2020 was a difficult year for our industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic and industry lockdowns. We feel that 75 years in business is something to shout about and we wanted to share our history with you, our valued customers, who have been an integral part of our ongoing success.
Trade Hair Supplies was founded in 1946 and was originally called Ray & Company Hairdressers Sundriesmen Ltd. Our current managing director, Garth Sliufko, is the son of one of the founding members, Ray Sliufko, who started the business with his brother Maurice in Clarks Yard, Darlington. In those days we delivered products to salons from suitcases following train journeys to local towns and cities.
1966 saw the new head office premises opened in Green Street Darlington. At this time, we also housed our sister company Radyiant Chemical Company Ltd. before their move to a specialist facility in Newton Aycliffe in 1990 under their new name of Tricogen Laboratories. With the move to Green Street came the introduction of a direct sales force using vans as the more conventional mode of transport rather than catching trains.
The following years saw the introduction of the Middlesbrough branch in 1972, Gateshead Team Valley in 1986, and Sunderland in May 2010 under the new branded name of Trade Hair Supplies. In addition, the Carlisle branch was opened in 1994 and was relocated across the road to much larger premises under the Trade Hair Supplies name in 2014.
Trade Hair Supplies is also an international company with our Swedish operation commencing in January 2004. We have branches in Gothenburg and Malmo and introduced a direct sales team into Stockholm and Gothenburg in 2013. Keeping the family theme alive our Swedish operation is run by the original founder’s grandson Guy Sliufko and the UK marketing operation is looked after by Garth Sliufko’s daughter Olivia.
After 50 years in Green Street, 2016 saw the move to our new Trade Hair Supplies Head Office on Yarm Road Business Park, Darlington. As well as being one of the largest hairdressing wholesale stores in the UK it is also our main warehouse and distribution centre. We have a dedicated training facility and conference facilities enabling us to provide a full education portfolio to salons.
In February 2017 we became the sole UK importer and distributor for the Danish IdHAIR brand which has seen continuous growth throughout the last three years. Only our Middlesbrough store is still known as Ray & Co, but they will move over to the Trade Hair Supplies name in 2021 with a store upgrade.
A key strength of Trade Hair Supplies is our team of committed people. Employee length of service is a great indicator of a good company to work for and we have this in abundance. Angie, our operations manager in Darlington has been with the company for 50 years this year and is the longest serving employee. Our Middlesbrough store manager Lee has been with us for 37 years and our Gateshead store manager Caroline 31 years. We have three key members of our team celebrating 25 years’ service in 2021: Neil our Carlisle store manager, Kevin in our Darlington store and Sue our delivery driver for the Teesside and North Yorkshire area.
We are constantly evolving as a company but will never deviate from our core values of being a customer focused, family owned, local company.