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Old 09 February 2006, 06:34   #1
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Looking for new pastures selling (I mean selling) RIBS

Don't know if this is the right place to write (or even rant) but my business has changed direction and I am getting out and am now going to be based solely in Lymington.

I am a highly expereinced marketer / salesman (have been known to sell white stuff to Eskimos) with 25 years expereince. I believe passionately that the rib story (why they are so much fun, so easy to learn to use safely, so safe, so relatively inexpensive) has not yet been told to the great unwashed (or do I mean washed) who have never been on a rib, in fact probably have never been on a boat smaller than a car ferry. I am talking about the guys who read T3 and Stuff, or even (horrors) the Telegraph Colour Supplement.

I have talked to a couple or three rib manufacturers but so far no one has caught the vision. Everyone is focussed on selling (if they sell at all rather than waiting for orders to come to them) through the traditional channels - LBS, SBS, RIBEX - and the trade press (RIB Intl). That way they are likely to miss an affluent and not very expereinced and wealthy wall of orders from the really general public.

Also they are focussed on selling bespoke boats - all are effectively one offs - rather than TELLING the punter what he can have - and there must be higher margin in the latter route.

Does anyone have any ideas who I should approach?

Cheers

Bruce
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Old 09 February 2006, 06:58   #2
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What is it you're after job wise - you say you have a sales background but the approach you're advocating is centred around PR rather than a direct sales model and few manufacturers have the budget to run an ongoing retainer..

On the other hand, if you work the other way round and can sell the RIB "story" to a features editor or assistant at a national or lifestyle publication then this would be my recommendation. Approach them with an interesting angle and the promise of day's corporate jolly on a plush rib and see how you get on. Every opportunity you generate can potentially be sold on to a suitable manufacturer for whatever it's worth to them...eg, I'm sure if Scorpion had the chance to get a full page feature in a Sun Times supplement for a fee of say 1000 to you, they'd jump at the chance (rather than a 10,000 advert bill)

If you need a database of national / international publications accross all markets together with appropriate contacts, let me know as we subscribe to a web service called media disk that enables you to access all this good stuff....
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Old 09 February 2006, 10:24   #3
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i rather suspect a lot of rib manufacturers have the order books reasonably full enough which means they are not really after creating more demand for their products as staffing up and gearing up for more production has its risks. they have probably built their business from a small business and are not too keen on growing too large and are struggeling to meet current demand!

just my observation in the market
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Old 09 February 2006, 12:19   #4
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We would be happy to talk to you - I don't mind how long my waiting list is!
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Old 09 February 2006, 12:25   #5
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Hugh,

I think you are absolutely right. This is what we used to call a 'lifestyle' business. They make enough to pay the bills and indulge their hobby. But the idea of going ' professional' and mass producing product to make a fortune, and the gearing up which that implies, is apparently unattractive.

donutsina,

I am advocating the establishment and exploitation of an idea and then secondarily a brand. But to the currently not churched market out there.

I had not thought of freelancing and then onselling the opportunity. I worry that even Mr Jelly, if he paid 1,000 for quality advertorial in Sunday Times, would then not be able to handle the number of calls and approaches, and the low level of understanding those prospects would initially present.

I would love to talk further. PM me your mobile if you would and I will give you a call. Thanks

Bruce
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Old 11 February 2006, 04:32   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucehawsker
Hugh,

I think you are absolutely right. This is what we used to call a 'lifestyle' business. They make enough to pay the bills and indulge their hobby. But the idea of going ' professional' and mass producing product to make a fortune, and the gearing up which that implies, is apparently unattractive.

Bruce
Surely the directors of Avon, Delta, Halmatic, Humber, Ribcraft and Ocean Dynamics have moved past the point of indulging their hobby and earning a crust.

But in general a lot of the rib industry is a cottage type industry. In fact it is generally accepted that Ribtec's demise was caused by the Camel Trophy contract. Gossip has it that they weren't geared up to meet the demands of quadrupling production and therefore didn't get the benefits of any economy of scale.

The volume production and marketing approach attitude that you are advocating surely fits in with the Ribeye's model. Do they need any help with their marketing effort? They certainly have the production capability

Surely scaling up production is easier done in a country that offers High Value engineering and design capability so should you be looking at manufactures and agents coming in from those areas SA, China or similar? Ribshop is involved in bringing in a range of boats from Portugal, Riva imports Ballistics from SA, X ribs bring in Falcons (not to be confused with XS Ribs) and Andre brings in Parkers and I think he works closely with Paul Lemmer. I don't think any of those guys could be accused of indulging their hobby.

Also the last time I looked they were certainly churning out the Avon Adventurer and Zodiac Huricane by the Lorry load so you might be another avenue
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Old 13 February 2006, 05:32   #7
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Stu,

You make good points.

But "Avon, Delta, Halmatic, Humber" and "Ocean Dynmamics" are primarily selling to the commercial market - am I right? Ribcraft do both, but they are miles away from the Solent which is my preferred area for work.

And I agree that those in the import business are working with a scalable business model - and I guess all sell standard builds. Perhaps I should talk to these four names ie Riva, Ribshop, X Ribs and Andre & Co.

I have no skill in selling commercially, nor great interest. It is the volume B2C and therefore high margin business which intrigues.

Thanks

Bruce
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Old 13 February 2006, 06:18   #8
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bruce, just out of interest - have you ever sold b2b and do you have any IT knowledge?
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Old 13 February 2006, 06:58   #9
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[QUOTE=brucehawsker]

I am a highly expereinced marketer / salesman (have been known to sell white stuff to Eskimos) with 25 years expereince.

Bit of a drug dealer then
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Old 13 February 2006, 11:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucehawsker
Ribcraft do both, but they are miles away from the Solent which is my preferred area for work.
Took me an hour and a half from Portsmouth to Yeovil to pick the Uni's Ribcraft up/
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