Today Supplement Solutions is one of the largest equestrian and pet supplement retailers in the UK. Our website boasts over 4,000 supplements, care products and wormers, many of which are so specialist you won't find them anywhere else.
But who are we and where did it all begin?
The lightbulb moment
Hannah Wild launched Supplement Solutions in 2004. The idea was born while working on trade stands for a well-known manufacturer of horse supplements and health care products. Hannah lost track of how many times she was asked “can we buy online?” to which the answer was always an apologetic no.
Hannah, a keen horsewoman, found working long hours in a full-time job left very little time for shopping for her own horses...and that’s when the lightbulb moment arose.
“I need to build a website and sell equine supplements and products online for busy horse owners like me!”
Online retail was still a relatively new concept in 2003 but was gaining traction thanks to a number of increasingly popular online marketplaces including Amazon and ebay. Hannah decided to take a leap of faith and left her secure full-time role to develop her idea. She bought a laptop, conjured up a company name, registered a few domains including www.horsesupplements.co.uk, and downloaded an ecommerce platform on which to build the site. Easy.
Except Hannah quickly discovered it wasn’t quite that easy. What ensued was weeks of blood, sweat and tears as Hannah worked tirelessly to make her idea a reality until luckily, and by chance, Hannah was introduced to Paul Farquhar. Paul ran a similar online retail company in the human health sector, and he became a great mentor and friend, helping Hannah to build her first ecommerce site.
As the business grew over the years, so did its inventory and it became clear that Hannah needed to secure dedicated premises for Supplement Solutions, although it would mean moving the company from the picturesque village of Scorton, Lancashire.
The big move
Hannah’s main criteria was that she wanted a nice place for her growing team to work, and in 2011, when an old meat factory came up for sale in Great Eccleston, a lovely village near Garstang, it certainly fit the bill. Hannah took the plunge and purchased the site.
After months of scrubbing, painting and renovating, Supplement Solutions moved into the much-needed larger premises in October 2011. The team quickly adapted and settled into the new location.
Great Eccleston has a well-rounded range of eateries including an award-winning bakery, one of the best chip shops in the North West, a delicious café and a pizzeria – and the village is even host to its own annual agricultural show! Each year the team looks forward to attending, where they see often see local customers competing their horses and showing their pets.
To set Supplement Solutions apart, Hannah wanted to become more than another faceless internet retailer. With a growing portfolio of brands on board, customers were often overwhelmed by choice and Hannah wanted to be able to offer advice to her customers not only on supplementing their horse’s diet but in relation to worming and parasite control too.
Building a strong team, Hannah picked each of her Supplement Specialists for their experience and knowledge. All the team are active riders, with a wide array of equine, canine and feline friends. This has always been a pre-requisite for Hannah when selecting specialists, to ensure they fully understand customers’ needs
To complement the nutritional advice offered by the team, in 2012 Hannah built on her existing qualifications to become an Equestrian Suitably Qualified Person (ESQP). This enables her to prescribe and supply animal medicinal products (POM-VPS and NFA-VPS) for horses and companion animals, alongside offering advice about worming and parasite control.
Having an onsite ESQP also allowed Hannah to register the business as an accredited online retailer with the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate), cementing Supplement Solutions reputation as a one-stop shop for horses’ nutritional needs and wellbeing.
In 2015, Hannah was named SQP of the Year by 3D Worming and has never looked back since!
A new look
Fast forward to 2019 and what was a busy year for all of us here at Supplement Solutions!
We launched our fourth edition website in September, a much-needed responsive site to help make life easier for the increasing number of customers choosing to order from their mobile phone or tablet. Our new website was also designed to work alongside an efficient in-house stock control system, a huge technological development to allow us to effectively manage stock levels on a daily basis.
After 15 years in business, Hannah also took the opportunity to modernise our image, rebranding Supplement Solutions to coincide with the new website launch. Out went the old, wooden stable design and in came a new, cleaner logo representing the evolution of the business and our new easy-to-navigate site.
Following a hectic year, we were delighted all our hard work was rewarded when we were named BETA SEIB Retailer of the Year for the fifth time, at the prestigious BETA Business Awards 2020.
Supplement Solutions has faced numerous challenges along the way, and each time we have had to adapt to overcome these. Experience tells Hannah there will be many more to come!
Technology plays a huge roll in running an online retail store and it’s one of the main factors for our success, but can also be our downfall. As Hannah and all of us have learnt, with ever changing platforms, devices and security issues, online retail is not for the faint hearted!
But with each challenge, we learn how to do things bigger and better with the primary goal of improving our customers’ experience – and hopefully raising a smile or two along the way.
Each year, we visit trade shows and our specialists get the opportunity to handpick new brands and products to add to our site. In the past 12 months we’ve introduced brands such as Omega Equine and Synovium to our customers, which sit alongside old favourites NAF, Global Herbs, Equine America and NutriScience. You’ll also find specialist brands such as Protexin Equine Premium - best known for its popular Gut Balancer product - and Equilibrium Products, who offer massage and magnetic therapy products alongside an innovative range of boots, headcollars, masks and muzzles.
With over 150 brands available, we aim to stay true to our original aim of helping you buy all your horse and pet nutritional supplements from one place, making life simpler, whilst also keeping costs down. Our range of products is constantly expanding - and if there's something you can't find, just let us know and we will do our very best to source it for you.
We're a friendly bunch and you'll always find someone at the end of the phone ready to help with advice, recommendations or even just to reassure you that your horse or pet's quirky behaviour is (usually!) quite normal!
Team Supplement Solutions