Mike Humble, Behrens Sportswear’s business development manager, answers our questions
Tell us about the history of The Behrens Group
We are Manchester’s oldest textile company, being family-owned and managed from 1834 until the present day. We’re proud of our worldwide sourcing and distribution networks, having supplied the likes of the BBC, British Airways, Virgin, Manchester United, John Lewis, the NHS and Easyjet, plus many more UK and global market leaders.
Behrens’ near 200-year longevity is a consequence of our high standards and integrity, as enshrined in our motto ‘Esse quam videri’ - to be rather than seem to be. A philosophy fostered by our founder Sir Jacob Behrens and still very much our culture today.
How’s the sportswear division performing?
Sportswear is outperforming our predictions year on year, thanks to the quality of our stock supported range of teamwear, which is held in large quantities in our Manchester warehouse. Competition in the unbranded teamwear market is challenging, but our heritage, amazing service and quality, along with the depth of our inventory, ensures we are the first port of call for many retailers, big or small, when sourcing stock.
Tell us about the range
Our current stock range is made up of 20 different sportswear products in up to eight different colourways with sizes starting from XSB to 3XL. We stock over 600 SKUs, with upwards of 120,000 individual units in the warehouse. We regularly have new products coming online, with many more being developed for 2017.
Who’s it aimed at?
The stock range is trade only and we are very careful who we open accounts for. Our current UK customer base is largely made up of independent sports retailers and garment decorators, plus we have set up several overseas distributors. The Behrens unbranded range will sit perfectly alongside your branded teamwear offering and appeal especially to those customers who can’t wait for a bespoke six-eight week order lead time and customers who are particularly price sensitive.
How do you fulfil retail orders?
Our retail customers don’t tend to stock the range, but rely on our high levels of stock. This enables them to call stock in using our next day delivery service as they receive customers’ orders and therefore avoid having to tie up cash unnecessarily. Customers generally hold a small range of samples to display in-store, ensuring the space used can be kept to a minimum.
Do you provide marketing support?
Yes. We supply a non-branded catalogue to allow retailers to showcase the full range of products to their customers without giving away the source. We can also provide tailored product images should a retailer want to show customers how a decorated garment might look with their own logos.
What’s the turnaround time on orders and is there a minimum order level?
The stock range is a service-led solution, so we despatch all orders the same working day, if received before 2pm, for next day delivery. There is no minimum order, although there is a small carriage and handling charge for orders under £500.
What are your best-selling products?
Our bag range is widely used by the trade and represents fantastic value for money. The quality is equivalent, if not superior, to most branded, bags but our prices allow our retailers to make great margins.
Bags are bulky to store and tend to have high manufacturing minimums, preventing retailers from holding their own stock. Hence being able to draw down from our large stocks of backpacks, player holdalls and team kit bags is invaluable.
What other services do you offer?
Aside from the stock range, Behrens Sportswear also offers a bespoke product development service for those customers who want to have a teamwear garment or range of products tailored to their specific colour or style.
Bespoke built ranges tend to be especially useful if retailers have supply agreements with large sports clubs or schools and products can be delivered in full or held as call-off inventory.
How do retailers open an account with you?
They can simply click on the Behrens Sportswear page on our website and download an account opening form. Once we have verified the status of the retailer, the account will be activated and notification provided.
Should retailers need convincing of the quality and service Behrens provides, they can book a visit from one of our account managers by emailing [email protected]
For more information email [email protected], call 0161 8721444 or visit www.behrens.co.uk