Today we’re very privileged to have a long time user and successful business owner, Bryden McKinnie from Queen Bee Wraps, with us for a customer spotlight interview today.
In this interview series, our goal is to uncover the things that make your fellow store owners tick. We dig into some of the challenges and wins, plus hear from them in their own words what things have worked and what it takes to succeed when selling wholesale in WooCommerce.
Bryden and his wife started Queen Bee Wraps to make a difference in the world. Did you know that we’re at a tipping point in history? In just the 20th and 21st centuries we (as a species) have created over 5 billion tons of plastic?
According to palaeontologist Jan Zalasiewicz, “A lot depends on the next few decades, he said. If plastics are produced at the current rate and there’s no increase in recycling, by 2040 there will be enough out there to cling wrap the earth six times.”
That’s why products like Queen Bee Wraps are important for eliminating our daily reliance on plastics. Also, why his business is taking off in line with the broader eco/climate change action movement.
It was fascinating interviewing Bryden and some of his tips on how to create a better wholesale lead funnel are amazing. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Could you tell us about who you are, where you are located, and what your business is all about?
We are Queen Bee Wraps, producing handmade beeswax food wraps.
Founded in 2018 by myself and my wife Louise. Out of a desire to not only cut down on single-use plastic in our home but to also help 1000’s of other families do the same. Kind of like a plastic-free revolution!
Millions of metres of plastic wrap used to store or cover food are thrown away every year damaging the planet. A beeswax wrap is a natural alternative to plastic wrap; antibacterial, breathable, easy to clean and reusable for up to a year.
Being all natural it is biodegradable and can be cut up and composted (although many use the old wraps like an oil cloths to wrap up tools!)
We are based in bonnie Scotland about 25 minutes’ drive east of Edinburgh in East Lothian. I started making the food wrappers at home for friends, family and a local market.
The food wraps are made by soaking a secret blend of food-grade beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin into cotton fabric squares. Beeswax is the “magic” ingredient with antibacterial properties, tree resin helps make the wrap sticky to seal around bowls, plates, and to itself and jojoba oil allows the wrap to be stored in the fridge or freezer helping the beeswax cotton wrap to be malleable.
When did you start selling wholesale and what made you consider selling wholesale in the first place?
In our first few months of making wraps at home, I was approached by a local gift shop wanting to stock our wraps. At this point, I did not have a trade price or a website.
I thought the only way to really have an environmental impact would be if tens of thousands of people were using the wraps, not just a handful. I was also told by my wife, I cannot keep messing up the kitchen with molten wax! It was getting impractical.
We needed to go to the next step, full-scale production, although still handmade, if we wanted to be able to supply 5, 10, 50 or 100 shops.
Is wholesale a big part of your overall business? How does wholesale fit into the bigger picture?
Wholesale Suite allowed me to keep a high service standard, manage stock & prices and allow auto emails to quickly bring new stockists on board.
Straight after getting our first stockist we got set up in a new workshop nearby, got our basic website up and running and got to work (we used Fiverr for logos, leaflets, ink stamps and so much more).
We did not really have much time to think as week after week, local shops got in touch wanting to have our wraps. With wholesale customers and inquiries growing fast I needed a WordPress plugin to help me manage everything.
Providing great customer service is paramount for our customers and Wholesale Suite allowed me to keep a high service standard, manage stock & prices and allow auto emails to quickly bring new stockists on board. For the first two and a half years, wholesale represented 95% of our turnover.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would be the thing you’d make instantly better in your business and why?
To see my website with fresh eyes, like a potential buyer. Recently I read that people are more likely to buy if they see products being used. I realised I had a website full of product pictures not showing how useful beeswax wraps can be.
What else could I be missing? The magic wand would manifest an expert in e-commerce psychology. Initially focused on our wholesale business, improving the customer experience on our website would help us tell our story.
What is a great way you’ve grown the wholesale part of your business that you could share and recommend to others?
I started out with a wholesale pdf I would send out to each enquiry, with almost every reply written the same. Generally, prospects asked the same questions; do you do wholesale? What are your prices? Your MOQ? What is the lead time? How do I order? etc.
7 steps to recruit wholesale customers more efficiently
I decided to set up a sales funnel leading the prospect from enquiry to regular stockist. I wrote down all the steps then figured out what I needed.
- Google other wholesale enquiry pages to get ideas, then decide how you would like to portray your business.
- Create a wholesale/trade contact page with a beautifully written paragraph about you and your business. Add information on what you are looking for or what are you are not wanting. The trade page should be designed to weed out enquiries, so to save their and your time. For example, you might not want to supply Amazon sellers, eBay stores or brand new online shops.
- In the contact form add entries to qualify the enquiry; their business, what they are interested in, how long trading.
- Once you have qualified the enquiry you can then send them to a password-protected wholesale price information page. The goal is to encourage the person to fill out your stockist registration form. It is doing the selling for you. Like it would be if you are replying to an email. Really take the time to write this page well. If you are using ActiveCampaign you could even automate the whole process!
- Remember, for each step, think of the outcome you want
- To help onboard trade partners I use the full Wholesale Suite to automate the registration process, bespoke order pages and wholesale pricing.
- Once you have a new stockist you then want to help them order. You may want to send an email series explaining your range or how best to display the products You could even have a video guide on how to order or a dedicated wholesale members area with POS, helpful videos etc.
If you had to start it all over again, what would you do differently?
Well, everything in the magic wand question! In the early days, you have more time to be creative. Had I focused on the marketing side as well as the product side it really would have helped our business be more efficient and grow faster.
We are a husband-and-wife team and have been happy working together for over 15 years. In truth we just get on with it and get it done. We do not over analyse or wait until everything is perfect. You can always figure things out later. Yoda once said “do or do not. there is no try”
What’s in store for Bryden McKinnie & Queen Bee Wraps for the rest of the year?
We are planning to launch an eco-products subscription service later in the year and developing new designs for our reusable beeswax food wraps.