When did you get into the sport trade?
About eight years ago. I was in an unrelated area of high end home audio and decided on a complete change. My heart – and most of my money – was being drawn towards riding my bike as much as I could and I loved the feel of the industry as an onlooker.
It has never let me down in my expectations – there’s a real pleasure in being able to work with people who know the ‘why’ part.
Biggest influence on your career?
My wife, Laura. She motivated me to make the change eight years ago.
Proudest professional moment?
Last year, when we put on our best trade show, was a pretty special moment. We all wanted to deliver the right result – and we did.
Favourite sporting moment?
The atmosphere at the Olympics in 2012.
Most rewarding part of your job?
Because I see all steps in the chain, from product idea to delivery, it’s cool when you are doing the gardening and someone you don’t know cruises past your house on an Ibis bike or you see a runner out with a Nathan headlamp.
What do you look for in a potential brand partner?
It’s all about backing the right people. Sometimes we spot a brand on the start of the lifecycle curve and invest our time and resources in it if the people behind it are going places. However, there needs to be the right foundations in the right places to ensure a partner can deliver long term.
We don’t measure a brand’s potential on revenue/profit terms alone. We like things to fit – does it add something to our portfolio for the dealer, for example?
If you could change one thing in the sports trade, what would it be?
Compulsory three-day weekends to allow more time for sports. Seriously though, I think changes to the sports trade will come as a result of cultural and government policy changes. We need people to be more active and there are great programmes, investment and initiatives to help people get involved with sports at all levels, but we need to become more active as a nation and stop relying on private transport so much.
How was business in 2015?
We had a strong year. Our emphasis was on growing distribution, investment in our people and communicating our brands’ messages stronger than ever and we managed to achieve our goals.
We are at the conclusion of a two-year investment plan that puts us in a good position to achieve our goals for 2016. Reports coming in from the market indicate things aren’t easy, but I believe with the right strategy and activations good results can be achieved.
What areas of the business do you forecast will grow in 2016?
We forecast strong growth in the outdoor and well-being categories surrounding our product range. For example, Nathan has a strong offering in hydration that’s performing well.
We are also excited by the growth being shown by brands like Zamst, KT Tape and our latest partner, OS1st. Feetures! is set to have a strong year, as more retailers and consumers see the value in a higher level of performance from their socks.
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