ecently Topwells Trading Company got a new boss, as the owner, Lord Jasper Topwells, decided to put his daugther in charge and also officially recognize her as his heir. This propelled Ven Rivers, known as the owner of Fair Trade Limited, into not only taking on the responsibility of running the much larger trading company, but also bestowed her the title of Lady almost over night. Lady Topwells also recently held an auction in Boralus and according to herself then there is more of those coming. We have sprinkled a few examples of items sold at that auction into this article (thank you Gaedryel), but we also sat down for a talk with her about business and the changes.

The introduction and background

I started out asking Lady Topwells to introduce herself. Lady Topwells: "I am Lady Veneviell Topwells, some people may still know me as Ven Rivers, which was my name before my entitlement. I am mainly business woman, owner of the Fair Trade Limited, a hunting and trading company. At this point head of the Topwells Trading company and leading head of House Topwells in the absence of my father." H.Lester: "So you lead two trading companies?" Lady Topwells: "Yes, exactly. They both have different focus with goods. While Topwells Trading company is mainly importing and exporting basic materials, Fair Trade is operating with special orders right from our customers." H.Lester: "So Fair Trade is more of a procuring company in a way?" Lady Topwells: "You may say that. Not only, but more. And the big part of our focus is still in hunting. Which means furs, leather, bones, skulls, horns, fat, meat and such." H.Lester: "Hm. Can you give an example of how the two companies differ?" Lady Topwells: "The main difference is in the size. Topwells Trading company was founded by my father decades ago. It started as a hunting company, but that part is now mostly in obtaining finest furs mainly for nobility and organizations such as Army, Church, Houses. The number of employees is over eighty with our offices in each continent apart from the Pandaria, which is the plan as well. Fair Trade was founded by myself few months ago. And it started as a hunting company as well, now adding those special orders." H.Lester: "Why not merge them?" Lady Topwells: "I am not the owner of the Topwells Trading company. I am only in the lead while my father is gone. So it is just natural to leave this decision to him. We agreed he will pass me ownership some day, and when that happen, I will merge them of course." H.Lester: "You mentioned changing names after your.. "entitlement" can you explain that bit?" Lady Topwells: "I was acknowledged by my father few weeks ago." Lady Topwells: "Rivers was my mother's name." H.Lester: "So you grew up without your father?" Lady Topwells: "I can hardly say that. We were always very close, but there was no need for any official moves before. Just until recently, when he wanted to make me his heir officially, not only in his heart and mind. I am his only child, so he of course holds me very close."
First item: bottle of rare and old wine, found in Stromgarde Keep, donated by Tinka Bartenson. Starting at 60 silvers. Being the first item at the auction, it seemed like people were a bit shy to start bidding, until Lord Derrington himself started. However a bidding war quickly started between a male Kaldorei and a lady. It is no surprise that the noble quickly removed himself from the bids as some rumours and whispers suggested the wine might not be in the best condition after so much time. In the end Master Fyre’radell Featherbrush acquired the bottle for one gold.

Import, Export

H.Lester: "Lets get back to the business side of things, this is, after all meant to be a business article. You mentioned Topwells Trading Company is more of a middleman yes?" Lady Topwells: "Yes. That means we are not focusing only on the big institutions such as Kingdom, but also to supply smaller companies, crafters, taverns and basically anyone who needs raw materials for their work. Fabrics, leather, threads, food, alcohol, salt, reagents, empty vials or bottles." H.Lester: "How do you get the products? do people contact you if they have something to sell? or do you look for goods after someone wants to buy from you?" Lady Topwells: "We have our regular suppliers, but we are always looking for new opportunities and widening out network. We use local producers, farms, crafters, depending on where the material come from. The Topwells company is not depending on demands. We have long-term contracts. Those are our main part. And thanks to the bigger amounts, we are able to fulfill the demand of smaller business just on the side." H.Lester: "So, a.. lets say resturant.. comes to you, then sets up a deal about wanting to buy fresh vegestables. You then look for suppliers?" Lady Topwells: "Before we make a deal, I will check what are our current options and if we need to make some extra orders with our suppliers. If there is no such product among our existing suppliers, I will find new one before the mentioned restaurant get a contract, making sure I can provide what they ordered." H.Lester: "That makes sense. So you don't setup deals with providers, like a farm, unless you know there is a customers wanting what they supply? or do you take deals and then look for places to sell?" Lady Topwells: "The amounts I am operating with can easily cover lets say a new restaurant looking to buy their food and drinks from us. So no need to complicated shuffle. But if it happened, that some new bigger customer appears, I of course need to find a supplier before signing a contract with such customer. But, those deals took usually several business meetings, sometimes even in the terms of weeks. The bigger company, the longer is the process on both sides. When some artisan owning just one shop in one city come, I am able to have a deal the first day, and prepare papers for signing the next day."
Second item: Ship’s Bell of the Golganneth’s Wrath (a ship that disappeared five years ago transporting rare minerals) donated by Fair Trade Limited. Starting at 50 silvers. The bell can be used to scry and find the ship. The promise of a hidden treasure is tempting, but while in the previous case the bidding war was almost open here the strategy seemed to change, as many, probably trying to get on other people’s nerves waited for a long time to bid. A frustrating sensation to think an object is almost yours just to hear another person bid. A lady in a green shirt took the lead during most of the time during this bidding war, but as things got more and more tense a Ren’dorei gentleman started to push, bidding in the last moment until finally, Mister Vor’thus Phoenixmight, got the bell, and the possibility to get a treasure, for one gold. He might not find it, but there is one sure winner on this one, as this gentleman was accompanied by a curious bird that did not stop looking at the bell, at least the animal will be happy with a new shiny thing.

Legality and shipping

H.Lester: "Is there anything you do not deal in? any goods you stay away from? refuse to deal with? Some people for instance refuse to deal in weapons." Lady Topwells: "I don't think there is anything. As long as it is about legal goods, I am open to talk about the deal." H.Lester: "How do you handle the shipping of items? you do it yourself or have a third party doing that?" Lady Topwells: "Both. We have four ships which are transporting our goods over the sea. Then we have carts for longer travels. And at the end, we use local transport when it is convenient." H.Lester: "You have hubs in all continents besides Pandaria?" Lady Topwells: "Yes. And Kul Tiras was added few weeks ago." H.Lester: "You also play a role in the new market days don't you?" Lady Topwells: "Here in Boralus, yes." H.Lester: "What is your role in that?" Lady Topwells: "I would say just one of the merchants. It may appear I am more involved as I am open for new opportunities since I come to this city. I was participating some meetings when the plan of setting a regular market for outsiders appeared." Remember the Boralus market runs roughly every other week. the next one is on the 8th of July.
Third item: Jade Dagger of the White Tiger, donated by Fair Trade Limited. Starting at 30 silvers. For this object the war was quick and fast, after a initial bid of 30 silver an elven lady raised it to 50, and quickly three people were bidding, one right after the other, reaching, 70, 80 and one gold in mere seconds. It seemed like it would end there but the elven lady came back to raise it to one gold and 50 silvers, and more and more people started to bid as well. The lady did not want to go home without that ancient dagger however, when the bid was at one gold and 70, she raised it to two gold. A bold move but can be an effective one to show people you are not there to play, but to win. And as bids kept going up, a man in green went up to three gold pieces, only to be passed by five gold pieces offered by the elven lady. This kept going and the price increased to 7, 10 15, 20 and finally at 23 pieces of gold, Miss Thaldrissa, got the desired dagger.

Deals and details

H.Lester: "So if people are looking to buy large quantities of goods, or sell them they can contact you and maybe work out a deal?" Lady Topwells: "Exactly. But it doesn't matter for us if it is a large order or a small one. Just that we are able to handle big ones as well, which is not the basic offer for many trading companies." H.Lester: "Is there anything you are looking for in terms of suppliers, currently?" Lady Topwells: "Well, anything, that requires an artistic focus. For example, thread can be either of a poor or good quality, but there is nto much to be done with it. Plus used materials of course. But then you have fabric and if you wish to provide interesting products, such as brocade or hand painted silk, you need to find not just a supplier, but also the one with artistic merits." H.Lester: "So artistic craftsmen and women?" Lady Topwells: "As a suppliers, yes. We are not looking for people to man some workshops. We do import and export." H.Lester: "You are looking to buy their products, not hire them to make stuff?" Lady Topwells: "The only things we are producing as whole are leather products. Armors and such. For those, we employ artisans. And yes, as you said. Except for those leather products where we, from the hunting company part, provide full service from killing the animal to having a fine winter hat."
Fourth item: Two bottles of Gilnean Amber whiskey, over 200 hundred years old, donated by Tinka Bartenson. Starting at 35 silvers. Of course, for an exquisite drink like this, bids started quickly, with Lord Derrington going for 50 but being passed by 80 and then one gold. But the nobleman was not about to let the bottle go, raising his bid to two gold. Of course others were not going to let go either, bid went up to 5. A war started once more and soon the price was raised to 10. Seeing the competition Lord Derrington advised the crowd to say their maximum, as he will continue all night if needed. The price went up to 16 pieces of gold and then Lord Derrington decided to show he was not joking with a bid of 30 gold pieces. Someone tried to go up to 31, but Lord Derrington instantly went for 40, then 50, then 60 and finally Lord Derrington got the bottles at 70 pieces of gold, 35 each. We hope the taste was worth that price.

Round-up

H.Lester: "I think that is about it. Is there something you want to add?" Lady Topwells: "Hm. Maybe, that if someone is looking for selling or buying and is not sure if we are the best choice for his purposes, he may just stop by in our office in the Stormwind or Boralus and ask."
Fifth and final item: Ornate Derrington MK 1 Pistol, donated by Lord Derrington. Technical details: A Derrington MK-1, Pre-Fall of Gilneas. 12" length. Gold fixtures, Gilnean Oak frame, Sapphires inlayed throughout. Used, but in good condition. Starting at one gold. Once more a bidding war started, in this case between a gentleman and a Ren’dorei lady that got the price to 5 in the first moments of the auction. More people joined with bidding, and as we have seen, when that happens prices start to go up really fast. In this case up to 30 in the next five minutes, with Miss Tinka Bartenson showing quite some interest in that piece as she went up to 40 after someone passed her previous bid. The Ren’dorei lady kept up to competition and between both the price went up to 55. It seems seeing these two got other people interested and they started to bid as well. Miss Bartenson kept going and the pistol soon reached 100 gold pieces, well, if it was not because the auction was for charity, Lord Derrington would have made back the money he had to pay for his fine. The final and winning bid by Mister Orazio Ark, was of 116 gold.
Make sure you check out the next auction on the 18th if you are into that, or contact Lady Topwells if you have items to sell or buy, who knows what deals can be struck.