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Mar 30, 2016

Industry interview: Lee Crocker, general manager at Phoenix Sporting Goods

When did you get into the sports trade?
My first introduction to the sports trade was in March 2004, when I went to an Intersport show to launch StadiCo, a stadium construction product. However, it wasn’t until 2006, with Petron sports, that I got fully acquainted with the industry by shooting buyers at Intersport and STAG shows.

Biggest influence on your career?
My family. They’re always there when you need them, happy to help out when required, bring you back down to earth and don’t let you get too carried away. I Love them.

Proudest professional moment?
At the Nuremberg Toy Fair recently, when our Ping Pong Anywhere Net was nominated for an award. It was a very proud moment, especially as it was the first show we had attended and there were over 700 products entered.

What other brands do you admire and why?
I could name the likes of adidas for its heritage and brand presence or Under Armour because of the company’s phenomenal rise in the past 20 year, but I am going to say SKLZ.

As an equipment manufacturer and brand, it has shown that you can invest in a diverse range of sports and create equipment to increase the repetition and performance of any athlete. 

Favourite sporting moment?
I have been lucky over the past 30 years to watch some spectacular sporting events, from football to rugby and athletics to horse racing. 

Other than watching my children play, it will have to be watching the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1980s. They were absolutely spectacular and I’m looking forward to seeing them again this year.

Best part of your job?
I would have normally said sales, but as I’m involved in every aspect of the business, I would say product development. 

To see an idea you have had in your head evolve from a concept to a product on the market is fantastic and to see it become a recognised brand is even more exciting and rewarding.

Tell us about the PSG range
We want to create and distribute strong, performance-led brands to grass roots, sports education, retail and professional markets throughout the UK and Europe, either directly or through recognised distributors who have the same ethos and enthusiasm as PSG. 

We are working closely with a number of manufacturers and factories around the globe to optimise the potential.

How’s business been since the company was launched in May 2015?
We have grown at a steady pace. We are ahead of budget and making big strides with new products, implementing a sales team for the UK and pushing forward with solid growth.

What’s been your best-selling product so far?
Our iLites. These are portable floodlights for grass roots sports and schools that give teams and clubs the opportunity to continue their activities late into the dark evenings.

What do you think your best-seller will be in 2016?

The iLite category will continue to grow, along with some of our new items, but specifically within the retail sector it will be the Ping Pong range.

We are going to be launching a product late July/August this year that should grab everyone’s attention. I can’t tell you any more than that, but look out for the front cover of the Sports Insight Buyers’ Guide this year.

If you could change one thing about the sports trade, what would it be?
For me personally, it would be very advantageous to have one or two shows a year where the whole sports trade exhibits to all the buyers within the market, regardless of whether they’re Intersport, STAG or national accounts like Argos and Sports Direct.


For more information email [email protected] or call 01635 517560 or 07584 858978.

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