Something Different Wholesale: how Godi stands out from the competition
Something Different Wholesale is a Swansea-based importer, which, as the name suggests, specialises in sourcing novel and unusual goods for the UK gift trade. The family business began as a humble car boot sale conducted by founder and CEO Jane Wallace Jones in the 1990s. Jane enjoyed it so much that she found herself looking for more items to sell, and her success at that led her to go into the wholesale business in 1999.
After a few years, the company began to broaden its horizons and import products from overseas, which led to considerable growth. In 2005, Something Different Wholesale had a staff of ten and imported just one container of goods. By 2016, it had 60 staff and imported 135 containers that year alone, mostly from China, but also Indonesia, Thailand, India, Pakistan and Guatemala. The range of goods includes giftware, home accessories and garden products as well as quirkier spiritual and gothic paraphernalia. But of course, importing on this scale involves a significant amount of commercial foreign exchange, with most business conducted in US dollars.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE BLUES
Like most business, Something Different started using the bank for foreign exchange, but soon realised the rates were not at all competitive. They then tried several London-based brokers and found the rates were better, but sometimes rose again after a honeymoon period. The lack of consistency made it difficult to plan effectively, and because the brokers used call centres rather than having account managers, there was no single point of contact with whom to discuss the business strategically. This meant it was easy to lose track of the balances on the forward contracts they were using. Moreover, what contact they did have with their brokers typically took the form of pushy sales calls; commercial director Anthony David still gets them! But having decided London brokers were giving them the run around, Something Different decided to find someone more in keeping with their own name.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Another local business in Swansea recommended Godi, then trading as OSTCFX. The difference was immediately apparent. First of all, Godi account manager Brett Thomas was actually able to come to their office to share his expertise in foreign exchange and discuss the opportunities for Something Different with Anthony and his colleagues. For the first time, they had an actual relationship with a broker. Being able to meet in person meant there was a sense of trust and accountability, and Godi’s improved rates were the icing on the cake.
At first, Something Different continued to use another company in addition to Godi, but having established a relationship of trust, they now use Godi exclusively. Having discussed the business’ foreign exchange needs in detail, Brett and Anthony came up with a strategy based on 50% forward deals to hedge exposure and 50% spot deals to capitalise when rates are more favourable, so Brett is also active in keeping Anthony updated when there are favourable movements in GBP/USD rates. The generally declining sterling rate against the dollar has been a particular challenge because Something Different predominantly pay their Asian suppliers in dollars, but they are able to mitigate this by watching the market closely, and Godi have also helped them deal directly in the Thai Baht.
Brett was even on hand during the turbulent and stressful period after the Brexit vote, and willing to take a phone call and make a forward deal at 6am. That really is very different from the average broker!
Since working with Godi, Something Different has continued to grow by acquiring other businesses, and now has a three-year accelerated growth plan to take the business to the next level. Increasingly, they are also commissioning their own designs, consolidating their USP as an importer that really does offer something different. And they have revamped their online presence to give retailers greater interactivity and control. All this will mean more stock, more sales and more foreign exchange, so Godi remains a crucial partner in shaping Something Different’s business strategy.
As Anthony David puts it, “We have found that working with Godi has been very beneficial to our business. They have been integral to our growth and supported us with sound advice through challenging economic times. We are looking forward to our continued working relationship with Godi as we implement exciting business growth plans.”