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Jan 30, 2020

Bringing new and innovative products to the market

Alistair Crawford, director of Live on the Edge Ltd, talks to Mark Hayhurst about his business and a new running shoe brand they are bringing to the market - Active88

Live on the Edge has an overriding ethos - to help athletes recover from, and prevent, injury while at the same time improving their performance.

They are striving to be the UK’s leading specialist boutique distributors of high-quality sports products for the retail sector, encompassing all sports enthusiasts from novice to elite.

Live on the Edge’s trading name was created in the 1990s and became a Limited Company in August 2009. It was set up by Alistair Crawford while he was still a student. He said: “I still have the first cheque book given to me by Bank of Scotland. The business was always in the background, but the financial crisis in 2008 re-kick-started it and I focused on importing a brand called SLS3.

“I had to invest my own money in the business, which was nerve racking at the outset. I also had to build a website, order stock, negotiate my way through customs as a novice, engage with customers and retail clients and understand their needs while working a full-time job.

“It was exceptionally satisfying when everything started to come together. However, people forget how hard it is running your own business and that should not be underestimated. I had a young family, but I was working seven days a week. Sometimes I started at 5.30am - my iPad and phone live beside my bed at night. I have been known to reply to US emails at 3am and have conference calls at midnight to ensure we are on top of our game.”

The company has been on an upward journey since its inception. Their network has become more global and led them to a better understanding of how different retailers work and what products are successful in different parts of the world.

But this learning curve is not always smooth, Alistair said: “While we have taken some calculated risks on bringing new innovative products into the market not everything has worked, so it’s not always rosy. What is key to ensuring that the business continues developing is to have trusted retail partners that are open to looking at new ideas, open to conversations and who challenge you. We are all learning, and we will never stop, it’s about having that appetite to challenge the norm!”

Live on the Edge is always searching for new and innovative products, something that bucks the trend and will make people sit up and take notice.

Alistair added: “We search for products with a point of difference, which can add something new to the end user, that are innovative and owner managed. Why stick with the traditional running shoes
and large brands? We like to work with the innovators that live and breathe running, and have a passion for it.”

Which is why Active88 shoes came onto Alistair’s radar. Active Imprints was established in 1988 in Boulder, Colarado, by running duo Danny and Jennifer Abshire.

Danny is a leading innovator in the world of running footwear and custom orthotics. As a devoted lifelong runner and self-taught footwear guru, Danny is an expert in running form and coaching.

Through his experience he has identified shortcomings in the running footwear market.

Danny is a passionate lifelong runner who has worked closely with thousands of athletes, from beginners to Olympic elite runners, helping them improve their running form and technique.

Danny and his wife have been working with runners and triathletes since 1988 to help them achieve fewer injuries and greater performance. He is the author of the book, “Natural Running”, a comprehensive guide book that gives you the practical tools and information to analyse and refine your form.

Danny also co-founded Newton Running Company and launched his new footwear line, Active88 specializing in light-weight, low profile shoes for running and everyday wear.

Alistair said: “Danny has a global following and consumers are keen to try what’s new and upcoming and we believe the future of Active88 is big. Danny remains true to his beliefs of natural running, minimal design and run form education.

Consumers are still hungry for the right combination of footwear and education. While most big companies sway to follow market trends they leave gaps in the market that brands like Active 88, who are progressive yet true to their beliefs, can fill.”

Alistair has seen changes creeping into the market over the last five years, from running shoe development to sustainability. He added: “ With regards to running shoes the trend has gone from a minimalist approach to brands chasing maximum cushioning. Sales continue to grow online with more demand of US brands worldwide. Also, the internet has and continues to have considerable impact, but customer service and experience is still fundamental to business. Another big impact is the realisation of the effect our carbon foot print has, one of our team no longer uses a car to go and see clients they use the train or other forms of public transport instead!”

Alistair puts the success of Live on the Edge down to finding new innovative products that retailers should be selling and building strong links with both retailers and manufacturers.

Alistair said: “We build trusted partnerships and collaborate with everyone who shares our passion and is commercially driven . We feel building relationships with retailers is key and therefore work with agents who have over 20 plus years experience in the sports trade that have an evolving approach to market trends.

“We would be delighted to talk to new customers to understand them and how our products will add value to their business. Email: info@live-on-the-edge.com or speak to a human; +44 131 344 4730 for head office or speak to: Steve Lee, James Lawrence, Fraser Patterson, Alistair Crawford, Sophie Warner, or Tony Leonard.”

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