This blog was written by CCM Axis' Managing Director, Richard Ardis.
It was in mid-March when my year-long career-break came to an unexpected and abrupt halt.
My friend and business partner had talked for years about working together, but little did we ever think that this would be the moment. A time when the UK was plunged into a nationwide lockdown, high-street brands were disappearing weekly and business was bracing for recession. It was the time when everyone was stockpiling supplies, assembling home offices while trying to come to terms with just what all this meant. The word ‘unprecedented’ was being thrown around a lot and no-one knew what lay ahead. CCM Axis was created in early April to create a new B2C arm to the already hugely successful CCM Group.
Axis was designed to find gaps in the market, create consumer brands with a real need and purpose: quality brand development with exceptional customer experience.
It was clear what our first venture would be. Our suppliers were able to source protective hand sanitiser at a time when no-one else could. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) soon became one of life’s much-valued necessities and due to such high demand - sourcing trustworthy and competitively-priced PPE became an almost impossible task.
CCM Group, the parent of our B2C division has supported various businesses with creative, marketing and print for over 20 years. After receiving a call from a customer back in February 2020, CCM knew change was coming. The customer submitted a request for PPE after facing difficulties in sourcing such products from their usual supplier. Fortunately, due to a robust supply chain, CCM was able to source the products fast, and more cost-effectively than the customer had been previously paying.
The realisation then hit that not only would businesses be faced with similar challenges, but an imminent requirement for PPE would be far more widespread across the individuals of our nation, including families who wouldn’t know where to turn to for hand sanitisers and face masks at the right price.
On a Thursday morning back in April, a few members of the CCM team along with myself, got together to create a consumer-facing focussed brand which would put the health and wellbeing of families and loved ones at the centre of its strategy. Within a few hours, we had a brand name, a web domain, a logo and a brand identity created. We pulled in some expert resources and by the end of that weekend we had a website and a unique value proposition ready to go.
Trusted PPE was created with the public’s safety during the coronavirus pandemic at the forefront of the brand.
To allow our business to offer a seamless and trustworthy experience, we have had to adapt quickly and strategically to make sure that Trusted PPE’s brand and content consistently reflected new updates and guidelines. It took only 19 days to go from brand conception to our first online order. Our dedicated team built a fully-functioning brand, strategy, product range and e-commerce platform in less than three weeks. Although challenging, the journey has been exhilarating and one that I am extremely proud to be a part of.
I came into this role as a consultant. However, the moment that first order was placed on the Trusted PPE website, it became impossible to remove myself from the project. The in-depth conversations with customers in need were so affecting and the public demand for honest advice and support was overwhelming.
I therefore joined CCM Group as Managing Director of CCM Axis and six months on and Trusted PPE has shipped over 20 million items of PPE to tens of thousands of customers. It has redefined the whole strategy and direction for the group.
Trusted PPE is the first brand created under CCM Axis with many more non-PPE brands lined up and waiting to go live. The journey and the positive results, success stories and feedback from our customers is what continuously motivates our team to strive for greatness. During this period, we have overcome and achieved various milestones. Our website now attracts tens of thousands of visitors a week, we have reached millions of people through our national radio coverage and our product range has significantly grown to ensure we’re inclusive to all.
We’ve shipped hundreds of free support packages to university students across the UK, and have been featured on BBC News, ITV News and in The Guardian.
Trusted PPE has also proudly donated tens of thousands of vital PPE equipment to retailers, essential workers, hospitals, schools and individuals throughout the UK after running a series of ‘nominate to donate’ social media campaigns, aiming to help those most in need. What differentiates our product in the market is the sincere care and support we have for our customers. We wanted to provide the nation with a safe, easy and trustworthy solution during a period of adversity and through understanding and listening to our consumer base, that is exactly what we’re doing.
As our team continues to grow, we set our focus into developing the next brand for CCM Axis. We understand as a business that trends are forever changing and consumer needs can differ on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and this is the challenge our team is excited to face and adapt to, despite the continuing uncertain times ahead.