Times have changed and whether we like it or not, technology has vast become a huge part of our everyday lives. Internet shopping has become hugely popular within the UK with mounting pressure from work and bills, we as a nation struggle to find the time to spend, not only with our family and friends but on our hobbies too. That’s why when people ask me what the idea was behind creating Hookers Baits, I tell them that if I can make someone’s life easier by creating a service which helps people to do what they enjoy doing with the least amount of hassle possible, whilst making a living at the same time, it has to be a good thing. Therefore in 2012, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start my own business on Hayling Island. Having previously been a partner in setting up Online Baits UK, I already knew the market inside out and the demand for top quality sea baits is ever increasing, which made it extremely viable to pursue my dream. Having worked within the fishing bait industry since 1999, I have over the years managed to gain many contacts and suppliers which has enabled me to source fresh products directly from boats and wholesalers throughout the UK. When the fish products are landed, we package them up in our production unit next to our main shop and then store them in a huge walk in freezer on site. Preparation is extremely important with mail order. My main objective is to offer an extensive range of top quality sea fishing baits at affordable prices, and be able to create a website where anglers can log in, click and buy whatever baits they require, checkout and then sit back and wait for the order to be delivered directly to their front door the very next day or on a specified day set by the customer.
The two main factors which are key to making my business a success are 1. Quality. It is paramount that the bait we send out is of the best quality possible, otherwise by the time the customer receives his delivery the bait will be no good. We are lucky enough to have a team of superb bait diggers who work all of the unsociable hours you can imagine, often in terrible weather conditions, to ensure we have the best ‘hand dug’ live baits daily. It is surprising how many times I have heard of other bait companies distributing poor quality ragworm in particular, and with a growing ‘trend’ in using farmed or dragged baits, it is no wonder many customers are still sceptical about having live baits sent through the post. However I have built my reputation for quality by ensuring all of my baits are sourced as freshly as possible, either by hand dug live baits or fresh fish from boats.
Once you have perfected the quality aspect of the product range, the 2nd factor we face is packaging. I have spent years boxing up baits to send away, I have sent baits as far North as Lerwick and as far South as Jersey and Guernsey, both of which are two day services, and have managed to keep frozen baits frozen for that length of time, and it is all down to the nature of how we package them up. It has taken many years of trial and error to perfect our packaging. Using a combination of thick polystyrene boxes and ice packs are key to the success. We also ship live crabs, white rag and maddies in the same fashion as the rag and lug.
We are extremely lucky this day and age that we also have a fantastic network of nationwide couriers, who are always doing what they can to improve the general services they offer. The most recent improvement, and one in which we find the most useful to date, is the new text service they offer. This means that when the customer checks out on our website, if they provide us with a mobile number, we can input it into our courier database which enables the courier to send a text to the customer on the morning of their delivery telling them an exact 1 hour window when they can expect the delivery to arrive. This means you no longer have to wait in all day to sign for your order which again frees up more time.
I have found that gaining trust from the customers is the hardest obstacle we have faced. Trust not only with the modern process of typing in back card details but trust in the whole process of shipping live and frozen baits nationwide without them either dying or defrosting. However once we have gained the trust and the customer places that first order, we are confident enough in our products and service that our customers will not only be happy with the quality but will then be confident with the whole process of having fishing baits shipped to their home via mail order. The whole concept is designed to offer convenience to the customer so they can decide to go fishing at the weekend or last minute and know that one call or one click on to Hookers Baits and all of their bait and tackle needs can be taken care of, it’s that simple. Leaving you to head on down to the sea and do what we all love to do the most, catch some fish!