Celebrating 10 years
Superior Wellness celebrated their 10-year anniversary on 28 April 2021.
The milestone year also coincides with the recent move into the new 130,000 square foot warehouse, distribution centre and office.
We spoke with Rob Carlin, Managing Director to find out how it all started and his plans for the future.
So, what happened 10 years ago Rob? How did it all start?
Ten years ago, a 23-year old kid decided he wanted to import and sell hot tubs. Having zero knowledge of the hot tub industry I researched products and saw a gap in the market for entry-level products to be retailed online. The only problem was I couldn’t afford my first container, I took the risk and sent what money I had saved for the deposit for my first ever container from China. I managed to raise the rest by pre-selling some hot tubs during the production stage.
My business model was simple, import container loads of Chinese spas, sell cheap online, keep my overheads low. At the time I was running this from my bedroom and rented a bit of space in a warehouse.
At the time I wasn’t aware of the industry stigma around Chinese manufactured spas and actually didn’t know anyone in the industry. However, it quickly became apparent when “industry professionals” doing servicing on customers’ spas condemned the product purely for being “Made in China”.
When did you decide to move into distribution?
After a few years of retailing online, I decided distribution was the way I wanted the business to go. I booked a trade stand at the UK Pool & Spa Expo and attended my first Expo with the infamous Simon Matthews by my side, ready to take the hot tub industry by storm! We had a pathetic little stand with poor decoration and little experience. There were a lot of people who turned their noses up at our Chinese product as American was the way to go. Thankfully we did manage to secure AA Hot Tubs Sales Lincolnshire Chemicals Accessories Maintenance and Aqua Hot Tubs Reading at our first exhibition.
What happened after the first Expo?
With this early success I set out on a mission to take on more UK dealers, it wasn’t easy with the majority of the industry fully against Chinese Spas and many dealerships telling me I would fail and never be able to sell a Chinese product in the UK.
It seemed the entire hot tub industry was against everything I represented. Thankfully slowly we started to build a UK network of dealers with the likes of Hydro Active Pools, Spas Hot Tub & Swim Spa Centre coming on board shortly after our first exhibition.
Did you face challenges along the way?
I personally love the struggles and suffering building Superior Wellness has given me over the years.
The warm welcome in the early days from the hot tub industry towards this baby-faced kid, the breakdown of the relationship with our EU manufacturer forcing us to look elsewhere to produce the product and fight to keep our UK market share with them. The issues from growing the company so quickly, lack of storage and cashflow for the number of spas we were selling and many, many more.
Why did you change from Superior Spas to Superior Wellness?
We changed to Superior Wellness officially on 24 November 2020. The change reflects what we do and our growth. We lead the market as Europe’s largest hot tub distributor and create premium, high quality products focused on improving your health and well-being. The new name will also help to avoid confusion with the Superior Spas brand of hot tubs which will remain the same.
Is wellness important for your team too?
Our team’s wellness is of utmost importance. We want to ensure they are happy and well at work in an environment that promotes wellness. We also know that team members are more likely to be happier and perform well when they are healthy and focus on their wellness.
We do a number of things here to help improve wellness including an onsite gym, subsidised healthy meals, and we have a trained mental health champion.
Where is Superior Wellness now, in its tenth year?
I’m extremely proud to say we have finally moved into our new 130,000sqft Superior Wellness HQ. The pictures highlight how far we have come since the early days of our rented warehouse. We have a fantastic office with a balcony and games room. We are in the process of building our new showroom, we have an on-site gym for the team and a HUGE warehouse to store all our products.
We received a whopping 25,000 spas orders in 2020 and currently 3 months into 2021 we are on a grand total of 12,000 plus spa orders received.
We have a purpose-built manufacturing facility in China to produce our Platinum Spas brand and very recently have taken over another facility.
We have an amazing team and an amazing group of dealers around the world who I am eternally grateful to.
What are your plans and vision for the future?
Superior Wellness will become the global leader in hot tub and swim spa sales. Yes, bold words but words that will become true!
Thanks for the journey so far and here’s to the next 10 years.