Supporting local communities and launching a successful e-commerce business
David Richards had only dabbled in retail.
But while he found it “quite enjoyable”, he couldn’t have imagined he’d go on to launch a successful business.
That happened when he travelled to Thailand while on sabbatical from his broadcasting career.
Thailand was everything David hoped for and more – colourful, exciting and, most of all, inspiring. “I met hugely talented artists,” he reminisces, “who were making unique, amazing products.”
Having captivated him, these artisans didn’t have to try too hard to persuade him to take a small batch of their products with him so he could sell them on his return to the UK.
Crafting a network of creators
As it happened, the items David took back home were exceedingly well-received. Before long, he was growing his network of Thai artists and artisans and working on getting more of their products to sell in craft markets across the UK.
“Initially, I saw this as a lifestyle business. I didn’t care about big sales and big profits. If I covered my costs and was able to support the artisans I worked with, that was enough for me.”
So, for a few more years, he let the business grow organically.
Then, in 2015, the contacts he’d made in Thailand put him in touch with a local family-run factory that made hand-painted ceramics with distinctive rainbow patterns.
It was an unmissable opportunity – to support the factory and distribute a Grade A ceramics range; thus, the factory’s Windhorse brand was developed and registered.
From day one, David’s goal for Windhorse ceramics was to support the incredibly talented artisans and artists of the beautiful, far-flung country he fell in love with.