company profile: what more uk

to face. We didn’t have email and telephone conversations were to book appointments. It was well before the arrival of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, even before lockdown, that it was becoming a non-face to face business.” What More UK’s ability to keep on top of supply and demand maintains the relationships they have with their customers, he believes. It has been the ability to supply customers when necessary that Grimshaw believes marks the company out from other manufacturers. “You need to keep the excitement of the

company he works for and the industry. The challenges that present themselves each day are not for the faint hearted but everyone is genuine, he says. “The people we serve are genuine people and the people who support our industry, BHETA and our trade press are genuine people. All striving to be the best at what they do.” Everyone has been hit by setbacks in one way or another but Grimshaw says he realises that the independent retailers have been the hardest hit. Despite this, they have adapted, and it is through the flexibility of the industry that allows for trends to be picked up quickly. “The independent retailers have adapted so well to the situation whereas some larger companies have not and been forced out of business. They have adapted well and bodes well for the future.” Grimshaw says that few days are ever the

same. “Different challenges and crisis bob their heads over the parapet daily. It’s the job of industry to solve these daily and prepare for the next batch tomorrow. The problems that we cannot control are the ones such as, customs in Europe, raw material price increase and the actions of politicians, UK and worldwide.” The

March/April 2021

pandemic has meant that running ‘business as usual’ hasn’t always been possible but What More UK has continued to find ways around the challenges. “The problem with this pandemic period, has been keeping all our colleagues safe and virus free. Even with the exceptional, equipment and facilities we have here at What More, people are very much key to turning raw materials in to world beating products. Our state-of-the-art equipment helps with social distancing being built into the process,” he says. “New safety protocols and the total support of all our whole workforce, have meant our products have continued to be manufactured. Our manufacturing and distribution teams cannot work from home.” Maintaining relationships with customers during a pandemic has also proven difficult but Grimshaw notes that this was already something that was getting progressively more difficult over the years. “It has not been easy to maintain relationships with customers, but it hasn’t been easy for years”, he says. “Face-to- face meetings have been a rarity. It is a once in a period catch up. When I started out as a salesman all our meetings were done face

purchaser. We are known for new product development, that creates interest from retailers”, he says. “You need to keep people coming into the store and if you don’t have that then you lose impulse purchases. Our industry needs to confront the fact that it is an experience and ignite the imagination of the customer when they come into the store. Its companies like What More that start the product development and keep an eye on trends.”

Looking to the future, “expansion is what gets us out of bed in the morning”, says Grimshaw. “Our boss would never rubber stamp a period of sitting back for a while and sweating our assets. The board would be looking for other positions. We are continually on the lookout for new opportunities. Be they by developing new products, new product groups or by acquisition. We strive to be the best at what we do. We will never get there, as we continually want to improve.”

Grimshaw and the team at What More UK aim

to be a one stop housewares shop. How long that will take them, they don’t know, because it’s out of their control but it’s about taking the opportunities as and when they present themselves. | 19

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