Old fashioned brand becomes retro cool - and doubles turnover
Carradice was a brand of cycle luggage that most cyclists had heard of, but not enough were choosing to buy. Four years later, Carradice were the toast of Cycle Show 2009 held in London's Earls Court, much to the delight of Managing Director David Chadwick.
Moreover, turnover and profits have increased to a level that ensures Carradice will continue to supply cyclists around the world with saddlebags and panniers for generations to come.
Understanding the problem
But back in 2005, it was a different story. Sales were static and profits were falling. David has total belief in his brand, but needed help to make sure the company's future would be secure.
It was important to get the Carradice brand back on track at a time when cycling was growing massively in popularity especially in cities such as London.
With Di Brooksbank's help, sales by sku were analysed, competitors' products and marketing were very closely examined and customer research surveys were undertaken. It was very clear there was a lot of affection and respect for the Carradice brand from older riders, but younger riders would opt for cheaper products - or high price hi-tech products. Carradice was seen as not meeting the needs of either of these markets and so were losing out.
Refocus marketing strategy
The marketing strategy was set. Each product must focus on a particular kind of rider. These have been grouped into 4 very distinct ranges:
1. For traditionalists and lovers of retro chic - Carradice Originals made from cotton duck and chromed leather. These are very tough hard-wearing materials, but also seen as adding a touch of luxury
2. For hi-tech loving riders - CarraDry bags were introduced in 2008. Made from PVC with high frequency welded seams means they are fully waterproof
3. For serious riders seeking rugged, functional bags - Carradice SuperC continue to be made from cotton duck
4. For price-conscious and occasional riders - CarraDura bags have been redesigned to meet the right pricepoint while still maintaining Carradice's high standards
Making it happen
The new product plan was phased over 4 years - focusing on one range each year. The major trade shows - Interbike Las Vegas, Eurobike Friedrichshaven and Cycle Show London - were used to showcase new product prototypes and get early feedback.
David's first new model in the Originals range - the Barley saddlebag - saw him present not just black cotton duck with white chromed leather but green cotton duck with honey coloured leather. This new model went into production the day David returned from Las Vegas and it is now the biggest selling model of all Carradice bags. David explains it success "We spotted a definite trend for smaller bags, but our small bags were very basic. The Barley is stuffed with features and absolutely hit the spot with all our retro-loving customers. We sell loads to USA, Japan and Taiwan as well as the UK."
Carradice products are available to buy online as well as through retailers www.carradice.co.uk
Customers > Carradice
Cycle Show London 2009
Carradice on Di Brooksbank:
"Di made me step back and take a long hard look at who our customers are and what they are 'buying' when they choose Carradice.
"All the hard work has really paid off and Carradice bags are now the brand of choice for the new wave of cycle commuters and club riders.
"Sales have increased by 25% year on year - and show no signs of slowing down."