Trade orders, stock levels & business choices
This year has been challenging for many and we at Sovereign Hobbies have made some decision to restructure the business by dropping all third-party products and focusing on the Colourcoats brand.
Firstly, let me explain some background though. We have seen through the rumour mill that there are ideas floating around that we are slacking in our trade orders to international customers that we'd like to address.
Sovereign Hobbies is run by James & Gillian Duff, who took on the Colourcoats brand after White Ensign Models went into liquidation back in 2014. James’ intention was to buy some of the remaining stock for his own stash however we soon found ourselves purchasing the stock and rights to produce Colourcoats. We then quickly cobbled together a business over the festive break in order to continue producing Colourcoats for the wider modelling community. We had no intention of starting a model business but as James did not want to lose his favourite paint brand we went with the flow and started Sovereign Hobbies. You can read more about this here.
Sovereign Hobbies is run completely from our home. We do not have a warehouse, we do not have a customer shop, we do not have paid staff – we have ourselves and an occasional unpaid helper henchman who is our life saver in busy times. James works full time to pay the bills and Gillian is a full time University student. We have two young children and all of life’s usual commitments. Sovereign Hobbies fits in where we can hence the twice weekly posting and web-based order system.
We produce paint in small batches between 60 and 160 tins (14ml) at a time resulting in stock levels usually sitting between 12 and 40. This is for two reasons:
Firstly - small batches allow us to maintain a comprehensive range of bespoke colours rather than vaguely-similar shades passed off as good matches without having excessive amounts of money tied up in large shelf stocks, which we can and have scrapped and replaced when new information has come to light disproving an old reference. Remember we have over 450 colours, so the total volume is still a significant inventory in both space and money, and maintaining this requires significant time input to manufacture replacements even if your own interest is narrow and you’re not fully aware of how wide our range really is. We simply will not sell paint that does not meet our standards. We do have a pile of unsellable paint that has failed our standards. Read more about our paint process here.
Secondly – we do not have a warehouse or paid staff as have other paint brands. We have had zero external investment; Sovereign was started using our personal savings and what was left in the bank account in December 2014. Our stock is in our home and all spraying, labelling, and tinning occurs here.
Trade orders therefore are on an understanding that it takes us time to fulfil large orders. Some trade orders are minimal and can be taken from our retail stock, but other trade orders require us to manufacture, spray, tin, label, and pack 2000-3000 tins. Some colours need to be manufactured as ordered as stockists can order over 60 tins of a single colour. As explained already, we do not carry this sort of inventory on a daily basis. Trade stockists are fully aware of this when they order, and we do our best to keep them updated along the way however we feel that there may be rumours about from individuals jumping to conclusions that we are not fulfilling our obligations. This is simply not true and maybe understanding more about our business can put these rumours to bed.
2020 has been a particularly difficult year for manufacturing due to the restrictions, lockdown, and lack of access to our assistant coupled with a huge resurgence in sales both domestic and international trade orders have depleted stocks which were already low. Our current stock levels are low as the prior 18 months had no trade orders at all, which we believe was due to Brexit concerns and similar international market uncertainties. We reduced our stock as it simply was not in demand. No money in – no money for stock.
Back to current times though, we are in the process of selling off all third-party stock. The last 5 years have been focusing on building a business from the ground up, we have expanded into some of our favourite ranges that we believe are high-quality and provide products to the UK market that were not always easy to source. If you’d like to see the clearance sale items click here – 40% off!
We still stand by these products and will always recommend them; however, we are dropping this commitment to enable us to spend our time on the Colourcoats brand. We do not have the time or investment to maintain this larger business and would like to expand the Colourcoats range more as this is where we started from and where the passion lies. This move will allow us to bring more paint sets, increase our retail stock levels and have more time to invest in our research. We might also see an evening or two in our living room rather than knee deep in tin labels.
We hope this has cleared up our intentions and where we are taking the business. Many of the products we are dropping will be available elsewhere in time, we will update this post with links when possible.
Infini Model sanding, rigging & cutting mats along with Ultracast are available at Black Mike Models. www.blackmikemodels.co.uk
Tetra Modelworks will be available from Inside the Armour.
Other brands will be available elsewhere and will be update once the business has announced.
If you have any enquiries or comments please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org