After more than 30 years working for others, Noel Folkard decided it was time to go out on his own in 2008. It was a life-altering decision for his family, but it felt right. Before making his big move, Noel knew that he needed to have a product customers wanted. He also knew he needed to have a dedicated team in place to establish a culture focused on constantly improving manufacturing processes and never resting on past performance.
Once Noel had plans in place, AF ONE MFG. INC. (317 Clarence St., Brampton) came to fruition.
Since 2008, AF ONE MFG. INC has been developing advanced medical foam products and a variety of children’s furniture under the brand names Bodyform® Orthopedic and ComfyKids®. Relying on years of experience in the industry, Noel developed his products, which he now sells to major retailers, such as Walmart, Costco, Loblaws, Best Buy, Wayfair, and others across Canada.
Noel credits his team for their ability to design and manufacture leading-edge products for specific market requirements. AF ONE MFG. INC continues to focus on quality, performance and just in time delivery. The company’s strength of getting products shipped quickly to their customers makes Brampton the perfect location for his business. Brampton is the hub of North America’s transportation network and home to Canada’s largest inland port, meaning goods move efficiently and quickly.
Adding to this, Noel’s family was raised in the Peel Region, which allows them to take advantage of the city’s local talent and supplier networks. These local networks are becoming increasingly important for Noel as he increases the company’s focus on growing e-commerce sales, as well as looking internally to improve the manufacturing processes and invest in state-of-the-art automation technologies.
There were many times Noel was advised about the risks of going out on his own. Through all of the ups and downs of owning a small business, Noel has never looked back on his decision.
When asked about advice for entrepreneurs starting a business in Brampton, his advice is very clear: People need to keep moving forward and always be preparing for the next sale. To overcome challenges, entrepreneurs need to focus their product on what makes sense for the market. It’s crucial to clearly articulate the pitch so that customers can easily understand the problem you’re trying to solve.
Noel is excited for what is ahead as he navigates his business in the challenging times presented by the pandemic.
To learn more about AF ONE MFG. INC. and to see their product lineup view this video: www.bodyformorthopedic.com or visit any of the above retailers websites and search for Bodyform Orthopedic and ComfyKids.