Talking Fulfilment with Ben Smalley
What is your role?
I am the co-founder/Director and Head of operations. I control the day-to-day operations – what work is done and what work is needed, how best to do it…a little bit of everything.
What makes Airbox different?
We work in a very open and honest way, when we came into the industry we spoke to a lot of companies who simply did not trust the current warehousing options out there. This was something we knew we needed to change from the offset. We’ve set about doing this by giving them transparent invoicing and clear costings where there are no hidden charges. We don’t punish mistakes, we try and help fix them and to teach brands protocols to stop them repeating. We never want to hurt our brands and will take every action necessary to promote and progress our clients not hinder them.
We have a young and fresh mind set towards fulfilment; we want to distance ourselves away from the old school method of doing things. We like to talk to our brands as much as possible, learn about their products and the direction their going. Where possible we will advise our brands on trends on social media, in fabrics and designs, we don’t just have an interest in warehousing but in business as a whole. We don’t see ourselves as “just a warehouse”, we see ourselves as a vital part of the brand and our job is to find the best way of working together to make the brand as big and as successful as possible.
How is working with your best friends?
It’s great. I love it. It adds another dynamic to coming into work because you’re working with people that you enjoy spending time with. Being very close friends has also generated a family feel amongst the staff. I would be telling a lie if I said there hasn’t been disagreement or two but to have complete trust and knowing that support will always be there is massive advantage for us as a company.
What is your plan over the next 12 months?
I would love for Airbox to become a household name. For new brands to be thinking: how am I going to get my brand to grow? I need to take it to Airbox fulfilment. To do this, we have to be more than a warehouse, we have to be offering things such as packaging advice, materials, manufactures, we’re trying to build a community of people where everyone can talk to each other and everyone can help each other.
What’s the biggest risk factor?
The risk is that the brands outgrow us, that they then do their own fulfilment. We’re trying to remove this risk by forming these integrating relationships with our brands, where we feel that they’ll never want to move, their fulfilment is sorted, there is no need to save x amount of money because with Airbox fulfilment they’re there for the long term, they’re secure and confident.
The best thing about working for Airbox?
Being your own boss for sure, it’s very enjoyable. One bonus is that I have never had to write a CV and I hope to never have to! I have freedom and we’re in charge of our own lives. Having new daily challenges as a boss keeps each day different and I can honestly say I do love coming into work.