In 2011, after a period of extensive refurbishment and renovation, Trade Radiators Ltd proudly moved into their very own offices, ideally situated in central Glasgow. Complete with shower room, vintage fireplaces, old theatre lighting and even a dedicated elevator operator, the Glasgow office is home to a fantastic team of support and admin staff, overseeing the business generated by the company’s wide range of home furnishing websites. The start of this incredible journey however, had much humbler beginnings for the Auckland Brothers, the brains, owners and founders of the company.
Back in 2004, James was working as a graphic designer and Nicholas was managing large property conversion projects. It was in his role as project manager that Nic saw a potential gap in the market for well-priced but high quality whirlpool baths. Nic explains:
“I was working on a project that involved converting an old mill into a series of luxury apartments. One of the standout features of these hi-spec flats was the addition of whirlpool baths into the bathrooms. One of the main things that jumped out at potential buyers when they viewed the properties was the fact that these baths came as standard. Needless to say the project was a resounding success and all flats were sold very quickly. It was then that I realised just how much good quality fixtures and fittings could add to the financial value and saleablility of a property…”
Motivated by this realisation, Nic tested his hypothesis by using his contacts made in his project management position to source some whirlpool baths. Using eBay as a selling platform to minimise any risk, Nic soon realised there was a demand and a large market to tap into from home owners upgrading their bathroom suites, to builders taking on massive construction projects. Things moved quickly and a dedicated website, lunaspas.com, was launched in 2005, specialising in whirlpool baths and associated accessories.
The Aucklands were well aware of the potential for success in other areas of home furnishings and felt that staying niche was the way to go. James explains:
“By specialising in certain areas, we found we were able to provide a better service and better range to our customers, rather than spreading ourselves too thinly and trying to be all things to all people. By the time we’d set up traderadiators.com in 2008, we had a great knowledge and awareness of niche e-commerce sites, not just in terms of the products we could offer, but also the SEO and marketing benefits of operating within slightly narrower boundaries…”
The company has quite simply gone from strength to strength since 2004. In addition to opening it’s own premises and employing a number of close-knit full-time staff, Trade Radiators Ltd now operates across 5 websites and also has successful stores on eBay and Amazon. Success breeds success and both Auckland brothers have used the knowledge gained from the business to embark on their own personal projects. James is renovating a 19th Century property in Nottinghamshire, while Nic is close to completing a pair of unique new-build homes in Glasgow’s West End.
Nic declares: “It’s all about perseverance, constantly challenging yourself and always keeping an eye out for opportunities. Myself and James have learnt a lot in the last 9 or 10 years and we’ll continue to keep pushing ourselves to grow the business and do the best for our customers. We’re about to launch a competition that will provide funding for new entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas, so we’re very excited about how things will develop over the next 6 months!”