Trends & Features

Brand sales agent Brian Hutchinson answers our questions of sport

When did you get into the sports trade?
I got into the industry by accident. In January 2009 I made a phone call to Uhlsport UK regarding them sponsoring a goalkeeping coaching clinic I wanted to run. I had a long chat with Paul Sherratt, the country manager of the brand, about everything but gloves and by the time we’d finished Paul offered me the agency for Uhlsport for Northern Ireland.

Three years later I took on the agency for the South of Ireland, adding the brands Kempa, Spalding, Sub Sports, Ironman and Spenco to my business, which now covers the whole of Ireland.

Biggest influence on your career?
I would have to say Paul Sherratt. He gave me my chance in the sports trade and has been a great friend and mentor since that first day we spoke. Paul, along with the rest of the Solutions for Sport family – Mike, Eric, Dan, Richard, Nathan and Julie – are always available for a chat and to offer advice, which has been a great help in me developing my business.

Proudest professional moment?
I have had many as an Irish League footballer representing my country, including playing a friendly with the legend that was George Best. However, joining the Solutions for Sport stable is my standout moment. Meeting and working with this group of people is a joy and pleasure in and out of business. It’s also led to meeting other great people from the brands I represent.

What brands do you admire?
Sub Sports and Intersocks. They are both family-owned businesses and doing really well in their markets There’s a passion and commitment a family business brings to the table that a corporate-style company can’t buy.

Favourite sporting moment?
That’s an easy one – Northern Ireland qualifying for EURO 2016 in France this summer. Against all the odds, our wee country did the business. Now bring on the rest of Europe.

Best part of your job?
Working and meeting people within sport and the trade. It doesn’t feel like work. But as my wife Lorraine says, I’m not meant to enjoy work.

How’s business been during the past 12 months?
Business has been steady, but hard work. You have to remain focused and stay ahead of your competitors by offering the best service, price and product available.

What was your best-selling product during that period?
Uhlsport gloves were the best, but my teamwear is growing year on year. With the addition of the Spalding basketball and Kempa brands, it should lead to more growth in 2016.

What do you think your best-seller will be in 2016?
The Uhlsport Euros glove range should be one of my best-sellers for the coming year, as it’s a strong range in style and price points for the retailer.

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