Here we catch up with Simon Middleton, the man behind leading wholesaler Zebra Products, to talk about a day in the life of his busy schedule.
How do you start your day?
I am very fortunate to be able to ride two horses before work and have a great team at home including my wife Lindsay who make riding and training them efficient and easy.
The horses are tacked up and ready to go for me when I get on the yard and are then washed off and looked after when I have finished with them.
What does a typical day look like in the office?
My work day can vary all the time which is great as there is lots of variety and the team certainly keep me on my toes.
I have regular meetings with everyone in each department from marketing to sales, buying and distribution to cover off any issues that have arisen and provide guidance where required.
Of course there are always emails to attend to and then liaising with suppliers and the many businesses and brands that we distribute is key so there is always lots going on.
Are you out on the road much?
We have a great sales team at Zebra Products in Liz Crew who covers the south and Liz Holland, responsible for the north, so I support them where necessary.
I am very involved with the saddlery brands, Amerigo and Equipe with saddle fitting and also visiting our fantastic team of sponsored riders to keep them up to date on the latest products and developments for all the brands they are supported by.
Has recent times changed how you operate?
I used to spend a day a month at least, flying out to Europe to have meetings with the brand owners we distribute but this is very much done online now with virtual meetings.
That’s not to say it will way forever but it has certainly cut down on the amount of time I spend travelling.
How did you come up with the name for the business?
It’s always difficult thinking of a name and we spent many nights brainstorming a name that we wanted to have an equestrian theme but that was also different.
Lindsay and I got married in Kenya and we have always been big fans of a safari holiday and one name we came up with Zebra Products and we were away.
What brands do you distribute?
We now distribute 17 brands with the main brands being German and Italian, then we have two Swiss brands and one Belgian in our portfolio.
Initially when we started it was quite difficult to get brands on board as we were small and just getting going but as one came on board others follow and currently we have Alogo, Amerigo, Bucas, Cavalleria Toscana, Cavallo, Cavalor, Covalliero, EGO7, Equipe, Fleck, Konigs, Mattes, Nathe, Sprenger, Tucci, uvex and Veredus in the herd.
What do you look for in the products you distribute?
We have always pitched ourselves at the premium end of the market and that is our focus so it is important the brands are good quality and that they have something unique about them.
For further information contact Zebra Products on (01352) 763350