How did Prince Charles come to meet Willy Wiper? Find out below! Also find out the basics on how to become a successful entrepreneur by following the tips from Mark and Graham themselves.
Shortly after the Toxteth riots in Liverpool in the early 1980’s, brothers Graham and Mark Wray along with Paul Harper decided to be proactive in the pursuit of employment as the prospect of finding work for young people in the area was bleak. Despite having no prior business experience they approached the Prince’s Trust with a business model and secured a loan of £3,000. With this money they began buying clothes from charity shops, removed the zips and buttons, and sold them on as rags to local companies and garages. However, in 1987 Paul decided to part company with Willy Wiper and pursue other avenues of employment.
The company traded under the rather humorous name ‘Willy Wiper’ and despite the obvious connotations managed to draw significant amounts of positive attention to the company. So much so that in 1986 HRH The Prince of Wales visited the company to see how the funds from his charity had been put to good use. You can almost imagine the shocked faces of Liverpudlians seeing ‘The Prince’s Willy Wipers’ in their local paper. Upon a recent visit to Clarence House Prince Charles was also quoted saying ‘Congratulations, you are a great example of how my trust helps young people. I wish you every success for the future’.
After a visit to St James’ Places in 1992 with a turnover of £700,000.00, Mark and Graham started to think the unthinkable and contemplated the prospect of changing the company name. However, it took until 1996 to finally retire ‘Willy’. A decision Graham’s son would come to greatly appreciate upon starting school. Despite this, he inherited the name of ‘The Prince of Hygiene’ which will come to make sense in a few sentences time. In order to reflect their hard work Mark and Graham decided to change the name to ‘Wray Brothers’, changing it further in 2002 to ‘Wray Brothers Limited’ with the slogan ‘Kings of Hygiene’ added at a later date.
Wray Brothers Limited is now one of the leading organisations on Merseyside for the total provision of hygiene supplies and washroom services as well as having an extensive range of work wear and personal protective equipment. Both Graham and Mark turned Wray Bros from a small company selling rags to a company, whose grounds cover a whole street, selling 4,500 items in a 138 page catalogue with a multi-million pound turnover. It truly is a rags to riches story.
Starting up your own business is no simple task and any prospective entrepreneur will encounter many hurdles before they hit success. Mark Wray’s advice to any start up is to ‘never give up’ and attributes the success of him and his brother to having an ‘ignorance to failure’. Below you will find a selection of useful tips on how to be a successful start-up. Given the circumstances and the expertise Wray Bros has in the area of cleaning we thought a cleaning business would be the area we could provide the best advice on.
Start small – it doesn’t make sense to tie up all your capital in equipment and chemicals before you’ve secured a few contracts. Keep things simple to begin with and ensure you have the time and capabilities for each job you take on.
Research suppliers – ensuring you source commercial-standard cleaning products and equipment is essential to keeping your business afloat. Buying your chemicals from the high street will end up expensive and you won’t be able to access the higher quality products that commercial clients will expect.
Have a Budget – with a little research you can estimate how much money you’ll need to spend initially to get setup. This shouldn’t be too excessive when compared to other businesses but factor in the cost of professional cleaning machines as well as your cleaning equipment supplies and items will need to be regularly restocked.
Invest in Marketing – if you invest properly in marketing then others will find your business and the chances of success are much higher. You need to make your potential customers aware of who you are and what you do and then if they need you, they can find you.
Starting a business in the janitorial sector can be extremely fruitful if you have the right attitude and the dedication to make it so. For a more in depth explanation on starting your own cleaning business read our What you need to set up your own janitorial cleaning services business blog on our website.