Welcome to the first installment in a series of interviews focusing on the Scottish interiors brands we have selected to exhibit at Scottish Interiors: LDN. We spoke to Bill Wheelan to get to know The Isle Mill a little better...
Who are you, what do you do, and what do you sell?
As a manufacturer of high quality fabrics, The Isle Mill brand is recognised and synonymous across the industry for both quality and design. Producing fabrics for over 230 years, we believe we manufacture what the market wants and requires, supplying everything from very fine sheers through to Boucles and Melton to both the domestic and the contract sides of the industry. With the use of wool as our most prominent fibre, we are able to produce fabrics that are robust, inherently fire retardant and also bio-degradable.What do you hope to achieve at Scottish Interiors: LDN?
Our aim is to continue to promote our brand, meet and impress new customers with the quality of both product and service we have to offer. We would also like to use the event to increase our sales network by meeting potential new agents and distributors.Who are your dream stockists for your brand?
We already deal with a large number of high end customers on a global scale, but one of our targets would be to re-establish contact and work towards a partnership with John Lewis.
What tools and resources or mentors did you use to create your International Strategy?
We have several ways we approach in the creation of our international strategy; ranging from one to one customer visits, engaging independent Agencies/Distributors to represent us, exhibiting at trade shows and exhibitions across Europe and the USA, to inviting customers to visit us in Scotland to showcase what we have to offer. We do on occasions use Scottish Enterprise resources for information when looking at potential new markets or indeed how we can improve in some of our existing ones.
What do you think the most important part in the creation of an International Strategy?
In my opinion, the most important part in the creation of an international strategy is to understand the particular markets you are targeting and what that market is looking for. This requires intelligence gathering, before commitment.What are three milestones in your business trajectory that have gotten you to this point?
1. Establishing ourselves with the top US wholesalers.
2. Our entry into the Russian and Eastern bloc market.
3. Our most recent entry into the Far Eastern market resulting in The Isle Mill now having an established showroom based in Shanghai.What is the USP of the Isle Mill that you will pitch to buyers?
Our USP is based around the reliability of our service; wholesaling and keeping the business model B2B; cut length and piece service; servicing both brand and private labels; offering a flexible approach to business; private label exclusivity; our provenance of 230 years trading; the quality of our product; our proven track record; and our understanding of how to deal with the nuances of global trade including the delivery and distribution process.What are you going to do to prepare for Scottish Interiors LDN?
Our preparation will have several approaches to it, including: researching each company, inviting direct contact with the customer pre-show, and preparing the goods to be exhibited and discussed.
Visit islemill.com and book a buyer appointment via the Isle Mill exhibitor profile.