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Sailing Chandlery 2018 728x90

More than just Dinghy Rope

by Mark Jardine 26 Sep 2017 13:00 BST 26 September 2017
Dinghy Rope stand at the RYA Dinghy Show © RYA Dinghy Show

We spoke to Andrew Dowley at Dinghy Rope to find out more about this growing company and his 2017 season so far:

"We've continued to expand our rope sales - that's the key area and the products people know us for obviously - but we're also trying to promote that we're more than a rope company; we're actually an online chandlery. We're trying to change that in people's minds as a lot of people come to us and say, 'Oh, you sell Zhik kit and Harken bits too, we thought you only did rope!'. We're continuing to expand our range across a number of areas but Harken has been massive for us this year so we've expanded the range there and have added 25 new products in the last month alone. Harken are also the distributor for SOAK now as well so we have some of their dog bones and halyard clips in stock as well."

Dinghy Rope have expertise in rope and block systems, so can sell entire packages to customers:

"We've put together some packages, highlighting the rope and blocks that we recommend, and also have made up Laser XD packs with Allen Brothers kits and they are working well. We work with the top rope manufacturers including Kingfisher, Gottifredi Maffioli, and also stock a selection from Marlow including Excel Control, Excel Racing, D12 and D12 max 99 which is really popular with the foiling Moth sailors for their shrouds."

Marlow wrote a very interesting article recently about the strength that is lost through knots, and how splices retain far more of the rope's strength. Dinghy Rope can splice ropes for orders, but this can affect order times during busy periods: "Yes we can provide the splicing work no problem along with hard eye thimbles and other accessories such as halyard shackles. At the moment these can be ordered over the phone direct with us.

There has been a revolution in the last five years with soft shackles and thimble blocks, and Dinghy Rope have seen growth in this area recently: "We're certainly selling a lot more soft shackles than we used to and we have the Loop soft shackles in stock at the moment. There are obvious benefits such as being lighter, and most people go for them as they don't damage the deck and are really easy to undo."

On the clothing front, Zhik are the main partner at Dinghy Rope and Andrew has seen a high take-up in this revolutionary technical range: "One stand out product for us us the Zhik Superwarm and it is a complete game changer. We absolutely love it and having used it personally I'd never go back to a drysuit now."

Managing a growing business is always a challenge, but Andrew seems to have the process in hand: "We've hired new staff this year who came on board in May. We're getting orders out faster than ever and as you can see from our reviews, our customers are happy with how quickly they get the sailing kit on their doorstep."

Dinghy Rope use TrustPilot so that customer reviews are independent, which Andrew thinks is vital for a newer business in an established market: "Reputation is so important. As soon as we mark an order as complete in the shopping cart, four days later a customer gets an invitation to leave a review. TrustPilot independently manage that for us. We had a customer leave a one-star review by accident the other day, I emailed our account manager at TrustPilot to explain that we thought there was a mistake, but they can't change anything about it. It's just open, honest reviews. Luckily for us the reviewer (customer) managed to change it themselves in the end when they realised they'd made an error!"

Dinghy Rope have had an active season sponsoring events such as the Solo Midland Series and the D-Zero Inlands which Andrew finds important for building brand awareness: "We set a strategy to do more sponsorship this year and it's great to have our name out there. It's really important also to feed back into the events and the sailors. In 2018 we're also doubling the size of our stand for the RYA Dinghy Show, allowing us to display our expanded range of products."

We continue to watch Dinghy Rope's growth with interest!

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