Koi venture spawns success

Wake Smith Solicitors 25 July 2016

A business venture to import specialist Koi Carp from Japan for UK resale has realised a £788k turnover in less than five years and spawned embryo businesses with a little legal help from Wake Smith.

Koi Wholesale is the brainchild of 25-year-old Ricky Stoddart from Retford, who first visited Japan at the age 12 with his father to purchase Koi for a family owned shop. His wholesale business now boasts more than 60 per cent of the UK's Koi Carp trade.

Success has paved the way for entrepreneur Ricky to launch Bawtry-based Trade Dress Ltd, a project which specialises in web-based systems and 'white-label' products such as online payment systems and specialist website functionality for Koi retailers, and Wake Smith has been instrumental in handling lease requirements on the new premises.

Koi Talk, a resource website, is a second project, which provides a wealth of information, news, contact information and product links for Koi specialists and amateurs. 

Ricky Stoddart said: “Koi Wholesale has become a very successful company over a relatively short four-year lifespan.

“The idea which started all of this was to go to Japan, the home of Koi, and build trade links with the best breeders so that we could import the highest quality fish specifically for the retail trade.

“I took business legal advice from Wake Smith Solicitors in Sheffield throughout this developmental period and up to recent lease work on the new premises in Bawtry, and that has all helped to keep me focused on building the business to where it is now. This year alone, Koi Wholesale imported more than thirty-thousand Koi.

“It has been a steep learning curve. My first trade trip to Japan was organised by an agent and didn't open up the kind of trading opportunities I'd hoped for, so I thought I need to do this myself and scheduled a second, independent trip and made good in-roads which has since paid dividends.”

Ricky quickly identified that the industry was missing out on the digital era and saw opportunities to improve his business and to diversify.

“There simply wasn't any engagement with online audiences across the industry and that had to change in my opinion. I teamed up with with a web designer, Jonathan Dey, and we've diversified from there.

“Jonathan became my business partner in Trade Dress Ltd, which is designed to sell products and website functionality which other companies can sell as their own, but being a business – it gets the same kind of passion to make it work. 

Koitalk.com is a project born from Trade Dress and is a flagship project for us at the moment.”

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