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Shoeless Joe Case Study


Fourfold increase in sales after appointing Trade Counter Distribution

About Shoeless Joe

A picture containing font, text, graphics, logoDescription automatically generatedEstablished in 1993 by husband and wife team Nicole and Shaun Keir-Tomalin, Lincoln-based Shoeless Joe has grown from a small handmade product business into a multimillion pound operation that sources and sells unique ethically produced gifts to independent retailers and household names including the RNLI, the Imperial War Museum, and international charity Save the Children.
Working directly with local producers, the business’s success has enabled communities, women, and families in countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the Philippines to prosper and flourish, lifting them out of poverty and providing a sustainable livelihood.
Specialising in coastal and seasonal themed gifts, the company today offers more than 1,500 products to their trade customers in the UK and Europe, including hand-crafted Christmas decorations and a wide range of seaside inspired home furnishings and accessories.
The Challenge
Unprecedented growth over 20 years meant that by 2014 Shoeless Joe was struggling to keep up with demand and had reached a tipping point in their business.
Despite having three warehouses to store products coming in from all over the world, they were regularly short of space and the demands of fulfilling and distributing orders to customers was becoming overwhelming.
What they needed was a solution that would enable them to focus on the core business and their relationships with customers and producers whilst the logistics of fulfilling orders was handled by another party.
But the fulfilment and distribution companies they spoke to failed to impress, with some being far from transparent about their costs. And other businesses reported terrible experiences working with some fulfilment and distribution companies, damaging their reputation and costing them considerable time and money.
Against this backdrop, the Shoeless Joe team turned to Trade Counter Distribution.
The Solution
Unlike many of their competitors, Trade Counter Distribution were open and honest about their pricing from the start and were genuinely focused on helping their clients succeed.
In addition, like Nicole and Shaun themselves, they operated in an ethical way, caring about their staff and suppliers.
And they could handle every aspect of the fulfilment and distribution process from receiving containers of stock all the way through to picking and packing orders for customers.
Their experience in book fulfilment and distribution also meant they had the expertise and capabilities that the Shoeless Joe team were looking for, albeit not directly with gift products at the time.
The Outcome
After putting in place dedicated systems and processes to deal with high volume sales of a wide range of gift products, Trade Counter Distribution now seamlessly manages millions of pounds of orders for Shoeless Joe each year.
Containers of products are delivered directly to them every week (eliminating the need for Shoeless Joe to have any storage space of their own), which they sort and securely shelve, ready to be picked and packed as soon as customer orders come in.
This has enabled Nicole and Shaun to focus on growing the business, developing new relationships with retailers, designing bespoke products in their studio, and maximising the positive impact the business has on communities around the world.
And since appointing Trade Counter Distribution as their fulfilment and distribution partner in 2014, their revenue has quadrupled and continues to increase every year.
Client Feedback
Text Box: Co-Founder Nicole Keir-Tomalin “Trade Counter Distribution have completely changed our business in the best way possible.
“They have taken away all the issues and stress involved in fulfilling and distributing orders and given us the breathing space to focus on managing and growing the business without having to worry about the logistics.
“We would never have experienced the success we have over recent years if we had continued to manage fulfilment and distribution ourselves and not outsourced it to Trade Counter Distribution.”
“We have always found Trade Counter Distribution to be open and honest, which is so refreshing.
“We have a brilliant relationship with them and have always appreciated the fact that they treat us as partners rather than just a customer. And since starting with them, our revenue has increased fourfold and continues to grow.
Text Box: Co-Founder Shaun Keir-Tomalin “We would certainly recommend them to any business looking for a high quality reliable fulfilment and distribution service.”
About Trade Counter Distribution
With more than 70 years’ experience, Trade Counter Distribution is a leading fulfilment and distribution service provider that is trusted by businesses around the world.
With their own purpose-built 150,000 square foot handling facility in Suffolk, the company are experts in every aspect of delivering orders to customers, from warehousing and stock control, to order processing, picking and packing, bespoke finishing and wrapping, and dispatching and delivering.
Their clients include a wide range of companies from the gift, homeware, and stationary sectors, as well as a number of well-established book publishers.
Using the latest barcode technology and highly experienced staff, they ensure that every customer order is fulfilled and delivered quickly and perfectly.