Generally known for tasty cooking, garlic is not something most people associate with doing business. But for Graham Grinnell of GW Associates, who has built a growing kitchenware business using Alibaba.com, garlic was the beginning of his success.
Graham's first product was called the 'Garlic Twist', which he found while he was on holiday in Las Vegas, browsing around a kitchen shop. The 'Garlic Twist' enables garlic lovers to mince garlic easily without having to waste any part of it, and without the fiddly cleaning associated with traditional presses. Within six months, Graham had sold out of the first batch he had imported from the U.S., and increased his order volume. Today he brings in about 15,000 units a year to the UK.
After seeing the thirst for an innovative product like the Garlic Twist, Graham decided to expand his business by sourcing other products from around the world, and discovered Alibaba.com while searching on the Internet for new product ideas. "I was looking for specialized products because the Garlic Twist is so unique. I was amazed – all I did was type in the products I was looking for, and the response from companies was just overwhelming," said Graham.
He used Alibaba.com to source other unique kitchen tools to complement the Garlic Twist, including garlic peelers, stainless steel soap to remove odors and silicone food covers to replace plastic cling wrap. He also signed up for daily trade alerts featuring companies that supply similar products to those he sells, helping further expand his product portfolio. "Today we get a daily report from Alibaba.com with new relevant products, some I have never heard of before, and this has helped us expand our portfolio tremendously," he says.
Since founding the company in 2003, Graham now sells a range of product lines and will soon be adding further products to his portfolio. GW Associates supplies products to more than 100 retailers across the UK and Europe. Even though the Asian market was brand new to him, Graham felt safe and secure using Alibaba.com to source his products.
"Alibaba.com gives you a sense of confidence that the companies on its platform have been trading for quite some time," he said. "I've closed many deals with suppliers that I have connected with on Alibaba.com. To me, this is the best way to source new products."