Youthful Ambition at its best

For any business, achieving steady progress during the last four turbulent years is impressive, but to start trading and grow as successfully as young start-up Guardian Distribution is nothing short of phenomenal. The Hardware Journal learns their secret from Michelle Bradshaw, National Sales Manager, Guardian Distribution.

Little did the founders of Guardian Distribution know what they were in for when they set up their business in 2018. Who could have predicted a two-year global pandemic? Yet they have weathered the storms, turned challenges into opportunities and are a successful, expanding business today.

Based in a new headquarters in Baldoyle, Guardian Distribution supplies customers nationwide in Ireland and the UK. The Hardware Journal asked Guardian Distribution if there was a unique quality that enabled this start-up to accomplish so much so quickly amid a roller-coaster economy.

Michelle Bradshaw explained: “Guardian Distribution is a young, energised team and business, however we have very experienced key people at the helm. We are driven in how we approach business, looking to bring solutions to the market, not just products.”

Unwavering Focus

From the outset, Guardian Distribution has had very clear company objectives. “For us,” Michelle states, “getting through the first couple of years and building our team to ensure the business is on a solid platform, has taken priority. We always stay focused on our goals and continue to grow our product portfolio. We are flexible when required and adapt to the changing environment when necessary.”

“However, our focus is not just on the next few years. We are building a distribution business that continues to go from strength to strength. We are proud to be an Irish distribution business operating in both Ireland and the UK.”

Supply and Delivery Sorted

Guardian Distribution supply a wide range of products to hardware retailers, builders’ merchants and garden centres, offering quality product and service to customers every day.

“Our ethos is about developing ranges of low maintenance products that do exactly what they are supposed to and offer value for money. We also work hard to offer our clients the solutions they and their customers require”.

Customer care comes down to the correct stock and exceptional delivery. Guardian operates its own fleet of delivery vehicles and where necessary it outsources.

According to Michelle “our sales team work on a specific call cycle, so we can ensure every store receives a visit on a scheduled basis and most importantly, that we are reliable.”

Goal-orientated team

Each member of the team is aligned and is working towards the core strategy, with Stephen O’Brien, CEO of the Guardian Group in Ireland and the UK, at the helm bringing twenty years
of industry experience.

Also adding a wealth of insight to all aspects of the business is Brendan Morris, Commercial Manager, who has over 30 years of sector know-how.

Completing the Management Team is National Sales Manager, Michelle Bradshaw. Michelle brings 15 years of knowledge gained in other sectors building robust policies and procedures ensuring the right expertise to support their customers.

Together they have created a culture of excellence that carries through the entire Guardian team and they firmly believe that developing people is key to the overall strategy.

“We have invested in the right people to support every aspect of our operations. Through warehousing, stock, purchasing team, sales teams, delivery fleet and inhouse support team.”

“We are transparent and honest with our team and have brought in expert advice and training professionals, to help grow the business and to support our staff in growing at the same pace. We are aware of how challenging fast paced change and growth can impact people. We want to make sure our team feel part of the journey.”

Building solid relationships

Customer-centred partnerships are at the heart of success and growth at Guardian Distribution.

“We have a network of customers countrywide and are expanding every day. We work with Buying Groups, DIY chains, Garden Centres and Independents. This diversity of customers means it is vital that we listen the requirements of each group to make sure our strategy align.

Michelle explains “We offer an adaptable approach to customer needs; our Account Managers tailor call cycles to suit individual customer requirements, and we continually assess and revise our service to ensure we meet their expectations.”

New Product Ideas

It’s a continuous process, sourcing and developing new product, researching innovative and exciting concepts to bring to the market. Our focus is on presentation and how this will sit instore to drive sales for our customers.

One of our upcoming products, Frogsuit, is ready to launch and is new to the market. Guardian Distribution are very excited about this high-quality award-winning range of wood protectors and associated garden maintenance and cleaning products with eye catching POS.

Frogsuit boasts a unique formula combining non-flaking, non-peeling UV protection with water repellent waxes. The range also includes wood restorer, shed and fence protector and an anti-slip decking oil.

The Frogsuit range also includes an effective new line of cleaners such as, power cleaner, uPVC restorer, fabric protector, rattan cleaner, BBQ and oven cleaner, composite decking cleaner and artificial grass cleaner.

To help retailers enhance their selection and merchandising, all products from Guardian Distribution come with brochures, QR codes linking to installation and fitting instructions, as well as attractive POS and instore displays.

Full steam ahead

“It’s been a very interesting time for us, “Michelle reflects.

“The industry and Guardian Distribution performed very well during Covid. We are now growing at a steady pace and building on this.”

“We do a lot of business in the Far East which has become challenging for obvious reasons. Since the start of the year, we have increased our travel and buying trips to Europe and the Middle East to make sure we have a steady flow of new product.”

“We are focused on building a catalogue of products and brands that will stand the test of time for the years ahead. Guardian is all about quality products and offering complete solutions to our customers”.

Boosting the profile

Guardian Distribution recently launched a new website,, and will continue to improve its features based on user feedback. The company and its team are also active on LinkedIn, keeping their network up to date on their latest innovations.

Now even bigger advances are in the works. “We have recently taken on a new marketing manager to maximise the potential of social media to reach out to our customers and get their input. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be focusing on relevant platforms for our business and in return our customers businesses to help drive sales back through our customers.

That Unique Selling Point

“What sets us apart? Guardian Distribution is new to the market and looking to bring fresh products and ideas to the industry, “Michelle affirms.
“We will continue to progress and work hard to offer our clients the solutions their customers require. Not only are we growing our business, but, as a team, we enjoy what we do and are very excited about the future.”