James Oakey appointed Buying Director, Hayloft Plants Ltd

  • James Oakey
  • Hayloft Plants, Hollyoaks

James Oakey was appointed Buying Director of Hayloft Plants Ltd on Thursday 13th April 2023. James joined Hayloft Plants in February 2022 and quickly got to understand the business, whilst working mainly from his home in Cambridgeshire.

James is a qualified RHS horticulturist with his career commencing working in an ornamental retail plant nursery as a teenager having helped out on his families’ market garden from childhood. James became Garden Centre Manager at Great Mills DIY Superstore in Huntingdon, then worked for S B England in Wisbech, K J Curson Farms in Upwell and then as a National Account Manager at Boeflora UK Ltd giving him an excellent knowledge of supermarket supply chain from within the U.K. and Europe.

Moving into the mail order multichannel marketplace, working as a Production and Procurement Manager at Marshall/ Unwins for five years before being promoted to Head of Horticulture at Marshalls Seeds and the Westland Group for another five years. Two further years were spent as Unwins Business Unit Manager before joining YouGarden and then Plants2Gardens.

James has designed and built gardens at Chelsea and Hampton Court RHS shows winning several awards through his work and is also an RHS Vegetable Trials Member assessing crops for Award of Garden Merit.

Large new plant packing glasshouse

Hayloft Plants was very fortunate to be a net beneficiary of the Covid 19 pandemic and has invested heavily in its Hollyoaks Nursery site with a large new plant packing glasshouse, warehouse, renewable power in the form of heat pumps, solar power and EV charging points.    

Retirement of the founders

James joins the senior management team at Hayloft Plants in what is an interesting chapter. Sales in the period to mid March 2023 have been on par with 2019 before achieving the best week ever by a long way w/c Monday 27th March 2023 followed by the second best week ever the week after and what is looking like the third best week ever in the current week. Strengthening the Management Team will make the retirement of the founders, Yvonne & Derek Jarman, much easier within the next couple of years.

James is running the 26.2 mile London marathon on Sunday 23rd April 2023 and has tried numerous times over the years to enter this event to no avail. This year he got the chance to run for a local charity, CamVet, The Cambridge University Veterinary School Trust, and leapt at the chance to tick this off his lifetime ‘bucket list’.


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