Founded by Robert Lancaster Gaye and Joe Molloy, Tradelinens is a highly regarded and greatly experienced supplier of bed, bath and table linens to the luxury hotel sector. Here, Robert tells us a little more about the origins of the company, the changing demands of clients, and why quality linen is so crucial to the luxury guest experience …
Could you please provide a brief overview of the company?
Tradelinens Ltd are sought after suppliers and trusted advisers to the luxury hotel market. We supply the finest bed, bath and table linen and our service is underpinned with a rich knowledge that only comes with more than 70 years of combined experience.
How did Tradelinens start out?
Myself and Joe Molloy formed the business 20 years ago and Tradelinens was born out of the desire to sell luxury and high-end products to 5-star hotels, while at the same time giving the clients the best advice.
We could see that other linen suppliers often didn’t know the difference between good, very good and the best linen. We know how important quality and longevity of a product are and instead of selling something that was instantly available we built our business and reputation on ensuring that we supplied our customers with only the very best products we could source.
Could you tell us about the team at Tradelinens?
There are 10 members of staff at Tradelinens including Joe and myself. Some of our team have been with us since the start, 20 years ago, while the rest have been recruited based on their expert technical and product knowledge and ability to source the very best products.
It’s fundamental to our recruitment that each member of the team is great at communication. Everyone is expected to be customer facing and have an innate ability to understand exactly what the client wants and therefore advise accordingly.
Do you feel that your customers’ expectations have changed greatly over the years?
That’s a good question. The clients’ expectation that they will receive the best advice, the best product for that particular job and an assurance that it will be delivered on time, remains exactly the same as when we first started out.
What has changed, though, are the requirements of the hotels we work with and the benchmarks that are now seen as standard. Each hotel within the luxury market must be seen to provide their guests with products that hit a certain quality benchmark.
At the very top end of the market, hotels need product that separates and distinguishes themselves in a way that shows them to be better. Our challenge is to accommodate the rising expectations in quality and also understand what will be suitable for each style of hotel to give it that distinguishing factor.
We also understand the commerciality of linen for a hotel. Ultimately, it has to wash perfectly every time, time after time, and, as such, we have built and maintained strong relationships with high-end laundries since we formed the company.
What role do you feel linen plays in a luxury guest experience?
It’s my belief that textiles are one of the most important manufactured products on the planet. They are something that nearly everyone in the world touches and comes into contact with on a daily basis.
Guests at luxury hotels are always using high quality cotton or linen products, from when they have a bath to when they get into bed.
Ensuring guests have a good night’s sleep is an essential role for every hotel. It goes without saying that the better the quality of linens provided, the better the chance of a good night’s sleep.
If you sleep better you are healthier. Therefore the role of linen is absolutely intrinsic to the quality of experience that a hotel offers.
Could you tell us about some recent projects you’ve been involved in?
We are very proud to have worked on some incredible projects, most recently The Connaught on its refurbishment, Buckingham Palace and various boutique B&Bs such as Nonsuch House. We’ve also worked closely with the Firmdale Group and have done since they opened their first hotel.
It’s been a busy yet fulfilling period of growth for us! The key point though, and what really defines our product servicing, is the level of luxury we cater to not the size of the project.
Have you got any upcoming projects or launches you’re able to share with us?
We are continually working on bespoke projects with our clients who we collaborate with to develop their ideas and plans which are kept under wraps for obvious reasons! So we can provide them with expert advice, we regularly review innovations along our whole supply chain from our mills to the high-end laundries that we work with. It may seem less glamourous but it’s hugely important.
What do you feel sets Tradelinens apart?
That’s easy, we pride ourselves on having the very best knowledge in the industry – I have worked with linens since leaving school, while Joe has worked in the industry since leaving university. We both come from a technical background in textiles and supply textiles to luxury hotels.
Our company ethos is to understand our clients’ needs and listen to them rather than trying to sell them what we have in stock. We all live and breathe the industry and love the products we sell (we sleep on our linen) and immerse ourselves in 5-star hotels.
We regularly get enquiries from clients and potential customers just wanting honest impartial advice. They don’t necessarily want to buy anything but just speak to us as experts, which we happily do.