Welcome to Trayde's Brand Spotlight series. Here we take the time to appreciate the wonderful members on our platform. We have created this section to share inspiring stories about brands, their products and their meaningful purpose.
Today, we are highlighting three of our members, Hayley, Daisy and Mark, directors and founders of Wedgie. From the schoolyard to Sri Lanka and a wedding, Wedgie is both a friend and family business of door wedges. Taking inspiration from everywhere, the Wedgie crew spends a lot of time and passion into those little adorable door wedges. Not only do they deliver a high-quality and handmade product, Wedgie is also committed to its employees and plays a major role in the local economy of Sri Lanka, by empowering men and women based in rural areas.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Wedgie is wholeheartedly a friend and family affair. With two of our three directors, Hayley and Daisy growing up in the rolling countryside of Watford, London - best friends from the moment they met on the schoolyard whilst doing laps of the netball court and gossiping about boys.
Quite a few years later, but a few miles away in Sri Lanka, Mark sashayed on the scene and caught Hayley’s eye. The two inhabited Sri Lanka for a few years and wed in 2014, where not long after the idea of a door wedge ‘empire’ soon blossomed.
After making contact with local Sri Lankan handicraft suppliers, Hayley & Mark set about designing the first collection of characters, and Wedgie was officially born at the start of 2015. The advantage of being in close proximity to where the products were made enabled regular visits to meet the workers and see the hand-carving and hand-painting work in progress.
Wedgie’s chosen supplier has a fine history of working on handicrafts with almost 20 years in the business and is still, to this day, heavily focused on empowering rural communities. They work with an incredible incentive scheme, where they deliver unpainted door stops directly to employees’ houses, along with paints, brushes and tools. Once painted and completed, the Wedgies are paid for on collection, allowing people in rural communities the convenience of earning an income whilst going about their daily routines.
After seeing the fun-nature and possible potential of Wedgie outside of Sri Lanka, Daisy joined Hayley and Mark in 2016 and with help from some amazing friends, started selling Wedgies on market stalls across London. As Wedgie’s flew off the market stall stands, it wasn’t long until they began to appear in shops around London, then across England, and now are stocked in over 60 stores worldwide.
In the space of 2-3 years, Wedgie has enjoyed organic but fast growth. Still maintaining a small team, and still staunchly independent. At the start of 2018 Wedgie opened up a new dispatch centre in Manchester, where the latest employees to the team are Sue & Mike; otherwise known as Mark’s Mum & Dad. Sue and Mike are the heartbeats of Wedgie, dealing with all online orders & customer queries, and a better customer service you will fail to receive.
2. What inspired you to create your business?
We inject personality and life into all of our products, taking inspiration from the modern, the retro, the cool, the not-so-cool, the famous, the not-so-famous, stereotypes and much more. Our aim is to deliver a high-quality, handmade product with excellent design and something that will ultimately bring a smile to your face.
We are proud to be part of an incentive scheme based in Sri Lanka aimed at the empowerment of men and women based in rural areas of the country.
Unpainted doorstops are delivered directly to employees’ houses, along with paints, brushes and tools. Once painted and completed, the Wedgies are paid for on collection. This allows people in rural communities the convenience of earning an income whilst going about their daily routines.
3. What are some of the products you have created/developed that are closest to your heart? Please share them with us!
Our favourites are certainly Major Dave, as we are all huge Bowie fans and he is one of our most popular designs too. We also love the colours of Iriss it’s such a lovely colour palette and we love Iris Apfel too.
It’s hard to choose, there are so many and every design has something very personal involved in it. From character inspiration to colour palette, to the character descriptions.
4. Where do you sell your products?
We sell directly to customers online, through our e-commerce here.
but we also have stockists currently in 11 different countries, in all continents, and many throughout the UK. We are most proud of being stocked in Liberties, alongside some amazing venues such as The National Theatre and Royal Albert Hall.
5. How did you adapt to the current situation during the pandemic? What are the challenges you faced and how do you tackle them?
It is still a continued challenge. We wanted to support our stockists as best we could by offering free shipping and extended payment terms to help them be able to place orders. Many of our stockists took advantage of the offer, so we’re looking into when it’s viable to do again in the future.
We’ve really felt the support throughout the industry; from our stockists to us, from customers comments online, from fellow small business owners promoting each other’s products etc.
There has been a real pulling together for survival and this has helped us enormously with spirit.
6. What have been some of the proudest moments for you as an entrepreneur? How would you say the near future looks like for independent brands like yours?
Wedgie is the central hub where we all get to work together, remotely from across different countries and excitingly we are expanding our team.
We’re really proud of the ethics which centre the company. Keeping the ethos focused throughout all areas of work we do is what makes the business the success it is. It’s also the reason we hope it continues to develop and grow, our work expands so much further than just a fantastic, sustainable product, it empowers the lives of many people in rural areas of Sri Lanka and those numbers grow as Wedgie grows.
We are also really proud of the charity work we are able to do within the sales of our products. For example, we are still giving 100% of our profits to NHS Together Charity from the sale of our uniquely designed Doc and Nurse designs, based on NHS Drs and Nurses, designed and made in quickness’s response to the pandemic.
And this is only one of the many charities we support through the sales of Wedgies.
Visit Wedgie wholesale shop to stock up on their products.
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