In 2000, Bobby Taak established Gallops Equestrian in the UK – without big financial backers or investment – with a view to servicing the needs of equestrian retailers across the UK and Europe.
The company has achieved that goal in the years since, now supplying a range of retailers – from national and international trade outlets that manage 50 or 60 stores to individual traders who travel the UK attending world famous horse shows and events.
We asked Bobby to talk about Gallops Equestrian, and how Twill is making logistics simple for his business:
We’re seen as competitively priced for our industry and we deliver quality products, backed by our knowledge of what is a very specialist market.
What makes Gallops Equestrian different is that we distinguish between different physical and online retailers. We take into account the added costs of a physical store (rents, rates etc.) and reflect that in our pricing – which means that the physical stores we supply can compete fairly with online stores.
When it comes to the logistics process, apart from saddles, which are still largely manufactured in the UK, about 90% of other equestrian items are manufactured elsewhere – which means our industry relies heavily on imports. Without imports, we and many other businesses in this space simply wouldn’t survive, so logistics is crucial.
Prior to discovering Twill, our process involved calling up freight forwarders or working with our suppliers to arrange shipments. It was difficult because you’re having to rely on someone else and you relinquish a lot of control; trusting that your shipment will reach you.
On top of that, there were lots of phone calls between freight forwarders and carriers – and you’d sometimes be in the dark as to where your shipment is until two weeks before the cargo arrives. It was certainly a headache to organise!
I discovered Twill when a previous contact I had been liaising with for my cargo moved to the company. I’d had a good working relationship with him, so when we were offered a trial of the Twill platform we gave it a go – and we haven’t looked back!
What Twill gives us more than anything is control and clarity. I can log-in and see everything, which gives me the knowledge and insight I need to be able to plan shipments quicker and easier. When a supplier calls me to say our goods are ready, I can log into the platform and book a shipment in minutes.
The country we import from most is India, but through Twill we’ve also been able to look at options in China – because of the range of trade lanes and offices they have around the world.
Working with Twill I have a few key contacts, including an account manager for my business. Having that one-to-one point of contact is great – because for now logistics is still a people’s game and the service I receive is important to me. It’s fair to say that I have a number of forwarders chasing my business, but the service provided by Twill, along with the intuitive platform, is key to me using them into the future.
Twill has given us a transparency we didn’t previously have – it’s made life easier and removed the day-to-day headaches that once clogged up my inbox.