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THE BIG INTERVIEW


Q. So there was a gap in the market? A. Yes, we seemed to find a niche whereby we are able to offer really nice technical products, which are probably just a bit more accessible than some of the other brands. Cycling has been very equipment orientated and the clothing side has lagged a little bit behind, so that was another opportunity for us which evolved into the whole concept of active sport – outdoor sport – and thatʼs where we started with the Teamwear sector of the market.


Q. Was it also a case of listening to what customers wanted?


A. Our printwear customers had started asking for something more active, more youthful and probably a bit brighter in colour. So we realised that while Regatta has successfully translated itself into the Professional area, so could Dare 2b. Theyʼre obviously separate brands, with separate identities and separate offers. But we as a ʻhouseʼ understand the business.


Q. How did you start developing the range for printwear? A. First of all, we said: ʻwhatʼs the brand about?ʼ and itʼs about active sport. So thatʼs how the brand is going to work with our Professional products as well. So to some extent, that dictates the silhouettes of products that weʼre going to pick. Then we said ʻok, whoʼs going to buy it? Whoʼs the final end user for this product?ʼ First of all, thereʼs the whole idea of teamwear and thereʼs the whole arena of people who want an ʻactiveʼ uniform rather than a static uniform. With that in mind, we started to pick a variety of products that fitted. First and foremost, we always do a lot of wicking base layers, with which we have particular expertise. Itʼs not just a wicking polyester T shirt; itʼs a special polyester construction thatʼs wicking, anti-bac; and has got a degree of reflective on it. From a decorating point of view, these are relatively easy to deal with. We also have windshell. They are designed to be water resistant and windproof and are way more breathable than a waterproof. Theyʼre massively wickable and breathable, they pack away and are easy to decorate. We also have waterproof shells which are waterproof, breathable and some are made from stretch fabric as well. Once you wear a stretch piece, you wonʼt go back.


Q. What singles you out? A. Expanding from the Dare 2b main range we already have the benefit of brand recognition. That added to our expertise in activewear and knowledge of the printwear market really helps us stand out from our competitors. We come from an active mountain background – not a traditional white shoe athletic background – so the colour palette is different. If we ever came at it from a traditional team sport perspective, we would have no relevance; no reason to be there. For us, coming at sport, itʼs got to be right for our


www.printwearandpromotion.co.uk


brand. In the range thereʼs waterproofs, softshells, T shirts and windshells. The softshell prints beautifully. We do an awful lot of sponsorship and events and softshell is probably the most popular piece.


Q. When and where will Dare 2b Teamwear be available? A. Itʼs available from early January through all distributors.


Q. Did you consult any professional athletes when you were developing the Teamwear range? A. Weʼve got Rebecca Romero, the Olympic gold medallist in rowing and track cycling; weʼve got Ben Savage the current British champion Mountainbike Trials rider. Weʼve got a number of team riders and a lot of winter athletes – including the UK bobsleigh team. We also have Alain Baxter, the Olympic skier… so we have got a number of athletes who, as part of their contract, help us to develop the product.


Q. Fashion or functionality. Which comes first? Itʼs always going to be function for us. As soon as you step into pure fashion, youʼve got to ask yourself what you are bringing to the party. We start with function and say how do we make that attractive and contemporary and pleasant for people to wear beyond its protection.


Q. These garments are so well made. A. Anyone can produce a fabulously made garment at a really expensive price. Where thereʼs a space for us is for really nice product with great technical features and lovely finishing touches, but keeping it accessible.


Q. Why will this brand appeal to the printwear market? A. Firstly, itʼs a new category. People are interested in more active lifestyles; there are more active things going on including the expansion of team sports in the UK. I think there is demand from the corporate world for something active to do. Thereʼs also room for differentiation in that the brands that largely service the corporate or professional sector are fairly traditional. Dare 2b brings the same functionality but with a more fashionable cut and a much more active design.


Q. What about the price? A. We are in a mid market price position, offering the best value and service to our customers.


Q. Apart from the wicking fabric, are there any fabrics you have developed specifically for this range? A. The lightweight “Inventive” waterproof shell is in a 5,000 hydrostatic head fabric thatʼs also full stretch, so when you wear it, itʼs really comfortable. Itʼs a fabric we know a lot about – we have been using it for ski wear for a number of years. These


multi-sport lightweight waterproofs are really light. If youʼre running an event and youʼve got 20 clients and you want to give them a really sexy waterproof jacket while theyʼre watching the golf, then these would be perfect. We are also really excited to offer our super lightweight windshell fabric to the market. Itʼs wind resistant, water repellent and both garments have reflective detail for enhanced visibility.


Q. What do the distributors make of the new Dare 2b Teamwear? A. We have spent a lot of time talking to the distributors about what would be right. The fact that all of those distributors have agreed to list it is a very good sign. The market is so big and so varied, and the world is always moving. People always like something thatʼs a bit lighter than it used to be. They like something thatʼs a bit more flattering than it used to be. I think the introduction of colour is an opportunity.


Q. A lot of the sports you are designing for will gain an even higher profile because of the 2012 Olympics. A. Yes, the timing is fortuitous. British cycling is of massive interest to the UK public and this interest will only get stronger in 2012, when the games come around increasing the profile of cycling even more.


■ For more information contact your nearest UK distributor or visit www.dare2bteamwear.com


November 2011 | 27 |


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