Our History 1946 – 2019
Ray & Company Hairdressers Sundriesmen Ltd was originally founded in 1946 making us over 70 years old. We commenced trading in Clarks Yard, Darlington and in those days delivered products to salons from suitcases following train journeys to local towns and cities.
We eventually settled in new head office premises in Green Street Darlington in 1966. At this time we also housed our sister company, Tricogen Laboratories, before their move to a specialist facility in Newton Aycliffe in 1990. With the move to Darlington 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 also commenced a direct sales team into Stockholm and Gothenburg in 2013.
After 50 years in Green Street 2016 saw the move to our new Trade Hair Supplies Head Office on Lingfield Way, Yarm Road Business Park. 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. We are a multi-brand wholesaler and distributor stocking all the well-known industry names and endeavour to fulfil the needs of today’s busy hair and beauty salons. Matrix is our main direct sales brand with whom we have had a great relationship for over 20 years. This relationship culminated in us winning the prestigious ‘Matrix Store of the Year’ (Middlesbrough) and ‘Matrix Distributor of the Year’ at the Matrix annual awards in January 2014. We also retained the Distributor of the Year title the following year.
In February 2017 we became the sole UK importer and distributor for the Danish IdHAIR brand which has seen continuous growth throughout the last two years. Ray & Co is currently undertaking a major rebranding to the Trade Hair Supplies name which saw the rebranding and refit of our Gateshead store in 2017. We are constantly evolving as a company but will never deviate from our core values of being a customer focused, family owned, local company. 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.