New site promotes artisan producers during lockdown

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Press Release
April 6, 2020

Unleashed Software has launched, a marketplace to help people discover hundreds of small artisan producers and independent manufacturers during lockdown. The Marketplace supports producers that predominantly sell directly to other companies, or through wholesale relationships to shops, catering and hospitality businesses, by helping them switch their sales channel to sell direct to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic. provides the public with a community platform to browse and easily find everything from craft beer, through ethical tea and coffee, baby food, flour, organic cheese and vegan goods. 

Currently over 500 products from the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia are listed with the number growing all the time. As a result, people have the option to buy in bulk and benefit from economies of scale or get access to items not generally on sale to the public such as fitness equipment that top gyms usually buy. 

As many of these companies don’t have the necessary marketing knowledge to address consumers, or the available cash to fund new marketing campaigns, Unleashed Software, which provides their inventory management, will use its marketing skill across digital, social media and PR to help suppliers get noticed more quickly than they would if they tried to do it themselves.

CASE STUDIES: New Zealand’s Karma Drinks, Warwickshire-based Hogan’s Cider, HandHygiene4U in East Yorkshire, Redemption Roasters in Aylesbury and London, and Bristol’s Bristol Twenty and international wholesaler Volcano Coffee Works are just six of the producers that are taking part because of the opportunities the Marketplace brings:

Matt Morrison, Co-founder of Karma Drinks and All Good Organics:  “Our Karma Drinks business grew from supplying many independent restaurants and cafes across NZ and the UK which are now closed. Any channel which helps us reach the people who enjoy our drinks during this time is hugely appreciated, and the Marketplace is a fantastic site for consumers to directly support companies like ours”.

Rory Ireland, sales director at coffee roasters Bristol Twenty, explains that every business has to diversify, look at all revenue streams and find undiscovered markets: “People have always viewed us as a commercial coffee company. But will allow people to see that we also do a great range of retail coffees and teas available for home brewing. Above all it will help people rediscover the great choice of produce on the doorstep and move away from convenience shopping they have gravitated to during lockdown.”

Allen Hogan, founder of Hogan’s Cider, says that the Marketplace brings together like-minded producers to fix an urgent problem: “Our market has fallen off a cliff, so we need to find easy ways to trade and find new customers. Anything that will bring us to the attention of a wider audience is a good thing, so I really do applaud this. 

“Without doubt this new channel has potential. I admit I never thought of Unleashed’s customers as a potential source of customers, but we are all like-minded individuals, with a commonality; we’re independents who’ve chosen the Unleashed platform because it shares our values. This creates a natural bond that I’ve never thought of before and helps us become agile and get a fast start on marketing.”

Mike Logue, wholesale director for Redemption Roasters, says that as cafés, restaurants and offices have all closed online is their only option for sales. “We’ve seen 95% of our usual business dry up, so growing our online sales is vital. But it’s not been a focus for us before – that’s why the Marketplace is such a good idea as it should help us drive bigger volumes than we can achieve ourselves. I also think it’s a real opportunity for people to get away from the easy purchase of mass market products at the supermarket. There are so many other options out there and people could change their buying habits for good.”

Richard Warren, managing partner of HandHygiene4U, says his Yorkshire based business needs a platform like this to provide an antidote to profiteers: “We started trading in 2019 and so the pandemic has rather caught us by surprise as demand for our sanitisers has rocketed. We’re working flat out to meet demand and thankfully customers have been really supportive and patient. will offer specialists and family businesses like ours a way to reach audiences digitally and overcome the challenge of profiteers found on bigger e-commerce sites. We offer quality advice, sensible products at a sensible price. But sadly, we know all too well that’s not what’s happening elsewhere – customers are being ripped off.”

Emma Loisel, Co-founder and Chair of Volcano Coffee Works, says consumer support of independent producers like them will make a real difference to the survival of their businesses: “Unleashed’s promotion will help provide more information to customers about what is available to them from small independents.  If small businesses don’t survive Covid-19, we are going to see mass unemployment of staff currently furloughed by companies.  Also, it will leave the only employment options in the future with large corporates, which will be a real loss of employment options for the workforce.”

Lisa Miles Heal, COO of Unleashed Software, adds that now more than ever people need to support the underdog and buy independent: “Our customers all have something in common – they’ve set out to change the status quo in how we source, make and buy good quality products and this fits with our own company values. We’ve had in mind for some time to create a marketplace to help companies who have set out on this mission reach more people. However, we’ve decided to launch sooner than planned in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now people can discover and share great brands with friends and family, and we can all help smaller artisan companies carry on and thrive in difficult times.”  

Lisa continues: “We know that many of our customers fear independent artisan producers could disappear forever as people head to the familiar big brands with marketing power and large distribution channels. They have worked hard to develop sustainable, ethical, high quality products and supply chains, in the belief that the consumer demand for this approach to products and services was going to take off dramatically in 2020 and beyond. Lockdown has stalled this ambition and so we hope the Marketplace will go some way to help change things.”

People can stay up to date with the latest additions to the site by following @goodprodmarket and #goodproductsmatter 

Follow Unleashed Software on LinkedIn for business advice and strategies to get through Covid-19

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Bryony Hampton - Unleashed Software
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