A new online marketplace is aiming to disrupt the UK care products sector.
The platform, carestockroom.com, enables care service leaders to gain full price transparency and stock availability information across the entire range of products they need to operate their services safely and effectively.
It is free to all care services; tapping into the smaller businesses that provide the majority of care in the UK and who collectively spend over £500m each year on products for their service.
It aims to solve a problem in terms of how traditional wholesalers are failing to meet the complex demands care managers face.
Unlike wholesalers who are limited in the stock they can carry, carestockroom.com uses digital tech to connect British manufacturers direct to social care buyers so customers face no imposed limits to their choice of brands and products.
It could provide new opportunities to manufacturers too. Until now, manufacturers have been at the mercy of wholesalers who assemble their product list based on the contracts they win for large care chains so new products struggle to get a look-in.
Too often this means care leaders of small businesses don’t get access to the product range or the information that they need to help them buy the most suitable products.
The platform was co-founded by Mindy Sawhney and Lesley Lindberg.
“We are laser focused on the women who run care settings in the UK” says Sawhney.
“They’ve told us that as professional care leaders they want ‘an Amazon meets Mumsnet’ so that they can source, compare and buy all the products and expert advice they need in one place, a true one-stop shop.
“The range and number of responsibilities these leaders carry is daunting. But they spend too much time searching for what they need and then worrying whether or not they’ve got a fair deal.
“For me it’s both a business opportunity and it’s personal. My mum was one of these leaders – if carestockroom.com had been around when she was managing a care home it would have saved her hours every week. Hours she could have invested in what she most cared about – looking after the people in her care, developing her team – and having that essential time away from work with her family.”
Lindberg says: “We have been humbled by the positive response to our new venture from care leaders and from sellers.
“We’re delighted to have a cohort of sellers join the launch of the marketplace who share a genuine desire to serve care businesses with products that provide quality at a fair price.
“Whilst customers understand the Amazon model, they are looking for a more curated range of products with supporting information that is specific to care leaders balancing time, quality, and price on a daily basis.”