EXCLUSIVE: Stairlift firm reveals plans to become ‘largest supplier to UK dealers in five years’

stairlift bespoke

A UK stairlift manufacturer that has been investing significantly in the last three years has said it has begun the process which it hopes will see it become the largest stairlift supplier to dealers in Britain within the next five years.

Bespoke Stairlifts has made a number of recent changes including bringing its manufacturing back from Europe to the UK, investing in skills and staff to upscale the business and appointing David Forsyth, who has worked with the likes of Platinum Stairlifts, as a director.

Business development manager David Dodsworth told AMP that sales of its Infinity stairlift have doubled in the last six months and the company believes it can achieve between five and eight times higher turnover in five years compared to now.

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“We see ourselves as being the biggest distributor to the dealership network in the UK within the next five years,” he said.

Dodsworth said that while Bespoke formally specialised in reconditioned stairlifts it has undergone significant change in the last 12 months and has concentrated on its own-brand equipment.

“The growth got to a point where we couldn’t take it any further without bringing some skills in so the company hired David Forsythe who injected a bit of direction and impetus.

“He injected a bit of structure in terms of back office systems, getting the knowledge into people’s heads and into documented processes and increasing the team.

“I’ve been engaging with a new tranche of dealers; dealers we’ve not worked with before. We’ve been able to engage with niche products like heavy duty curved stairlifts which a lot of the other manufacturers don’t produce.

“We might not be getting 25 to 30 cases a month off everyone but we’re getting three or four a month off another 20 or 25 dealers. It means that we’ve got to tailor our approach to how the individual dealers work but we’re never going to be a direct-to-consumer brand like the bigger brands have tried to do.”

Dodsworth believes that the company’s trade-only policy will help it to achieve its goals, adding that it can be “really hard” for dealers when a supplier they have been working with “undercuts” them by selling direct to the end-users.

“Let’s be honest, I looked at a B2C offering, it was one of the things I considered. But it just isn’t bespoke and it’s not what we’re going to be about. It’s not the way we’re approaching the market and we won’t be competing for local authority tenders; if we get a lead from a consumer we’ll pass that onto our dealer network.”

He admitted that the initial investment a few years ago to obtain mechanical tools for manufacture was difficult but added that once the right people and skills were in place upscaling became easier.

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Joe Peskett

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