Since Hampshire Sheen started in 2015, it has grown at a busy, but just about manageable pace for me to keep up with. And that was generally fine until September 2019 when doing a record check, I discovered I’d made ten thousand pots that year! It was then I decided to think about the possibility of outsourcing the manufacture of tinned products. Check out this video I made to celebrate the 10,000th pot:
From the video, you can see just how labour intensive it is to make large amounts of product in order to keep up with demand! By the end of 2019, 14,000 pots of Hampshire Sheen products had been made. Phew!
The Journey to Outsourcing
After discovering the 10,000 pots record, I spoke at length to my Chief Labeler and Bottle-Filler Phil, who, since joining the company, has become a deeply trusted friend and colleague. He’s generally the second person to hear my latest ideas, offers a superb listening ear and comes up with possible objections and problems. You need someone like that in an organisation!
We went through the pros and cons and decided that outsourcing would be a good move if it were financially viable
Oddly enough, about this same time, I was approached by a specialist wax blending company here in the U,K who expressed an interest in meeting and discussing my product range and how they could help.
I went to meet the company in November and was treated to a tour of their manufacturing facilities and laboratory, which was very impressive indeed. They were almost as keen as me to move things forward, but I needed to think more and work something out. I wanted to avoid taking a loan, credit card or overdraft to get going, so managing the money side was necessary.
In making the decision, there were some important things I needed to ensure before taking the plunge:
- The outsourced products must be exactly the same as Hampshire Sheen customers are used to using;
- The cost needs to be roughly same so I can keep the prices the same for everyone in the supply line;
- A promise of absolute secrecy in safeguarding the recipe;
- The products must be made in the UK;
- The products must be in the same custom tins;
- Food Contact and Toy Safety compliance across the distribution network.
After more communication and reassurance from the potential manufacturer, I excitedly received the samples of the Original High Gloss, MicroCrystalline and Gold products using the same quality waxes from the same supplier as I do.
In testing them out (including leaving the lid off for three days in the workshop), I was over the moon with the performance of the ‘new’ products. They apply the same way as those I made and produce the same quality finish. Excellent.
The decision was made.
Food Contact and Toy Safe
Not only do the ‘new’ versions perform precisely the same way as when I was making them, but they also comply with food and toy safety regulations. This, for Hampshire Sheen, is huge.
This is important as food and toy safety questions are some of the most common I get asked. Until now, my official answer has been, ‘I don’t know, as I don’t have the chemical or scientific background to declare it’.
Our new manufacturer has over three decades of experience in blending specialist waxes and employs qualified chemists, and they have a much deeper knowledge of polishes than me. With all this knowledge and know-how, they are more than happy to confirm compliance with those all-important regulations. In one excellent email, I was informed that the Gloss, Original and MicroCrystalline products comply with the necessary regulations for food contact and toy safety in:
- The UK
- South Arica
The Gloss Finishing Wax is already in some stores, and the MicroCrystalline will be distributed from around 17th February. Check with your nearest distributor for the new stock.
Boldly Into 2020
Just before Christmas 2019, I took a leap of faith and placed the first order for the outsourced Gloss product. When it arrived, the first tins started quietly going out to retailers.
In January 2020, the MicroCrystalline product and Gold order was made. Please have a look below for info about the Embellishing Waxes.
Buying months worth of stock in advance is very expensive, as you can imagine! And what do you do when you spend a lot of money? Well, on the one hand, you save some money somewhere, and on the other, you bring in more staff!
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