Elizabeth has notoriously been thrifty, according to British tabloids, and now she has begun a renovation to Buckingham palace that will not only save money, but also cut pollution and energy usage. Because of this effort and her heir’s interest in environmentalism, activists in the country have nicknamed her “The Green Queen.”

Nick Brown has much the same philosophy, and has shunned aerosol propellants and any suspect materials such as the fluorocarbons found in many other brands of waterproofing product. According to Brown, in spite of this commitment to use only environmentally friendly materials (or perhaps because of it) Nikwax products still consistently outperform the competition in U.K. government testing.

The company recently launched a wholly-owned subsidiary in the U.S., Nikwax USA, based in Seattle (See BOSS 0444) headed by former LaSportiva VP Chas Fisher. The company has wide acceptance in the outdoor community, and now is looking to expand into other non-core markets, such as golf, equestrian, and general sporting goods.