tom

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The challenges of re-invigorating a brand

So, almost exactly 5 months to the day since we relaunched Mongoose. How’s it gone so far?

Well, we’ve had in excess of 150 orders, sold hundreds of bats, shipped equipment to 5 of the 7 continents (I guess the South Americans are too busy playing football, and the Antarctic is hardly cricket paradise) and had something in the region of 40,000 page views on our new website.

How those numbers sound to you, probably depends on how you foresee Mongoose as a brand. But let me tell you, the last 5 months has been a real eye-opener for me. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the past few months:

  1. The majority of cricket business is still done through large retailers, with the most popular being those win the battle on Google.

    When we launched Mongoose 1st time round, we would sell mainly through retailers. With their support, and often expert knowledge, we were able to tap into various areas of the country and display our bats proudly. Mongoose V2 is currently web-only, meaning we’re having to do a lot more to stay relevant and in front of people. In some ways that’s great, by selling direct we maintain more of the margin and retain more control over the brand. The cricket retailer isn’t dead though, and they’re incredibly important to the industry.

  2. Stock takes and stock management is hard.

    Before coming on board Mongoose had done a stock take. That stock take differs from the stock take which was done the next week, and the week after. And the week after that. Keeping an eye on thousands of bats, which differ only slightly in colour, design or size is difficult. The good news for customers though: we have more stock than we thought, so jump on board for some of our sale stock which is on sale now!

  3. Social media is so important.

    This is a big one that has changed in recent years. Previously most customer service or pre-sales was done via email, or telephone. Now I’d estimate that 60% of CS/Sales queries come via Twitter or Facebook.

And lastly, as we enter the new cricket season – best of luck to all!

 

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What goes into creating a range of protective equipment?

Almost every year, a brand comes out with an updated range. Usually their colour schemes change, the bigger brands usually a new named line which will be endorsed by their super star player.

So what goes into creating those pads and gloves?

At Mongoose, we have produced around 20 different models of pads and gloves over the 6 seasons we’ve been operating. Usually we start off doing some competitor research, looking at the latest and greatest materials being used in cricket, hockey or other contact sports. A few years ago D3o was all the rage, something we looked at and considered. Now brands seem to have reverted back to the more traditional materials with cane, foam and the outer made from PU seemingly the choice of most brands.

Our suppliers who we work very closely in India with, also play a key role in developing the protective aspects. The majority of the industry deals with only a handful of manufacturers in Meerut and Jalandhar, these generally have a few stock moulds or stencils, that they will like to follow. This is something we try to steer away from in our quest to be unique.

Outside of the protective aspects, the design also plays a key role in the production. The range of soft goods (as pads and gloves are known in the industry) needs to tie in closely with the bats. We start our process for designing the branding on paper.

A few sketches of the gloves which formed our 2011 range

Paper is a great place to begin sketching, with such little effort it makes designs easy to throw away and move on from. Once something more concrete, such as a model or prototype has been created; you become more attached to the piece.

From the paper,  we select a few we like and begin to work with our professional designers to create an image mockup.

Computer mockups of our 2011 range

From the computer designs. We’ll begin to brief the designs into India and our manufacturing partners there. Suffice to say things never are right first time round, and often we’ll visit the factory ourself to work together to produce a protective, stylish product.

 

Some early prototypes of our gloves

After a few visits to the factory, and close inspection; we come close to the finished article and produce something which is visually beautiful and incredibly protective.

Our final 2011 range

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Welcome home

Mongoose is back. 6 years after launching the brand in May 2009, we are again re-launching the brand.

Let me introduce myself, and explain a little more about Mongoose. I’m Tom, and will be the one writing almost all of the blogs here. I joined Mongoose back in May 2009, just after our initial launch. Along with the CEO, Marcus Codrington Fernandez, I helped grow the brand into one of the top 5 cricket brands in England and oversaw the production of well over 10,000 cricket bats in Cambridgeshire, Sussex and Meerut.

I left the company in 2011, and the company has since dramatically re-structured. We believe we are in a better position than ever to establish ourselves within the cricket industry and build on our reputation of providing innovative, exciting yet high quality products.

We’ll be using this blog to explain a little more about our plans, and to give an inside view into the re-launch of some of the most innovative cricket bats ever to grace cricket pitches. Let’s enjoy the ride!