Escape Watersports is a retailer of water-related sports equipment ranging from watercraft – including canoes, kayaks, inflatable rafts, surfboards and stand-up paddle boards – to wetsuits and other clothing, plus a wide range of accessories. Founded in 2011 by husband-and-wife team Matt and Claire Feirn, Escape Watersports has a team of 12 staff and is based in Pyle, near Bridgend in South Wales. The company sells only products from high-quality brands with most transactions being online, although items are also available in its on-site showroom. Having previously travelled the world as a watersports instructor, Matt Feirn is passionate about the industry and has a strong focus on stock availability and customer satisfaction. Combined with Claire’s IT skills, this customer-centric approach has seen the company’s turnover grow from a few hundred thousand to several million.
Escape Watersports enjoyed steady growth until 2020, expanding from two industrial units to five. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the company’s owners were initially concerned at what the impact might be but an upturn in business soon reassured them. With remote working enabling people to adjust their work-life balance, sales began to soar. This proved a challenge for Escape Watersports over the summer of 2020, as the company struggled to keep up with demand. In November, winter weather provided a breathing space in which the company could plan its longer-term response. In its distribution operations, there was a clear need for a safer and more efficient solution for transporting goods between ground level and the mezzanine floor.
“Nerak understood that, as an SME, we needed guidance with our investment. They took the time to understand our business and came up with a cost-effective and future-proof solution.”
Matt Feirn, Managing Director of Escape Watersports
The Nerak Wiese team analysed the company’s operations and specified its KH253 reversible lift. Based on Nerak’s unique rubber chain technology, the KH series lift is the ideal solution for vertical elevation of totes or cartons weighing up to 50kg in low-throughput applications. The new lift at Escape Watersports, which was installed within a week, is used to transport inbound goods to the mezzanine level for storage and picking, as well as transporting picked goods back down to the ground floor for packing and dispatch.
Escape Watersports is enjoying the benefits of a fast and efficient solution to the vertical transport of its goods, while the health and safety issues related to the previous manual processes have been eliminated. “As a small but fast-growing e-commerce business without dedicated logistics expertise in-house,” says Matt Feirn, Managing Director, “we needed some reassurance. Nerak understood that, as an SME, we needed guidance with our investment. They took the time to understand our business and came up with a cost-effective and future-proof solution.” A further benefit results from the fact that the lift features rubber chain technology. This means it does not require frequent lubrication or recalibration, resulting in minimized downtime and costs for maintenance.