Industry View VIEW FROM THE INDUSTRY
Have ‘advances’ taken us backwards?
Dr Ron Hill, MBE really needs no introduction, so we’ll cut right to the chase…
010 is a significant year for me, as it is the 40th anniversary of me forming Ronhill Sports and also the 40th anniversary of me winning the Boston Marathon and the Commonwealth Marathon. From a running perspective it was my ‘purple patch’ as the previous year I had won the European Marathon, in Athens. My win in Boston was a course record (2 hours 10 minutes) and I was the first Briton to win this prestigious event. In July of that year, I won the
Not a lot of people know this about my business, but ….
Commonwealth marathon, in 2.09.28 – a world record. Boston highlights the major difference in how the sport has
progressed in recent years due to commercialisation. My ticket
to Boston was funded by a ‘whip round’ by the Road Runners Club, I stayed with a family while in Boston, and my prize for winning was a medal! In later years, my record was broken by an Australian athlete, Rob De Castella, and he won $250,000, would have been on full expenses and would have still got the bloody medal!
In terms of business the main change in the past 40 years has been the development of technical performance yarns and apparel. When I first started running, all that was available was a cotton vest and shorts (with no brief inside). Having a PhD, in Textile Chemistry, I was always interested in developing better fabrics for running. I bought a string vest from the Army and Navy stores and ran in that for many races, as it offered better cooling properties. I then went on to design my own mesh vest which became a really popular piece in the Ronhill range for years, especially for distance runners. Nowadays technical fabrics, compression clothing and science are key for all brands. Likewise footwear, socks and accessories have all developed significantly. My only concern is that despite all of these technical advances and knowledge, our best marathon runners are still not achieving the times that I and my fellow marathon colleagues ran 40 years ago!”
Dr Ron Hill, MBE. 16
The idea to create MOTI started as an off the cuff comment to my partner Amy to leave accountancy and combine her running passion with a new business. I eventually closed my marketing business to join her full time. We never thought retail would be so challenging, but we love it.
How is business at the moment?
We’re seeing a massive growth in two main areas, novice runners and triathlon. So many people are being lured into finding their inner athlete with mass participation races like Race For Life. The attraction of triathlon doesn’t look like it’s slowing down and we’re working with partners like Mizuno to educate the triathletes about run shoe choice.
What has been the greatest success for your business over the past 12 months?
As well as opening our third store in Reading, we’ve been building the foundations to make the business more of a professional retail organisation. This means better cohesive ranging and merchandising, stock control and promotions that add value to both the consumer and the bottom line.
What recent supplier initiative has been successful? Our ‘value-add’ promotions normally double or triple the revenue from a specific brand. This year we’ve had fantastic success with brand promotions from Gore, Craft, Odlo, Salomon and Mizuno.
What will be the biggest challenge for your business over the next 12 months?
With running shoe prices rising above the rate of inflation, our challenge is to ensure that we have the right products to meet customer’s needs, within their budget. Running shoes are the one area we don’t want our customers to compromise on. We’ll be re-testing and evaluating our shoe range to pick out the best products at each price point. www.mymoti.com
Shop name: MOTI Location: Bristol, Cardiff, Reading, Online Owner: Amy Newton and Shaun Lancaster Opened: 2007 Affiliation: STAG Number of staff: 33 Speciality: Running, Triathlon
SGB SPORT SEPTEMBER 2010
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