Posted by Rachel Westall on 1 January 2024
Tell us a little bit about the company.
Where are you based? When did the company start?
The Wholesaler (UK) Ltd. is an online directory linking UK based wholesalers with the independent retail trade. It was started in 1999 by my former business partner, David Heasman, when the internet was very much in its infancy. People were accessing wholesale suppliers via hard copy publications such as The Trader but David thought he could take advantage of an emerging opportunity to enable people to search online even though few people had access to a computer, let alone an internet connection and mobile connectivity was still a pipe dream. How things have changed! Now the internet pervades every area of our lives and it's a very rare that a company that doesn't have a web presence and even rarer that a home or individual doesn't use the web for everything from shopping, booking holidays, keeping in touch and for a myriad other reasons.
What do you specialise in?
We only link to UK based suppliers, who are holding stock in the UK and who supply the independent retail trade. I believe that what sets us apart from our competitors is that all our content is personally vetted. Our aim has never been to publish the longest list of wholesalers but retailers can use the directory sure in the knowledge that they're dealing with bona fide traders. We also offer trial listings to new advertisers, giving them the opportunity to see whether the directory will work for them before making any long-term commitment.
Do you visit any trade shows? Do you plan to visit any soon?
In the past, we exhibited at many UK trade shows but haven't done so for quite a few years now and have no plans to do so. We reach potential advertisers via hard copy advertising in relevant trade magazines and we're well found by the major search engines including Google.
Hobby & crafts have boomed over the last two years!
Have you noticed any new trends?
Hobbies and crafts are just one of the categories featured in the directory so I can't claim to have an in-depth knowledge of the sector or emerging trends. However, I think that it almost certainly enjoyed a surge in interest during the pandemic when lockdowns forced people to look for pastimes that could be enjoyed indoors. The revival of interest in knitting and embroidery, for example, and the demand for handmade jewellery, toys and giftware has enabled many small businesses to emerge offering an alternative to mass market products.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
I would advise potential craft retailers to offer a diverse range of products and, whether online or in store, have knowledgeable staff available to offer help and advice to consumers. Great customer service can never be underestimated.
What are you looking forward to most over the next year?
Sadly, David passed away in February 2019 so I'm now the sole director. I run the business from the beautiful Andalucian province of Malaga. Although the economic outlook in the UK is still rather uncertain, I'm looking forward to continuing to offer a reliable source of wholesale suppliers to retailers and to offering wholesalers of craft and many other products, an effective route to market from little more than a pound a day.
THE WHOLESALER LTD.
+44 (0)1608 662 298