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It’s been almost a year since you made the transition from editor of Fieldsports magazine to brand director of Schöffel Country. How has the move been so far? I am really enjoying it. It has brought about a completely new and very different set of challenges, which has been exciting. I loved every minute of my time at Fieldsports but as they say, a change is as good as a holiday. I get up every morning looking forward to the day ahead.

As brand director what exactly are you responsible for? It’s a very mixed role. Ultimately, I am responsible for the direction the brand takes, which in turn is determined by what we produce, the retailers we work with, and how we market the brand to the public. I am involved, to a certain extent, in all aspects of the business, working closely with our sales, marketing, customer service, digital and commercial teams. They’re all brilliant at what they do, so I have learnt a lot from them, which in itself is gratifying.

Now that you’ve got your teeth fi rmly into your new role, what changes have you made and what are your plans for driving the brand forward? Part of the reason why I joined Schöffel Country is because it is such a respected brand with a reputation for outstanding products of the highest quality, and real authenticity. So there has been no need to make any drastic changes. However, what I have been able to bring to the table is expert industry and market knowledge. I understand Schöffel Country’s core market very well due to my past experience at Fieldsports and having been involved in the country sports industry my whole working life. My key focus has been on ensuring that we are developing the right product for that core market – the passionate and discerning game shot – and ensuring that it is the best it can possible be: innovative, technical and, hopefully, ahead of our competitors. Not only that, but it must be marketed in the correct way; our DNA is game shooting and so it is important to ensure we use the right image and tone of voice to fi t that niche market. Schöffel Country set a precedent within the market 25 years ago – it set out to enhance our consumer’s experience in the fi eld, and that is what the brand is all about. Our product is there to make our customer’s day in the fi eld better.

Schöffel Country is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Ptarmigan Coat – what do you think it is about the Ptarmigan coat that makes it such an iconic piece? There are two things that I believe have made the Ptarmigan Coat an industry icon:

1) Innovation. When it was fi rst launched 25 years ago, it really was ground breaking; made from the latest GORE-TEX fabric, it was the fi rst fully waterproof, windproof, breathable coat designed specifi cally for driven game shooting.

2) Reliability. That original Ptarmigan Coat allowed greater comfort in the shooting fi eld than had previously been possible – it kept you warm, dry and allowed you to move freely – without compromise. With this, came trust. The brand soon became known for quality and commitment to the industry which it has upheld ever since.

From that point onwards, Schöffel Country has strived to keep innovating and to improve its product offering – for this reason there are now six coats in the Ptarmigan range, each suited to a particular customer, practical application or time in the season.

Are you launching any new products this year that may be synonymous with the anniversary of the Ptarmigan? Yes, absolutely! This is a particularly exciting year for us as we have just launched a trio of new shooting coats; the Ptarmigan Pro, Snipe and Rockingham. The Ptarmigan Pro is the most technically-advanced and reliable shooting coat we have ever made. Designed specifi cally for the driven game shot, using the very latest three-layer GORE-TEX laminate hunting fabric, we believe it will be a real game changer, just as the original Ptarmigan was 25 years ago.

The game meat market is of some concern – for whatever reason, game meat is undervalued in the UK, and as an industry we do need to do a better job of marketing it.

The Snipe (for men) and Rockingham (for ladies) offer a contemporary sporting cut whilst allowing full freedom of movement and easy gun mounting, at a more accessible price. I shot in a Snipe last season and was seriously impressed with it.

How is the fi eldsports market currently? Are you seeing any shift in demographics in terms of people getting involved? I think the market is pretty healthy – particularly the game shooting market which seems to go from strength to strength. We are also seeing a much younger demographic and a lot more women coming into the sport which is fantastic. The game meat market is of some

concern – for whatever reason, game meat is undervalued in the UK, and as an industry we do need to do a better job of marketing it. It is so tasty, nutritious, healthy and versatile. We need to get that across to the wider public and make game far more accessible. Fortunately, we now have an offi cial marketing body for the game meat industry in The British Game Alliance (BGA), which I think we all need to get behind and support in every way possible. It is important that, as an industry, we do everything we can to safeguard the future of our sport. We need to always have one eye on the future and never compromise on setting a great example, both individually and as an industry.

Where do you see Schöffel Country’s growth coming from in the future? As a brand unique to the UK, do you see any scope for branching out further afi eld? I think the brand and sales will naturally continue to grow as we develop, improve and expand our product range, which is our number one priority. As we improve our product offering, more and more people will buy into the brand. We have always placed great emphasis on uncompromising quality and we will continue to do so. Although we are seeing great growth into the country lifestyle market, our key focus will always be our core game shooting market and providing them with the products they need. Likewise, the UK will always remain our number one priority. However, we know that there is a demand for our product further afi eld, so we are currently looking at the best way to meet that demand in Europe and the USA.

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August 2018 | Tackle & Guns | 39

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