A legacy in Good Hands
iSpi Trade is a family business, can you give me a potted history of the company?
We are actually celebrating our 20th year in business, a milestone we are very proud of. iSpi Trade was founded by my late father Chris Ferrie in 1997, originally as a signage manufacturer and installer. My father was frustrated that there was a lack of companies supplying the products he wanted, and worse still the advice and support was just not there.
We decided this gap in the market needed addressing and our focus for the business turned to become a trade partner to the sign industry, not just a supplier. Traditional family-business values are the backbone of the business and from the start, our unrivalled knowledge of the sign fitting industry has been invaluable for customers. This culture has served us and our customers well.
"Traditional family-business values are the backbone of the business ”
You recently reached a new milestone with the launch of an updated e-commerce website, why did you develop it and how will it benefit customers?
This has been development driven by two needs. First, we are continually improving our service for customers and the new platform provides them with a seamless way to find, view, and order our products. As well as our business having a robust system for processing and managing orders. Secondly, our desire is to support customers and the new platform allows us to bring industry news, project studies, and insight into them.
We have received very positive feedback regarding the new online shop, even in these early stages we are seeing new revenue increases. The site will also be a way to deliver further savings for our customer base. We will be running a series of web offers and product specific discount promotions, so it really is worth looking out for these, through the site and our social media channels.
"We have received very positive feedback regarding the new online shop”
Our new online shop is a continuation of the business culture and approach instilled by my father from those early days and I am sure he would be delighted to see that even online, iSpi Trade is creating personable, supportive relationships.
What are your top product picks from your range and why should sign-makers investigate them?
From many discussions with our customers, sign fixings, sign clamps, as well as cable and rod systems continue to be popular products within the sign and display industry. Many enquiries we see are coming from businesses looking for various colours and finishes to match their product design, again our range supports this.
There is often real beauty to be found in the most humble, but pivotal, components.
More and more our Signalite (LED Sign Fixings) brand is a highly regarded product within the industry. When fitted to standard acrylic panels, they provide instant and intense illumination which is ideal for clubs, low light hallways, and a great way for drawing attention to a sign and message.
The same applies to our LED window displays. Many of our customers are working with estate agents, restaurants, and other retail customers using this product. They are finding it delivers something that lets them stand out from the crowd and give an advantage over the competition.
Available in A4 and A3 sizes, as well as portrait and landscape orientation, the product makes an impressive addition to window displays. We have also seen these used within buildings, where commercial businesses are looking to communicate their brand message to visitors.
Over the years we have brought our customers quality and innovation throughout our product range and are regarded by our customers as a trusted partner. We will continue to take that approach with our product range in 2018.
What is the secret ingredient that has helped the company grow and build up a loyal customer base in the face of so much competition?
Simple, our approach to customers. Our history as a business means we have been on both the customer and supplier sides of the signage industry, and that knowledge is something customers have told us they find invaluable. We have vast product knowledge as a supplier, but we also appreciate some of the challenges our customers face with installations. We support them to make informed decisions by ensuring we are approachable and ready to discuss their needs. Year-on-year our business growth, revenue, and customer base continue to meet and exceed our goals and that is firmly due to the approach we take.
Our customers know we supply quality products and we deliver on our motto ‘Pay the Real Trade Price. Guaranteed.’ That is backed by our own industry knowledge and experience of the sector we serve.
With 2018 in full flow, what does this year look like for iSpi Trade and your customers?
The early signs are a very busy year. We have many customers operating in diverse areas of the signage and display sector, and conversations so far in 2018 are positive. We find there is a feel-good factor within the industry just now. We have been at the forefront of supporting the sector and nothing will change there, although we are working closely with our product manufacturing partners to explore new ideas and innovative ways to use our product range.
iSpi Trade products are used in a diverse range of applications from estate agents through to high-end hotels.
For example, one client has produced a stunning hotel reception backdrop using a series of standoff sign fixings, various projections, colours, and diameters. By using clever LED lighting, they have created a featured talking point for visitors.
Although our products continue to serve the industry well in the traditional and standard requirements, it really is nice to also see some ‘out of the box’ thinking by customers.
Thanks to Brendan Perring, SignLink Editor for allowing us to use this article. You can read the original article at https://www.signlink.co.uk/Specials/Interview-With/5884/stephen-ferrie