If you are looking for an inspirational story of sheer hard work coupled with sharp insight turning a fledgling business into a success, then that’s RKW. Su Sutton and her husband Rob started the business in 1989 in Stoke-on-Trent with £200 and a hired van to deliver kitchen electrical seconds and excess stock to retailers up and down the country. Today the company has a turnover of over £100m and employs 400 colleagues across its 3 sites in Staffordshire – its HQ in Berry Hill Road, Stoke, warehousing in Longton, Stoke and a 750,000 Sq. ft. distribution centre with unrivalled drop-ship function in Stone, Staffordshire.  From these 3 sites the business sells its own products under brands such as Tower and licensed brands such as Morphy Richards and Black & Decker to all the leading retailers in the UK.  It also acts as a distribution partner for household name brands such as Russell Hobbs, Smeg, Swan and Hoover to name just a few.  

Stoke and Staffordshire remain key to the business’s operation – being based centrally and close to the M6 allows RKW to offer next day delivery all over the UK. The Berry Hill Road HQ is close to Stoke station, only an hour and a half by train from London and the South East where many of the major retailers are based – so an attractive proposition for a showroom visit. With that in mind, RKW has recently expanded its purpose built, quarter of a million-pound showroom which now spans across 2 floors with over 2,000 products on display.

Despite RKW’s growth and size, it is still very much a family firm with community at the heart. Rob and Su, both from the region, run the business with a strong management team and their daughter Emma, has recently joined the marketing department. This aspect is something dear to the Suttons as Su explains. “When we started out, we had £200. We hired a van – Rob was out selling and I was out delivering. We stored some stock at home, at my parents’ home and on my uncle’s farm – in his old barn. We were 22 – there were no mobile phones, we had to go to call boxes and call my mum and she would pass messages on to each of us. Rob would say ‘tell Su to go to A, B and C and deliver to X, Y and Z’. Looking back, I just don’t think you could do it today!

“We were lucky – Rob was in the right place at the right time to get good deals. We took big risks and 9 times out of 10 they paid off. We always remember where we came from – we were just two kids who left school with nothing… and we’ve worked hard for it; there was no silver spoon. That’s what you never forget. We have lots of staff here and we say to all of them that we are a family firm.”

To find out more about RKW click here

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