April 15, 2024
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WATCH: Meet the GB water polo player’s building evolution

As a GB men’s water polo goalkeeper, Elliot McHugh knows all about strength, tenacity and holding down the fort in your position. McHugh also stands 6 feet 5 inches tall and now, with his pool exploits, he wants to scale new heights in the construction field.

While helping his father with his metal roofing business and learning web design just before Covid, the Durham University graduate noticed a gap in the e-commerce sector, with one of his competitors turning over £150m.

From metal guttering, Trade Warehouse UK has now evolved from supplying building materials to providing regular consumers with their home and garden needs, and now has over 5,000 online products including cladding, fencing and decking.

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Trade Warehouse has managed to turn over £1million in just one year, and McHugh has ambitions to turn the ecommerce brand into a multi-million pound business.

“I could see people moving away from brick-and-mortar shopping and moving to online shopping,” he says. “So I set up Trade Warehouse UK and it’s built a strong network of suppliers as well as customers across the UK. Built many relationships with Aadhaar.”

Elliott McHugh focuses on another save with GB men’s water polo. Photo: supplied

“Repeat business and customer retention is important and it is important for us to build relationships to become the sole supplier of materials. The manufacturing sector has been a little slower to move online compared to fashion and retail and that’s why I particularly like this sector.”

Water polo is also seen as a niche sport in the UK, while McHugh says that playing niche sports and running your own business is a positive.

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“There is a lot of aggression in the game and it is physically challenging,” says the 22-year-old. “Goalkeeping is about high intensity in short periods. You need to be mentally strong, it is psychologically tough and there are a lot of goals to achieve.

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“I can benefit from that and transfer that strength into the business. In sports you have to be determined, work hard and I love that. This is a great release. At the end of the day I can be around my teammates, have a hard session and maybe compete at the weekend or go abroad with GB to a tournament.

Elliot McHugh juggles training seven days a week with a day job to grow his building ecommerce brand. Photo: Trade Warehouse UK

McHugh started playing at the age of 15 and had to face a lot of rejections to make the national team. He plays for West London Penguins, one of the UK’s best clubs, trains at the Aquatics Center in Stratford and tries to get in the water seven days a week.

While the GB women’s team will play in their first World Championship in more than a decade this month. The people who play it are accustomed to self-financing and self-motivation, especially when coming up against Serbia, the Olympic champions last year.

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“I try to bring these elements into business, so when I’m meeting a supplier or client, I’ll apply what I’ve learned from sports about hard work and perseverance. There are a lot of similarities between sports and business.

“Our mission is to become the go-to brand for building materials in the UK. And so whether you’re a homeowner, an architect, a developer, if you’re in the market for building materials, we want to be the company that provides them. I really want to grow this into a 10, 20, £30 million business.

“I think it’s important to recognize that there are a lot of challenges that come with being an entrepreneur and doing your own thing. Nowadays on social media you see influential people portraying an ideal life, but it is not like that. You know, I have had many failures and difficult moments on the way to growing the business.

Elliot McHugh first started playing sports at the age of 15 and overcame rejections to make his dream come true.

One day the website went down and we lost almost £7,000 in revenue in a single day. It was really stressful. There was also a bot attack on our site that brought it down and I had to step in as a cyber expert. It’s those kind of stressful moments you have to learn to live with. At that time I saw them as inevitable.

But I think the flexibility that an entrepreneurial life can provide you is really great. The fact that I can work and represent Great Britain at my sport is amazing.

Customer service is a big part of our business and I’ve really made it the core of who we are. We are 100% transparent – if there is an issue with an order, we will always work to resolve the issue.

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Source: uk.finance.yahoo.com

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