Craft Focus - December 2021/January 2022 (Issue 88)

61 PROFILE gives you the opportunity to sell our products on your own website, shop or online auction website without the hassle of having to stock products and worry about packaging and posting to your customers. We’ll pack your order and send it directly to your customer. How has Ancient Wisdom evolved? By the year 2000 we’d moved from retail to purely wholesale. Lots of products were hard to find so I’d ended up making and sourcing our own range. Naturally, other retailers wanted stock and it seemed to me you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be retailing and wholesaling because by doing that you inevitably compete with your own customers. At AW we’re one of the few wholesalers supporting the independent gift trade and pledge never to retail. What do you specialise in? AW started out with aromatherapy products, and it’s still our core range. But from that we’ve developed into many areas. Anything and everything an independent quality gift retailer needs. These days we not only manufacture aromatics we import from India, Indonesia and China. Other places too but these three source markets are well developed. Importing for more than 20 years, we’ve established our own warehouses, agents and offices to ensure that goods are ethically produced and shipped as efficiently as possible. We work with hundreds of artisan craft producers and are proud to support local communities wherever we can. I write a newsletter every Friday detailing this ongoing journey. If you register at AW you can sign up for the newsletter and like customers provide ideas and feedback and help shape the future at AW. Talk us through the current products you’re particularly excited about. Do you have a favourite? The beautiful homeware items from Indonesia are my personal favourites. But we have so many things to get excited about. Craft and giftware has boomed over the last year! Have you noticed any new trends? So many trends, at AW we always aim to have the latest fast-moving items. How often do you launch new ranges? Almost every week new products come online, whether from our aromatics factory or from our import sourcing teams. How would you advise a retailer who is interested in stocking your products? We have a dedicated customer service team always willing to help. Online at you can find lots of info, ideas and sales tips. Chat with customer service via the online chat – it’s really easy and we’re delighted to help new customers and start up businesses. What sets you apart from your competitors? Like I said before, we don’t compete at the retail level with our customers. We have always focused on the independent gift trade and don’t do sales. We have no sales people, only customer service and marketing. So when you deal with AW you deal direct – we offer our products are competitive prices because we don’t have sales reps, cars and commissions to pay. This business model has worked well for AW with good steady growth for 25 years, now we have a large 100,000sqft warehouse in Sheffield: Affinity Park, plus, distribution warehouses in Slovakia and Spain in Europe. We work with independent retailers everywhere. Do you visit any trade shows? Do you plan to visit any soon? Sorry we don’t have salespeople, preferring to focus management skills and resources on product sourcing and development. So, tradeshows aren’t for us. You can find us online. How did business cope during the Covid-19 pandemic and what are your plans going forward? The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but at the height of the pandemic we were very busy because people started shopping online more and we had the kind of things folk wanted. People who know AW will know the tragic devastating fire that destroyed our main warehouse in July 2020 at the peak of the pandemic. It was a difficult time but the amazing support and encouragement from our customers together with hard work and resolve from the team at AW – I think we managed to build back better. What new products can we expect from you in the future? Wow so many in the pipeline. Register at AW to be in the know and access a steady stream of fast-moving quality products your customers with love. ANCIENT WISDOM