Inspired Business podcast: What business can learn from the entrepreneurial world, with Dean Jackson
Just a quick note before we start this, entire. First, season of inspired, business, was recorded, before the. Corona virus outbreak in the UK hence, there being no mention of it in the interviews thanks. Enjoy, the podcast. Hello. And welcome, to inspired, business, the, business podcast within, the University, of Derby. During. This series we are bringing you inspiring. Stories. From across the business landscape in Derby Derbyshire, and beyond we discussed the issues affecting, your business and provide, key insights from our guests for you to take away, I'm Toby. Bradford, your host for the series I'm joined by my co-host business. Expert Angela. Tully who will offer you valuable, analysis, on the topics we cover. This, week we take a dive into the entrepreneurial, world and consider what large business, can learn from the idea of being an entrepreneur we'll. Be talking to Dean Jackson the, founder and owner of hoop, design now, Angela, you know Dean yes I do, what a great bloke he's. Certainly very interesting, as, an inspirational. Story to tell and, quite, obviously has a passion. Not only for the. Business and the product that he's developed, but also for, the city that he. Has, lived in for most of his life and he's, now running, his business then giving something back to the city yeah and he, takes us on that story on that journey from, the spark of the idea to a successful company via, the Olympic Games and how. He got there is a story in itself and, it's wonderful, to listen to him telling it yes indeed but he also has. Some interesting thoughts about entrepreneurship. And in fact the word entrepreneurs. Itself, and how that, can apply to large businesses it's. Interesting isn't it the word entrepreneur and, we've. Always had people, who, have. Started and run their own business but it's. A word that we is only, really come into its own in the last sort of 10 years really we. All have great ideas, but how many of us actually take those great ideas, and turn them into something, that's at a, financially. And commercially, sound business and really, perhaps that's something about the. Definition, of entrepreneur, is it it is about someone. Who takes those risks, and actually. He's, prepared, to have a punt and perhaps, except, those knock backs and bounce forward from them and Dean certainly, is able to tell that story as well Dean very much tells that story there, are lots of risks and punts involved, Angela, will be back later for our analysis, but for now let's hear what Dean has to say. I'd. Like to welcome Dean, Jackson, to our podcast hello, Dean how are you mate I'm very well I'm sitting, in dean's office there's, a racing. Bike a chopper, a, bull. Worker a picture of a space, hopper and an Evel Knievel toy on the wall I'm feeling. At home here the image, you could have of the bull worker and the chopper of, me riding around looking, like some 70s, muscle-bound, bike rider yes that's an interesting, idea listen a different. Listeners, but. We're, not here to talk about that we're here to about you and your business so tell me what is Huub what YouTube we're. A company based, around making products, to make athletes, faster, now. That's that's. Been born from a. World. Of wet suits and triathlon. That we started, in and I wanted to reinvent the wetsuit category, for triathlon swim in an open water swimming and as, we become onto dry land from, that water world tried. To frame the business as to what our core competency, is then it came down to speed so we are about making athletes faster, and rewarding. Them for all the effort they put into their training so the company start with an idea so. It was just one idea and a desperation, to pay a mortgage oh really okay but it's, where. Did that idea come from initially, it came from the thoughts of my head of thinking you're too stupid Dean because if it was a good idea someone else would have thought about it but I work for several brands I was 40 and, I. Knew my cards. Were, up then my number was up of whatever that saying is I knew my date my day was ending when.
The CEO of, the company I was working for and I was running global, sales, he just said Dena I think. It's time we parted I can't, afford to pay you anymore you've, taken us to number one in wetsuit world with this brand and we were based in Darby actually and I. Was running the Seattle office so I was commuting a lot and you know we got to a good place eating to see yeah yeah yeah, yeah, once a month I was there for a week so I've got good air miles I was, platinum status at, a big seat and. Yeah. But, I knew it was coming so, a couple weeks two months before, I'd written a business plan and I. Thought now it's time to do it on my own, but yeah what's my point two different and I'd looked at worked in running shoes before and, I've worked for several, sports brands and you, had shoes for, runners for different, foot types and different kinetic chains, and all of this I thought. Why isn't there different suits for different swimmers you. Look at women they let, got less dense muscles they float better and, yet, the neoprene thickness was same for women's wetsuits the, men's so. I, started, asking questions and, I asked one of the greatest open, water female, swimmers ever what she liked or disliked about wetsuit she's got the too buoyant, my bums in the air I need to engage with the water better I was just not thinking about you. Know two different bonuses in wetsuits and most swimmers in triathlon. Or not from assumed background, so, they're dredging, the bottom of the lake or the pool so what does that mean just think. He likes we very stern sinking legs and, when I first launched it I've got I've got I've got my stormtrooper. And the Six Million Dollar Man to show how some, float really well and others don't float great to, Toys Toys against. It whilst they are a reminiscent. Piece of the bedroom or which I had when, I was you know living in August at eight years old I actually took them out on the right the toys went on the road it's like Toy Story does business and just, show that sinky, legs is 85%, of triathletes, when they swim their legs sink they haven't got a good engaging kick and they're just not from a certain background and.
So We needed to change the buoyancy profile of wetsuits we needed to get legs, and hips, really high in the water decrease. The frontal drag and just make the athlete go faster, and to me I've got a more wise nobody done this and. That's where I thought well I must be the stupid one you know a wetsuit has to deliver flexibility. In the upper body so you can swim and buoyancy. In the lower but, everyone was putting five millimeters, which is the industry maximum, for an triathlon, maximum, along, the whole length of the suit and. I was just perplexed by it so, I experimented. With this 3/5, buoyancy, which is three millimeters on the upper body instead of five and. Five millimeters, on the lower bodies instead, of five all the way through and for, women we had three three three upper, body and three lower body and less buoyant six didn't need the buoyancy and that whole concept took off I went crazy so, it was the science really yeah to really strip your back it was let's, do this through science, and property look at it rather than Oh what color should the wetsuit be is like seriously, and I'd work for three other wetsuit companies and, I'd say how do we test a sue that's what we we, asked our sponsored athlete how they liked it and they said he felt really fastest, ten percent better than the last suit and and that's what their marketing message was built on which is a load of BS and, to. Me we needed to prove that this was credible when and the name of the company hoob is its Germanic and it means bright mind right, but it's also the, Christian, name of professor hoop Tucson and, professor hoob is one of the leading. Hydrodynamics. In, the world and I. Went to met him at Schiphol. Airport in. The train station lounge, and I. Said look I've trademarked, your name but. I'd like to work with you only says well you did that before you spoke to it I I leveraged. His name against, him and he, said well I'd. Love to help you Dean but there's one condition and, that is if, I tell you how to make a suit better you listen to me you do it I said well that's kind of why I'm here because I'm the thick one and you're the smart guy and your professor, he said well I've been to several sports brands in the past we tell them how to make a product faster than have ignored me which, bewilders, me why. Would you ignore, incredible. Advice and guidance so, we shook hands on the deal and then in the waiting room I got out all the wetsuits from all the other brands and he just thought of laughing, and pointing and going why is that there what does that do what does this do and it was obvious that the, market wasn't using science and we, needed to reinvent. The proposition. And tell. The triathletes, how to go faster, yes it was it was born out of science. Now. One, thing that struck me looking. At doing, a little bit research into, you wetsuits. For triathlon, it's a very niche product, it is there's that elite massive, leap of faith on your part or did you really believe that there. Was a market out there for this it was probably desperation. And belief that. I hoped, there was a gap in the market because I needed to feed my four kids and send them to universities. And all that kind of thing so I could, see it I can I thought I was a stupid one because if, it was there and no one else had seen it then why not I'd he tried it and he had him work and, then what the more asking around you. Know it, was like we've never seen this before so will it work and yes. It is it is a niche but, when your business has no turnover, the first year I turned over just short of half a million which. Was huge, now, we'll do, five million, this year so it makes half-a-million look quietly quite small when you're doing that whole family now in some months but. You know it's, we know we're gonna reach a ceiling and, we have to move and. So you know the first, ceiling, was how, much rubber come before it to the UK market and then it's overseas, and then the US and, then do we come onto dry land with, try suits but, if you're gonna do a tri suit which, is not a dry suit advise is what you're we're underneath your wet so you do everything in it it's you'll, swim your bike and you're running it just so you don't have to stop and change so. The triathlon, suit is warm underneath your wetsuit but, you know we can all make a lycra try suit that's quite easy but if you're gonna do one do, one with the difference so I took the same approach to the triathlon clothes in the tri suit as I did the wetsuit and, that was you know pocket, position in hydrodynamics, and, now we've done a huge amount of work on aerodynamics, so, again we're making the athlete faster, through no extra effort but.
Just Through a scientific, application, now going back to the initial idea how, long did it take from. Having. An idea meeting. Hoob, to. Having, something to take to the market, it was very quick actually and probably, shouldn't have been that quick I spoke to a couple of banks who weren't interested. It was 2011, and I, did a triathlon in, July with some friends and beat them and I was very proud and the chest was puffed there and, then I raced him again in September, and they, annihilated, me and my, head had gone I'd, lost my job with this previous company blew 70 and one. Of the friends I trained and raced with you say what's up with you I said well I've lost my job and this. Bus has come in and. I'm struggling a bit and he said well what do you want to do I said I want to launch my own brand just you need to speak to my mate Tom okay I've got a clue Tommy it's I don't even know what my mate mark did you know we just rode together and tried to beat him to, the sign for the village and it turned out Mark's a senior partner in Deloitte and, he. Was part of a little investment group from Nottingham called turning point here and me two weeks later I said you know how'd it go beat Tom so I'm not hearing from Tom so, five minutes later hello, I'm Tom looks like the mysterious Tom would rang me and Tom, Moore hood he, was just that they're scouting for possibly investments, for turning point so I met Tom Denby. Tearooms, towards the end of September, and within. Five days I had to go into a pitch to twelve investors, from Nottingham now I don't mind talking to people and you can put in front of a thousand people and talk about wetsuits and running shoes or whatever you but, when it's 12 individuals. You've got your future, in their hands are, scary. As hell they said yes we like you kind, of liked the idea but we liked you more and so it was 6th, of October, we signed a shareholders agreement and, they gave me five thousand pounds and, said that's the first of five so, you got twenty five thousand pounds but you need to come back with. Three hundred we worked in dollars three hundred thousand, dollars worth of orders get, an Olympian wearing one of your wet suits and prove that your wet suits the fastest in the world that's quite a big challenge it was a huge challenge the faster do it now I'd say you think come on cracker they saying that me triathlon. Season. For, selling in had gone all. The shops had brought their stock but, I got certain the plane keep, his flight, cheapest, hotel I could find went to Hong Kong met. An old contact I, went. To the factory with my drawings, of the Wonder wetsuit and they won't you can't do that you won't be able to do that and that's no one's done, that yet so we worked away around it we kept some beautiful, technologies, some new stuff that I should have patented, at the time right, but I needed to get to market so I just rushed this through got my first prototypes, back I was up to three weeks and by. The second, week of December I, was, out there selling from October, it was ridiculously, quick it was crazy was whirlwind and. I remember, walking, around the store in, Sussex. And I. Got my wheelie bag and I'd met the buyer and, I've got all my samples out yeah, I'm gonna give you an order and, I got straight in the car and I drove. Down to Brighton. Way then at this point I'm Christmas, week and the weather was dreadful, and I'm a wheelie bags wrapping, away then this probably Roma what, the hell am i doing what. Is going on you know I've got, these samples, I'm. Really late I've. Got to hit the next milestone others I don't get any more money and, I got me 5,000, pounds dripped in and then, to, lift my spirits a friend from America, said I hear you doing a wetsuit Brent and I know you'll pull it off so. Here's a $200,000. Order by me so, with some orders from the UK a shop does exist anymore total fitness in Nottingham and a lot of faith in me and a shop in Manchester, Royals I hit, that landmark with 300,000 it says that right they, can help fund that now but I had to go and get, value of the product so Olympic Games of 2012, in, London and. What. Year was this, was 2011 2009, so I thought right there's, one I got the orders in check, 2 is getting olympian wearing it well there, was two Olympians, Alistair and Johnny Brownlee, who were who would sign it with other wetsuit brands and I've done the deal for one of them so I can't get near that but they needed a pilot, for the game somebody was gonna swim, like a fish bite like a demon, and then he didn't really matter what happened but he's gonna lead Alistair and Johnny to, the game to the run safely, and, there's two athletes in line for it so I went and sponsored both of them so I went back to the investors I said I can't guarantee which, one it's going to be but I got both so, three, athletes going to represent Great Britain to, ikana but what I can have great, it, turned out that none of those two went to the Olympics they picked a complete outsider but, I've, done my bit at the time and then prove.
It Was the fastest we went to the, Netherlands with Professor hoop and, we're tine Hoeven and there, was something called the mad system, which is a measurement of active drag which, is a, wind tunnel for water if you like and swimmers, swim along a 25, meter long almost a ladder and, it measures their force and frequency, and gives you a data. Point so then they touch within the pool yes as they're swimming and that had one force plate on it that. Cost me 5,000, euros every time I went so. I went met professor hoob there I did some testing yeah your suits faster, your women's is definitely faster because, there's less buoyancy, and they're engaging, with the water better so, I got that data and. That was it tick tick tick so the investor said right we'll, give you 100,000, pounds now to buy the stock, so I friends. Got a little warehouse I, put my first delivery in there and I delivered my first wetsuit. To, my first customer, I delivered it to him in Hyde Park on, 1st of May 2012, so we've gone from October, to May China. Sourcing, calm boats flying some stock in to. The first sale and from that first sale till September, which is my first financial year we did half a million quid just from. Nothing to half a million quid yeah from nothing, you know a bit. Like Dennis Waterman I wrote the thing - you know sang the theme tune so I designed the product marketed the product sold products, from my kitchen table and, after the first few sales I invested. 4000, pound in converting a bit of mcGarry's to an office just, as not down for an extensional gutted but you've, got that foothold, the market there was the important thing what, would you say was the most important thing having. Triathletes. International, traffic's looking, at your suit so, you've, got I mean you said you couldn't get the brownie brothers but you had some pilots so how, did how did you, go from that to, getting, it visible, that's what I'm trying to say yeah I mean good question I'm a huge, huge believer in taking, Punk's and there. Was two brothers who were world champions the, rail our brothers from Germany, and I just packaged up two wet suits and sent. Them to them please try these a little bit naive because you know the sponsorship, deals around and all that and, this. Was 2012. April, the 1st and there was a triathlon, being streamed from the states and it was being streamed he's one of the early streamed live events, because, Lance Armstrong, was competing in triathlon, have to finish in his cycling career this was when everyone thought it was kind of clean and at.
The Swim the camera zooming in the first swimmer coming, along I'm, seeing this red flash and. I've got a red, technical. Piece on my wetsuits on the bicep, and I'm subtly like it in in the middle room the wife's in the kitchen I'm seeing this little red flash and Michael. Baylock got out the water first, in my worsen and I'm crying my, wife your honor. It. Was gets, me now thinking about it and straightaway my phone's going was. That you was that your seat what was it what was he wearing I got a message back from Lance, Armstrong's, management, he, wants to wear your suit can. You make him one with yellow inserts, for LIVESTRONG, I absolutely, and, I made, the suit and I put it on social media here's, this guess. Who this suits for three. Months after I think it was he he got them done. And, for cheating and all that stuff but Michael. Rael are coming out the water first it was a massive moment and that was a pure punt that I just sent them the suits and I add as many athletes as I could I put suits on their back there's, a young girl did, the olympics in london called flora duffy and up-and-coming talent from Bermuda and gave her a suit and she wasn't anywhere in the swimming London but she it was a suit coming out of the water she went on to become triathlon, world champion and big, money took her elsewhere but. Yeah it was just taken, all these little punts and going, around to clubs knocking, on the door doing training nights doing swim nights with them and just get people to hold it scratches sniff, so, they'd seen it and then the turn TV on I might see it again and, it was just that barrage from all angles and doing it it's, cheapest I could because I didn't, have a lot of money but this is me listen to this it made me think because you started this at a slightly, older age and more experience it's using that experience, that you had from your previous career and, knowing, where, to push yeah, it is absolutely you. Know there. Will be notes of advice that may come from this or may not but. I'm a huge. Huge believer and don't, just run at it because you like it know. It understand. It and get under the skin of it you, know we can all go and say I want to open a pub but we don't know probably too much about beer and logistics, and licensing, and food and hygiene and, and all those bits that go with it but yeah we'd all like to open a pub I wanted to get into wetsuit world I've worked, for three other brands, I knew the sport pretty, well and, I knew what buttons the best and sale and pushing where to go, now. We've talked a little bit about beyond. Wetsuits. And you've. Branched out at times haven't you you've you've, gone into Events, Management you've Jenson. Button bring. His triathlon, to Derby is, there anything else you've branched, out into no, I I think I learned a lesson from that though as well that, just. By talking to Jenson he rang me up one day and said can I have some wetsuits and I said I can't afford you to wear that kind of expensive, Jenson. Button is he said no it's outside of Formula One it's just to me look, after me and my mates and it's all good so, wonderful opportunity and got to know Jenson his team he, had a triathlon, in Luton so you need to bring that to Darby and, what. Convinced me so you know all those counties want it the cities so, I wrote proposal, on Darby was the, finest, city I wanted, to you know go, and sell bits of Derby off after I'd written this proposal, to him and he. Said yeah let's do it but then I didn't I had no way putting an event on I kind of knew a little bit so, we, set hooba vents up really, to put on the Jenson Button triathlon, and bring, that to Derby and say thank you job if you support and a loan from the Enterprise Growth Fund in the early days it was incredibly. Helpful to us so this was like saying well you know let's put something back Jenson Kayne Gordon Ramsay came it, was an outstanding event Matt Bailey Matthews there with a kids, triathlon it, didn't really make any money but he put something fantastic on, but what I learned from it and it's more my FD spotted it than me so he's, taking your attention away yeah. You need to be focused, on what, we good at which, is wetsuits, and try suits and go in a triathlon market, so it was there and it worked but in the end I we just kind of let it go and hand it over the races to another race organized, it's just what somebody said to me this a Danish it's very good having a look at ideas and then if it's not working for him it will come back and and focus. On what's important, yeah yeah, and it's hard because, when you built something you think I want to keep hold of it holding it hold it but you have to just say I'm, gonna let. Go and move on and I had aspirations to move into into, cricket and look. At that sport because I if we can improve triathletes, performance, the cyclist performance, losses, so you can't take any sports a bit some pieces and and put the pieces back better.
And Lighter, and stronger and more efficient, so you paid around with all kind of ideas but. You've, got to come back to what. You've got at and, what you know but, you have devised diversify. To a degree there's this cycling, where yeah general training wear casual, clothing jackets, stuff like that yeah I've tried, to fill the triathletes, wardrobe triathletes, are very proud to be what they are which are immense athletes very commits are very focused, and they kind of want to wear a badge of honor of triathlon, so. I want to fill the Wardrobe with the training wear and the competition, wear and we moved into the soft goods you, know the nice casual items they're never going to be big number sellers for us but, it just keeps that triathlete. Connection, because. They're proud of wearing whoo wetsuits, they think. It. Really is it's, kind of that work rest and play thing you know if you're into motocross you're going to wear as many brands, that reflect motocross, as possible, so, your peers in that sport recognized you're into motocross runners, do it you know the way brands. Are typically on high street you know be an easy expedient and on or Hoecker or something and you can think of someone to go yeah you're a runner and it's that community, and it's that tribal piece that, I wanted to be part of so it's never going to move the needle massively, it's, always going to be a burden of stock but we're at the heart of it we try to do it for women it was more difficult because, there's so many brands competing, for that right and we. Kind of said well let's let's, stay in the space but pull back a little bit we did arrange with Gordon Ramsay's wife the, tonic collection and it did okay but I wish you could, but without scale, you don't get the better pricing, from the factories and, without the better pricing, you're limited to your sales channels, is. There anything else you're going into what's next for Huub in that sense, well it's cycling now and you know we're gonna we're gonna hit limits on wet suits and rubber and around, the world we still got some big territories, to go out on wet suits and triathlon, Germany in the US especially, but. Cycling, is it. You could say it's overcrowded but I kind of quite like that because there's a lot of overcrowding of me too and I want to go into cycling. With an aerodynamic, benefit, so that the fastest, suit, for cycling, on the track in, the world at the moment we make the, fastest team for, pursuit in the world or one of the top three we, make their suits and, that's the guys from Derby the who brought by team and I've gone right, at the very top. And the, pyramid, so my technology can filter down and, I'll not only filter down the cycling, pyramid it'll bleed into the triathlon, pyramid, so, now when I talk about aerodynamics in, my triathlon suits. I've, got credibility, behind you and I got tests and we've done big and from the who bought by team at, the amazing Derby, arena where we do our testing and then we've got wind tunnel facilities, where we go as well so. We we can package it all up and what we learn in one field will benefit and the other the cycling's are pushed for us investment. Is needed in that the, team that we have came, to me initially for some clothes in and I said I'll give you a bit of money and then we're doing this suits and each suit they wear if you retail it would be 5000 pounds and then they go whoa need we, just become national champions we need two suits. But. It gives us that credibility but do you have suits for retail that aren't 5000 km yeah, and 300 pounds will get you a very fast cycling, suit you, can step onto the track and know you've got a competitive, advantage whilst. The rules allow it they're constantly changing the rules cycling. Seems to hate innovation, you, know they did it with Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman and they're, now doing it with the who boite by team and our cyclists, and then the clothing that we're producing you said previously you didn't like the word entrepreneur. But. That's, what you are you get stuff done because that's what an entrepreneur does, yeah, I think, it's because I'll open up LinkedIn, and there's. Lots of people calling themselves entrepreneurs. And I. Sometimes.
Wonder If, you've. You've earned the stripes and sweaty enough to call yourself on to preneur I can't, call myself a doctor, you know maybe I could say I'm doctor of triathlon, I don't have a qualifications, I haven't done it haven't been to the University and done the Masters beauties or whatever you need to become a doctor and I just, think it's a term that is is. Maybe used by people who maybe aren't quite sure I'm, entrepreneur, have, you really put your house on the line have you really sweated it have you lost properties, have you lost businesses, have you been knocked down and got up again so, I prefer, the term hurdler, because, you start, off on the, B of the bang with great gusto and you, hurdle, and then you love another one you might knock a couple down, and you may fall down yourself, but you're gonna get up and you're gonna run again and you're running at speed and this hurdles coming towards you I just gotta get over it you got hurdle it and we're. Hurdlers, on a, never-ending track, because. You never have a 300, meters or there's always something, they may become less important than what they were on maybe even bigger and more important, than what they were but. There's always something you gotta come over so yeah I don't like the word entrepreneur, I'd, rather samo hurdler, my. Next question was gonna be what are the inter sensual, skills of her entrepreneur, but I suppose you should say what are the essential skills for a hurdle of them yeah so there's a shoe excuse for hurdle I think you. Could be a hundred meter runner or 800, meter run on a track I think I've just got to worry about running, tactically, in a straight line or around, the bend or just from my own race and I'm a television I think when you're a hurdling. Entrepreneur, you've. Got to be a bit stupid and you've always got to ignore good, advice or what people tell you because, you've just got a run, at it and think, I'm gonna shut my eyes and lift my legs and try and get over it and get on with it because. We, should then a few times you'll keep doing it and doing it and doing it Brit but with, the benefit, of the experience that you talked about before so to having that, within, your mind when you're throwing yourself over that hood yeah yeah gone I've done it before and I lift my knee high enough I can do this I can get over it and I kind of know what the next one might be or I know that in four strides I got to do it again at four so I've gotta do it again you're right it teaches, you the space between the hurdles and if you don't make it over that hurdle think about why you didn't make over, there's. Another one to, learn quickly from that one because there's another one on its way yeah yeah definitely the experience, counts. Huge, huge amounts, and I go maybe that goes back to my distaste, of the entrepreneur, you know hey you're 23 years old yeah, an entrepreneur, yeah, we in, this day and age of social media you know there are some amazing entrepreneurs, that are doing stuff you know with videos and that, my son shows me and bewilders, me but they're great they're building incredible businesses, from it but I just think it's used without, that wealth of experience. That can, change the outcome you know I've had business I had a business before and it, collapsed it was a running shot in Nottingham, I had one in Darby that I grew and built and that's still going today and I'm no part of it but I went to do it again, when, I had many other businesses, I had too much going on and they had to close one down but. What I learned from that you, just get up and go again so yeah, about, that experience now one of the reasons we're doing this podcast at, the moment is about, entrepreneurship. And why, it's. Important. The UK economy, what's, so vital, about hurdling. Entrepreneurship. To the economy in general well, I think we're we're. The entry. Level of employment. You know when we grow in once, we get moving we're taking on staff at a great, rate I mean we're unlikely to be hemorrhaging those staff it's, gonna be a growth until we get to I don't know there'll be some stats, somewhere, that says once, you get 30 you might bleed up or down depending on what you turnover is I can have a bad year and I'll still be needing more staff you, know we're gonna keep growing that you, know we taxpayers, we, not big enough to domicile, at different points around the world so we don't pay tax you.
Know There are lots of things that we can benefit to offset some of that tax but because, we're small businesses we're probably not savvy on that you know we're quite good we know about R&D tax credit then we know about pattern box and we've. Been as smart as we can you. Know on the tax that we're paying but, I think a lot both small businesses, you know they'll get out there making profit and they're reinvesting, again they reinvest in people and it's also the fresh ideas for the future we've, got you know got some big companies, in this city rolls-royce and Toyota they're. There and they're surviving, off local smaller businesses, being from engineering or supply chain feeding. Into that and you, know I don't know too much about it but I bet they're not businesses they set up its small entrepreneurial. Attitudes. People probably used to work there I used to work in other sectors of engineering, say well I'm gonna set up at my own little shop and we're gonna supply that beast that's on our doorstep, and I think that's what's quite exciting, about. About job you know I grew up with, get your job at rolls-royce and, it's. Safe it's. Nice I said we'll go and work a qualcast, or or rail, combustion. And all Celanese and all that and and get on the pathway stay with the company for many years and, it was almost as a derby was anti entrepreneurial. Because, it was these pathways were kind of set but now that mentality I kind, of see is let's. Feed these big companies and set up our own little workshops. Or advise, companies or, you, know whatever it may be that's going to add value so is it that the, larger, companies aren't, using entrepreneurial. Spirit, when they're thinking of new ideas and how to develop because you know you're, you're still a growing company but as a company gets bigger do they lose that I think they must do I have. A phonology and visual in my head of I'm a little speedboat, I've been annoying as hell in, a port of oil tankers and I'll zip around an hour move around, really quickly and these tankers, takes so long to move that. You know the tides changed by the time they've moved and that's, how I look at it with, business and baby some some of the big businesses it's such a slow shift for anything to happen and. I think one of the hard things to do is to keep your culture, lightweight. And nimble and flexible you, know my F T's you know what projects, are you on now and he'll. Struggle to keep up with me enough to keep me informed the best I can just, because it's, where I what opportunity, I see next and I'm chasing in the bigger companies, you know there'll be so many layers and, there's, a lot of ass-covering isn't that you know we see see the whole world on an email to ask of ourselves well. I sent an email well, what doesn't mean nothing anyone's ready but, I think we have a bit of that society, as well and, I you. Know the bigger corporations. You'd like to think that they're they're, breeding, the entrepreneurial, spirit I'd. Add to Deloitte and one, of my investors as a senior partner then he. Works in the incubation unit, and they just bringing out new ideas out of this unit all the time that, must be a imagine, how exciting now that's in a major company yeah so so there is space for that. Oh absolutely absolutely. You, need those kind of rooms or spaces, or the crazy ones where you, know you're a little bit off the wall you'll perhaps argue with your manager too much because you've got another idea so you, go and play in that play pan over there where you can what you want and it's a bit of a budget that must be fantastic.
I've Seen it and you read about it in books and and other companies that do it but I wonder how, much if it really goes on you'd like to think it goes on everywhere but I think the true entrepreneurial, spirit only comes out when you've, got to pay bills you've got have a point a difference and you, compete in against. Lots of others in that field and, you you just gotta got it and it with a very different angle and a very different approach but is there anything you can teach these larger businesses from where you are yeah I mean I was invited, to rolls-royce to go and give a talk to one of their like specialist engineering, departments, and I focused, on, what. A two-year-old would do so, my grandson, Jackson. He's not Jackson Jackson. He's. Different surname so. Jackson, if, he'd look at a 12, kilogram, dumbbell, and, we had just done you, know kettlebell training and. He'd go and try and pick it up now if you're a looked at a hundred kilogram, dumbbell which would probably be relation to our weights first is that you just look at a guy picking that him but he'd go up and pick it up because, he think well I'm just gonna try this it. Might work I don't know he'd got no preconceptions, about it so he went and tried it and it was the same with me for the Olympic Games, I wanted. My logo coming, out the water first at the Rio Olympic Games now, I wasn't a sponsor of any big Federation. I wasn't you know Visa, coca-cola. So how was I going to do that so we looked into the rules of the Olympic Games for kicks apply and if you supply a nation, with, a technical piece of kit you're allowed a logo, up to 30, centimetres. Squared which is ridiculously. Big no one else have picked up on this so, I'd sponsored, the Slovakian triathlon. Federation, two members of that team I said I'm your kit supply for Olympics rock, on do you know big deal this one and I sponsored, a guy called Richard Varga, fastest. Swimmer in triathlon, but read the small print produced, him a suit but, a big 30 centimeter, squared logo on the front he, was in Rio and he went to kick jockey and they said you logos far too big son go and get it blanked, out so he toddled off got, it blanked out came back the next day and they went no you were right Richard we've, checked the rules and your logo was big enough and he went it's good job I got a spare well then isn't it and he pulled his spare suit can, he was first out of the water at the Olympic Games and you've got the triathlon, first that big hoop logo and we showed it actually in the quad cinema we had, that, was another teary moment, and that, was just by looking at the rules and, not, taking it for granted and like oh well let's, let's start again, and let's just reread. That and see what it really says and go again. Are we the stupid ones cuz I don't think they quite get this but that's looking at the hurdles and going let's do our research again, you know how do we get over the hurdle exactly, yeah, and, what's the most efficient way to get over that hurdle or is there a cheat you know how, can we do that now then we're getting towards the end so, what advice would, you give somebody. Who's considering, setting out on their own whether they're a 23, year old or a 40, year old my advice would you give them I probably give to really one, as I touched on earlier is, know the space you're going into and know it intimately, and know every, single.
Nuance Of it and inside and out because you're going to need an armory of weapons, when it comes to getting exposure for your product research in your product when, the market is going to buy what price is what the margins are the, supply chain for it you're gonna need so much is it a case of I'm gonna launch your wetsuit next, Friday it just does not happen, No whatever, you gonna do incredibly. Well research, it but at the same time ignore. Everybody cuz those that say you. Can't do it are the ones that are scared to do it and if you're prepared to do it ignore. Them because if, they were that smart and that good that had done it so the fact they're telling you not I think is a lot of people's inner fear that, they just don't do it themselves so crack, on with it and give it a go and learn from some of those mistakes so, actually, think learning from mistakes isn't. It it's it's. Taking, on that hurdle maybe that's the difference between a smaller company that's growing and a larger company they've, made lots of mistakes and the fear of because, you've got so much investment in other things whether you actually want to go further yeah if you're if you're you know for, a large company to make a small mistake could be hugely detrimental so, is there support out there for budding, entrepreneurs, yeah there is I mean I think we're very lucky in Derby you know we've had as I mentioned the enterprise, growth one that was very supportive of us and they. Gave us a grant to take on several members of staff before, we could afford several, members of staff so, I could gear up and be. Ready for the growth of the business that, was a massive support, Derby, is a village you know we are the city but it's like a business, village and it's, thanks to members, of the university, bringing partners, together, Marketing, Darby is an incredible, tool if, you're looking to set a business up in this city pay, your 500, quid to marketing Darby but the best five and upon you'll ever spend you not only get lots of free coffees, and bacon rolls at several locations but you'll get to meet other business owners and network. And share stories and support and, that's. That's invaluable that's been a huge huge, assistance, to me now we've talked about you bringing events to Derby but. You're involved in promoting the city in other ways I'm talk about marketing, Derby so you and, coming, to the University, and going. To other places so you big up promoting the city and when you're doing it right, now in fact yeah it's, um I'm a bit fed up for traveling the world and people go where's da being you have to go east next to Nottingham, I want people to go oh yeah, Derby yeah nothing it was that otter there isn't it I think you, know I'm Darby through and through I lived, in the States for two years and work for another triathlon company and we, could have moved for, my next role anywhere.
In The world this and wherever you want to go will. Transport, you there will help you get soda I think go anywhere in the world and so he's gonna go back to Darby and, I think it's that I could, touch on that village feel and I'm, proud of it if we can bring star. Names to the city and. Triathlons, I'm part, of a group of businesses that have helped bring the dolly Park concert back to, dolly. Michael, brain from Handel's led that charge you, know we can all chip a bit in and make, it happen, now that event should be sustainable, for years to come so we. Are a small, very small business, in this city but. The collective can really make stuff happen I'm just yeah, I'm just very proud of it and you, know we're we're. Kind of the underdog at times especially the city next door but we put up a damn good fight Dean, what, do you consider to be your greatest achievement. With Huub oh do. I just have one I've. Got to really I think for. Me is when we put, our sign upon this building, which is a beautiful, building on full street a huge amount of history and I, came to sit outside when we did down at a very teary moment, just you know the this old Easton lad ain't the brightest, as money to achieve this which for me was which. Is a wonderful, thing it says a living for a small. Incredibly. Productive fantastic. Team that, was a proud moment for me and, it's kind of putting your mark on the centuries darby people kind of see it and there. Maybe inquisitiveness, of what it is and you see what kind of I did that but. I think the main one for me is is the fact my family are proud of me it makes me immensely proud and. When my wife's part of what I've achieved and, when they talk about it with you know with excitement and enthusiasm so. Yeah I think it's that really it's making others proud kind, of does it for me and what's your favorite product I mean I've been looking through your inventory, there's a swim, float for people with heavy legs which I think. Yeah. And it's called the big boy and. The slightly smaller version for women is called the toy boy my, favorite. Product. I think is our black t-shirt, because I obsess over t-shirts, and, we. Found a lovely t-shirts, apply any fits, great and it's comfortable to wear so, yeah there's lots of science, and aerodynamics, going on but I just really love my back TV sure them you were wearing a black t-shirt now yeah it's not it's a hoop prototype, one hasn't got a hoop on it I'm testing the fit and shape the problem is I keep changing the shape and holidays of things and go and this t-shirts now a bit tight change the cut one thing I wanted to ask you you keep saying, I'm, not the brightest, and you, keep probably to work on that yeah you do I, think. For somebody who's achieve what you've achieved I, think maybe it's. Not. What, you think it is it's, that impostor syndrome isn't, it you know I'm I'm. Here and and I I'm, not you, know that the one with the degree in engineering degree, but here we are yeah I mean I'm dis praxic, as well I think that's probably didn't help me through school but. I think that's allowed me to look at things a bit differently, so, I think you're right I think I have skills that I don't recognize but. I have you know in. Abilities, that I do and I. Did have some help with that getting over that yeah, I think may be probably, a good thing to keep a bit of that humbleness as well that, actually I need to really prove that this is a damn good idea and that this will work well, it seems to be working yeah it does what you know we'll, hit those turnover, numbers and we're, profitable and. We've got companies interested, in buying is and we've rebuffed them and said no go really yeah we went through around last, year but, we've had great support from the bank so we said no well work with you it doesn't hurt my shareholding, by, working with a bank you grow it so.
Yeah We'll see what next. Five years we made looking it very differently but yeah it's the a wonderful brand and. A wonderful city producing, amazing products with the best ambassadors in the world so yeah well it's a great one is a brilliant. Now. As we draw, to a close this. Is the big question what's, the single most important. Piece of advice you, can give our podcast, listeners believe, in yourself, and. Someone. Says no ask. Them why and it's, that old was it five wise and you'll get to the bottom of the problem yeah, if they say no don't take it as a no take it as a I've, got to go and understand why, there's, a no because if I had said to somebody I'm gonna be first out of the water the Olympic Games with my logo in a size that would shock everybody can, I do it they'd say no but. There is a way to do it so yeah believe in yourself and take no is a number. Not a read excellent, now then we're sitting in your office in the, hoob Bikeworks, building, in full street in Derby yeah where people can come along and find. Out about you and see your products here yep, yeah we have a showroom, downstairs, it isn't merchandise, like the Secretary's shop in the world which I would like because, it's, a working unit and, we take stock in and out and to expose new shows but. Yeah we we welcome people to come in because there's no finer way to buy a wetsuit, and actually put it on get, fitted properly and understand it is a tight garment, it does feel a bit restrictive, it's a bit claustrophobic and, we can talk you through the experience rather than just you know yeah online sales are great but you know what you're either people come in and have a good fit in experience, with us and talking, of online you've got a website yeah who design calm doing very well and growing and, we just had a shift of resources, to you, know move our advertising the ROI is we're getting you know through the SEO and to our social media using lots of acronyms now I know scares me when, you're forty odd and they start using all these acronyms it's like what's that mean but you're on Twitter and Facebook and, Instagram yet.
We're On it we're on all of those so how can people find you if you go out just to design on on, Twitter and Instagram and well, instagrams actually hube on Facebook, suit design excellent, well it's, been a marvelous, afternoon, yeah, you, know you can tell I like talking so thanks for asking me great questions. Well. Thank you to Dean Jackson from whom for joining our podcast thank you. Well, we've heard from Dean and he's told us about his journey with Huub that started, with an idea for a niche product and developed. Into a successful, business I've, been joined again by my co-host Angela, Tully who is our resident business, expert, so. Angela we talked earlier on about taking. A punt I'm Dean, had some extremely, interesting stories, about how he did that oh yes and you can't deny there was an incredible amount of looking volved as well and the fact that he started, his. Business in, 2011. The, year before London, 2012, and. He. Is actually entering what, he's a very niche but also a hugely, growing, market, in terms of. Triathletes. In particular a better triathlete, I would. Like to think that yes. He took a punt but I would describe it more as calculated, risks, and I. Think Dean is. Incredibly. Good. At, doing. The research, before. He actually took those punts. So, yes. Dean, had spent most of his career working, in, the, performance. Sportswear, industry. So had a deep knowledge of the business he had a deep knowledge but. He didn't take that for granted and. At the very start he went out and he did the research, he. Looked at what his competitors. Were doing. He looked at what was happening in the market in terms of material. Developments. He spent a lot of time talking to customers yeah. And he really, got under the skin to understand, who, his customers were and, what. His customers would want but, he said surely, somebody's done this already surely somebody's, come up with this idea this idea of creating a wetsuit, that is performance. Based that is designed, to, increase the performance of the athlete yes he did and I'm sure many people at that point would have just walked away from the idea but, he went and he looked in it any investigated. Any research. That any find, out that, actually this was something that was new to the industry at the time I, think he said that the industry is more, focused, around lurkin, style than it was around what he was trying to do which was something that was more focused around.
Performance. And speed, and, that. Was something that resonated. Very, strongly. With, these potential. So when he did take what, I would call the punts he, was backing, that up with his own knowledge. Of of the, industry in his own research. Into him when he went out to professor. Hoops I saw and had already trademarked the name when. He sent wet, suits to various athletes, because, he, thought if they did wear them and they did wear them it would be really good exposure for him yeah exactly, he, I think he very early on in developing. The WHO brand he developed, a concept of, a brand that, was very closely, associated, with, speed, of performance and actually. That in terms of a brand, value, was really, the starting, point of building a successful business and that. Was validated. By, Professor. Hoop and the. Research. That, they did and the testing that they did on the fabrics, together so. Actually, who, as a name and then wetsuits the product are validated. By that world-class. Research, and testing, but. They're also validated. By the customers, in terms of having. Hoob suits that are first out of the pool on the first leg of a triathlon, it wasn't only validated. By those professional, athletes, but. It was also validated. By what. I would class the mass-market those amateur athletes who. Buy. Into the science, buy. Into. What they see, in terms of who, brands, being first out in the pool on the television, and actually. Wanting to buy that he, spent a lot of time talking to customers and, potential customers and. Really, understanding. Their, needs and getting under the psyche of, a, typical, triathlete. Who would wear his suits and, actually, that's, that's, a really important, thing to do and there's, a term that is, increasingly, being used to. Describe this which is about customer, centric innovation. Which. Essentially. Is about making. Sure that, what. You are creating. Addresses. The needs of your customers, too. Much, research. Too, much innovation happens. In a silo, so actually create something was absolutely fantastic but. There isn't a necessarily a market. For. What you're doing. It's beyond the idea of performance. Athletic, wear in any, business you need to know what your customers won there's no point, producing, a product, that your customers don't want absolutely, it's not about making, sure that your customer, wants to buy your product, and needs your product but it's also understanding. Some of these other nuances, like, understanding. What, they're prepared to pay for it so they, might say that's absolutely great, but. They might not pay. A hundred pounds for it they might only pay fifty pounds for it so you, can then use that to start developing, the. Product characteristics. Dean's. In a market, that is very niche where, he absolutely understood, that his customers. Valued. The sciencebase. That. He. Bought, the brand around and actually that was one of the reasons, why they were buying his wetsuits because of that's, that science based innovation, that had been validated, but. You don't necessarily always, have to do that so, not. Every, design. Has to be gold-plated. It's about understanding, what, those characteristics, are in meeting meeting those customer, needs and making sure that they're balanced, Dean made some very interesting, points about entrepreneurship. He, doesn't like to use the word entrepreneur he likes to use a word hurdler. In the sense that every. Challenge, is a hurdle you are they leap over it without a scratch or you hit it and learn from why, you hit it and then get, up and ready for the next one which is coming up first he, also made some interesting points about how those. Entrepreneur. Ideas. Can be used within big business do. You have any thoughts on that yeah. I like his hurdling I think it's a great analogy on life, in general, in the fact that inevitably. We all hit hurdles and it's about how you deal with those as to. How, you move on and and how, successful, you. Can be in the future and how much you learn from those so, I think that's an absolutely, valid point to make with. Regards, his thoughts about how. Entrepreneurship. And how entrepreneurs can. Help big businesses, I think he's absolutely correct. As businesses, grow they tend to lose some. Of that, ability. To, be free and dynamic, and they. Lose, some of that creativity. That. Is so important, for innovation, and, that's, that's. Just the nature of how. Things develop in, the fact that US businesses grow there's. More people in there with, more people you have to start putting more structure, and. More. Bureaucracy, and processes. In there and quite, often as, businesses.
Grow They become more, risk-averse. I guess, they have more to lose and there's. More, at stake when. You're employing, 50. A hundred people, then. When it's just you on your own in your kitchen but is there something that, within, those circumstances. You think larger. Businesses, could do within, the idea of entrepreneurship, it's quite definitely, allow encourage, anyone, who works in a large business to, pick. Up the phone and go and see. What, others. Are doing and see what are the smaller businesses, and how. They're working and, the environment. That, they're, people, sitting, at, some point so for, example, for, example there's some really, quite, simple things, that you can do just to. Start building that. Creative. Environment. Within. A larger business so. If you compare, a, typical. Office in. A large business compared, with a high, tech small, business. You. Associate, large businesses, with white-walled, offices, lots, of lines of desks, people. Almost sort of sitting in windowless rooms, you, know and working in that sort of environment if. You go and see many of the businesses that I go and see it was smaller businesses, who are perhaps more creative. Sort of technology, focused, they're. Perhaps more open plan offices, just even things like their color schemes are very different. You just get a different sort of feel they, quite often earth big, social areas, I went, to a company. The other week and they got a a hangout. Area that they called the cave and there was comfy furniture and. A TV and. It was a it. Was just an environment, just to a lot of people, just to sit. And reflect and. Be creative. Without, the. Computer, in front of them or the phone's ringing or things like that and. Sometimes. You just by implementing. Those sorts of environments, you can just help, stimulate, that. Many. Companies now are introducing. Ideas. Boards. Ideas, competitions. Where you can submit, ideas, that, you've had throughout, the year and they, will get looked at and, assessed and some, of them that they think are really good will get taken forwards, and so, there's lots of different things that larger, businesses can start to do just. Develop that environment I think the important, thing is, not about, stimulating. Lots. Of ideas because, I think by, nature people, have ideas, it's. About what. You do with those ideas and, one, thing that, perhaps. Larger, businesses. Aren't very good at is. Working. With individuals. To take. Those ideas forwards. And assess, those ideas, in. Dean's case if he's, got, an idea that he wants to work with then. He, can very quickly pick up the phone talk to a potential.
Manufacturer. He, can go out and you can do something with it very quickly he doesn't need to wade through lots, of gaited, processes. He doesn't need to get permission from anyone and he can, do that and he, can very quickly take something, to, market, so, that's his beat boats and oil tankers, it, takes a long time for a big business to actually turn towards. An idea absolutely, and we're, in an age now where businesses. Need to learn to be more agile and flexible in, the ever-changing environment, that, we're in the, most successful businesses, will, have that ability and, culture. To ennoble them to take opportunities. As and, when they arise Dean's. Big giveaway. Let's say was, don't. Take no for an over, announcer but understand, why it's a no is that what, your big takeaway would be from from what Dean's been talking about I think that was a really. Valid, point that he made d, spoke about being, like a two-year-old again, and two-year-olds, ask why all the time but. Actually don't be afraid to ask why, what. We need to encourage is those open. Verse Asians, rather than close conversation, say your. Idea in its, pure form may, not be possible but. Actually, an adaptation of. It may be so, by asking why you could start to tease those things. Out and start, to understand. The underlying issues, you, can start to develop solutions, for those challenges, and, for those issues that have arisen thank. You very much Angela. Next. Time we'll, be joined by Trevor Williams former. Chief economist, at Lloyds Bank and a visiting professor at the University, of Derby. You've. Been listening to inspired business a podcast, from the University, of Derby telling amazing, and inspirational, stories. From businesses, in Derby Derbyshire, and beyond please subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts, leave us a rating or review and, tell a friend you might also like to listen also if, you'd like to be a guest on a future episode of the show please get in touch you can find contact details, and more information about the series at the Derby AC UK, forward, slash inspired. Business, thanks. So much for listening we'll catch up with you again very soon.