Ruroc Ltd, continues to receive national recognition for innovation after winning the UK International Expansion category at the Barclays’ annual High-Growth & Entrepreneur Awards, which celebrate entrepreneurs’ success, leadership and positive impact on society.
Ruroc design and manufacture winter sports helmets and goggles. They have their own Patented designs and continue to develop and improve the product range. Number one priority is safety being the nature of the extreme winter sports and all products are tested and certified to a level higher than the competition. They have in house design teams and all product is manufactured in China. Everything is imported from China with sales orders or managed and distributed from their head office in Gloucester.
The Rees family completed an MBO of the business in March 2015. Dan Rees was already working for the business at that time. From then on they have achieved fantastic growth with sales revenue from £1.4M to £2.1M to £3.4M and forecasting doubling growth to £7M in the next financial year.
The business has over 1,000,000 followers on social media (mainly Facebook). The business is e-commerce focussed with a direct to consumer model which has bucked the trend in the winter sports model that mostly rely on independent stores and large distribution chains. By going direct to customer and cutting out the middle man they have been able to vastly improve product quality and innovation of the products.
From their network on social media they have a direct link to their customers and taking on board any feedback. Social media has been the key for them entering the US market and as of today they have circa 400,000 US based fans and the transatlantic sales amount to 50% of annual sales. From the Social Media Fan Base they were able to gain a clear understanding of what their followers interests were and used this to determine the next direction the business needed to take. They established that most followers were into motor sports and this is where the idea came from to develop a new motor cycle range of helmets.
Richard Heggie, Head of High Growth & Entrepreneurs Proposition at Barclays said: “The Barclays High-Growth & Entrepreneur Awards, now in its third year, has proved to be a valuable and influential business competition for entrepreneurs and high growth businesses across the country. Entrepreneurs are fundamental to the UK’s economic competitive advantage, disproportionately driving job growth, attracting investment, and creating the innovative products and services that shape our todays as well as tomorrows. ”
The Ruroc current product range is made up of integrated Snow Boarding/Winter Sport helmets and Visors and within their range they have a number of patents. Due to the product being for winter sports the majority of the market is Non UK with only 10% of sales being domestic; transatlantic sales are currently at 57%.
They sponsored Max Parrot (Canadian Snow Boarder – Olympic Silver Medalist, 9 times X Games medallist and 3 times world champion) on a 5 year agreement under which he will design and wear a Ruroc helmet in the Winter 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Sales in the Asian marked spiked significantly through the winter Olympics with 310% growth to China and 205% to South Korea. European markets have also increased rapidly with more than 100% growth in France, Poland, Austria and Germany. It is believed that one of the key reasons for this is they are employing staff from these countries who work on the social media marketing and dialogue with fan base in the respective languages.