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Zhik 2016 Dinghy Wetsuits

Zhik and Ocean Leisure at the London Boat Show

by Mark Jardine on 2 Jan 6-15 January 2017
Zhik and Ocean Leisure stand at the London Boat Show 2017 © Zhik

Zhik and Ocean Leisure have teamed up to display the 2017 range at the London Boat Show, taking place at ExCeL from 6-15 January 2017. We spoke to Zhik's Tristan Hutt and Ocean Leisure's Federico Da Sie about the joint stand.

Mark: Tristan, why have you decided to present the 2017 range at the London Boat Show?

Tristan: I think the London Boat Show is a great opportunity to launch new products because it's right at the start of the year. It's a key time for any retailer and any brands that have a new range to present. There are a lot of people there who are going to be thinking about the season ahead. It's also a big year for offshore sailing with the Rolex Fastnet Race. Ultimately it's very important for us to present not just our dinghy range but also our yachting range with an absolute fantastic retailer.

Mark: You've chosen to team up with Ocean Leisure for the event, why have you chosen them?

Tristan: Ocean Leisure has been very active in promoting and pushing the brand. They're keen to be involved in this project with us, and they have any excellent approach to retailing. So for us there was no real question in our mind, we knew they are the guys to do the job. Also they're based in London, so they're fantastically located for show support.

Mark: Federico, it's the London Boat Show but you've already got a London base so why do you see the appeal of exhibiting there?

Federico: We think with this is the perfect place where we can show to a large number of people a new range for 2017. Zhik is one brand that we have a lot of new product for next year, so we thought it was the perfect time of year to show to everyone the new range that will be available.

Mark: That brings me onto the new range. Tristan, what will you be showing at the London Boat Show?

Tristan: Wow, how long have you got? There's a lot of stuff!

I think some of the key highlights are the Kiama X jacket, which is our offshore specification jacket but built from a lighter weight material, so it's more for cruising sailors that like to go out for a few days at a time on the water. They're not going to be taking huge waves constantly, doing 25 knots on some swing-keeled monster yacht - it's kit for real world sailors if you like. So the Kiama X is something that's really exciting for us.

We are also launching our Kollision impact gear, which I think is a fantastic range that's coming out in 2017. You can barely tell that you're actually wearing impact gear but it provides superb protection from bruising. For any sailor it's a pretty good idea in reality.

So they are two key products that I think that are pretty exciting for 2017.

Mark: So you are concentrating on inshore coastal cruising and also the new generation of dinghy sailors who are sailing classes where the speeds are much faster?

Tristan: Yes, we've always had that in mind. Zhik has obviously been at the cutting edge of dinghy sailing for a long time and now we are spreading our wings further into the yachting world. We've had a range in yachting for several years, but now we're really expanding and growing into that market. The consumers are responding really well to that and it's proven to be very popular gear. We've seen great results at Ocean Leisure and worldwide so it's really exciting for us to grow that side of the business and London's a great place to do it.

Mark: Federico, is it going to be exclusively Zhik on the stand during the show?

Federico: Yes it will. We are doing this collaboration only with Zhik. We've not been present at the London Boat Show because we don't want to go to a show to sell old stock to people. We want to be there with a premier brand and to try something new.

Mark: So instead of concentrating on the discounts and the bargain basement that you quite often see at the show, you're using this to really promote a premier brand such as Zhik and show off just what is available for 2017?

Federico: Correct, I think that is what a show should be and what it used to be in the past as well. Especially in that moment of the year, just at the beginning of the season. I think the public want to see something new, they don't want to see what you can find on the internet all year around.

Mark: So bringing it back to its roots in a way?

Federico: Yes, this is our view of what a show should be. If I have to think as a customer, I would like to go somewhere and see something new; new boats, new gear, new technology and speak with someone that can actually advise me on that. If I have an opportunity to have a discount because it's during the show, that is a bonus. But at least even if I don't buy something I saw something new.

Mark: I'm very much looking forward to seeing the 2017 range, see you at the London Boat Show. Thanks for your time.

Tristan & Federico: Thank you, see you there.

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