Supplement Solutions: Preston business keeping the UK's horses happy and healthy

Operating in the relatively niche market of equine supplements and health products was never going to be plain sailing, but Hannah Wild - the founder and owner of Supplement Solutions - points to three things which have allowed her business to clear any hurdle: expertise, customer service, and passion.

By Jack Marshall, Reporter
Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 6:00 am
Hannah Wild, founder of Supplement Solutions.
Hannah Wild, founder of Supplement Solutions.

Launched in 2004 after Hannah, working in the equine and veterinary industry, noticed that many shops did not stock all the supplement ranges available, Supplement Solutions has since grown into one of the largest equestrian and pet supplement retailers in the UK, stocking over 5,000 products from over 160 brands.

"We're an internet company with a face," said Hannah, 44, who employs six people. "I used to work for one of the companies we now sell for and I said we needed to set up an online shop. They said no so I went off and did it myself and we've grown a lot - this year we're turning over just short of a million.

"It was exciting to start the business, but it's not an easy road," added Hannah, who is from North Lancashire. "There are a lot of things to overcome, but I'm quite a driven individual and I was determined. I don't give up and if I say I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it, but there were hurdles to overcome and it's not been easy to get to this point."

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Hannah with her horses.

Now boasting an extremely knowledgeable all-female team - all active riders, many of whom own their own horses - at their Great Eccleston base, Supplement Solutions was recently named British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Internet Retailer of The Year 2020 with qualified E-SQP Hannah having previously been named BIBA 'Young Entrepreneur of the Year' in 2007.

"The whole thing is self-financed and while that can be quite limiting, I think it's made us stronger," said Hannah, who lives in Cockerham with her husband and their two children. "It's a niche business and while others may be turning over a hell of a lot more money than us, we focus more on the customer service side of things: we communicate with people.

"In recent times, we've invested heavily in new computer technology and software to help Supplement Solutions keep ahead of the game in online retailing, but I think what many customers value most is the personal advice which we offer," continued Hannah, a keen rider and former riding teacher who looks to recruit staff who share her passion for horses.

Having graduated from Bishop Burton College with an equine degree and having been involved with horses all her life, Hannah says she took the plunge to launch Supplement Solutions to offer an informative outlet for the widest range of supplements with specialist knowledge of the field. And working in a sector which also crossed over with something about which she is also so passionate certainly helps.

Hannah founded Supplement Solutions in 2004.

"I love horses," said Hannah. "When you're out there mucking about at seven in the morning and all your mates are having a lie-in you sort of think 'why do I do it?' But it's a passion and an addiction you can't get away from. The actual buzz of riding takes you away from everything; the only time I really escape from business is when I'm riding because you have to concentrate on the horse.

"Working in something which is my passion has massively helped," added Hannah, who has competed in British Eventing Horse Trials for the last 15 years. "The whole team are all horse-owners bar one and they have a real enthusiasm and drive. It's great because it gives you that insight and without that it wouldn't have been as easy.

"You really have to be invested in it: we have a great community and a lot of our trade is repeat business so you've got to look after your customer base and ours is really loyal," said Hannah. "If you're not on top of your game, people go elsewhere.

“It’s so rewarding and good when a customer comes back who says ‘oh, my horse is doing brilliantly’,” she added.“It really is a fascinating business.”