In 2002, I fell in love with a business book by Paul Hawken called “Growing a Business.” Hawken wrote the book in the 80’s and used his own business, Smith & Hawken, as an example of successful and sustainable business practices. Smith & Hawken started as a mail order tool catalogue, importing Bulldog solid forged garden tools from England and distributing them throughout the USA.
After Gardenware had been running for a couple of years and we had introduced a range of new products from other importers, I felt ready to import our own brand and become the sole distributors of that brand. I began scouring the internet for overseas companies trying to find that undiscovered garden product that would take Australia by storm. Very few if any companies returned my emails.
At that time we had an office in Coolum Beach, QLD that had a small display in the front open to the public. A man walked in and we spoke about Gardenware’s difficulties finding quality gardening products and he mentioned that his brother in law was once the importer of Bulldog Tools.
“Great stuff,” he said. The name, Bulldog Tools, rang a bell. When he left the store, I searched the internet and found the company in the UK.
They replied to my email saying they were very interested in Gardenware being their Australian distributor. The catalogue they sent me in the email was out of this world, like a dream come true. They had a huge range of garden tools that were way above anything on the market in Australia – and a 200 year history and reputation to back it up. I was very excited and placed an order straight away. I then began building our own Australian catalogue and adding the Bulldog products to our webstore and researching how best to market them in Australia.
Deep into my work putting together the marketing pieces of this new brand for Gardenware, it dawned on me where I heard the Bulldog name from. Could it have been the tools company Smith & Hawken imported from the “Growing a Business” book by Paul Hawken? I went and grabbed my copy and sure enough it was. Bulldog Tools was the brand that started Smith & Hawken and now I was the Australian distributor.
Over ten years later, Bulldog Tools still remain at the core of the Gardenware range. Not only in sales percentage but in the guiding philosophy of the type of products Gardenware offers and the position in the market we claim.
Products like Bulldog Tools are high quality. There is little room for middle men and wholesale distribution. That is why you will not find Bulldog Tools in the larger chains and hardware stores. We buy direct from the manufacturer and sell direct to the gardener, so our longstanding and loyal customers can be assured they are getting the best gardening equipment at the best price.
The feedback that we have received from you, our customers, around Bulldog Tools has been positive and appreciative that we import these tools into Australia. We also love using Bulldog Tools in our own garden and have gifted these tools to gardening friends.
So there you have it – Now you know that story behind why Gardenware fell in love with Bulldog Tools!
Check out one of our early videos.
Do you own any Bulldog tools? What has your experience been? We would love to hear it – please share in the comments below.