I am fortunate to be working in an industry and building businesses that I am passionate about and have a job that I love getting out of bed for.
"An entrepreneur sees an opportunity which others do not fully recognise, to meet an unsatisfied demand or to radically improve the performance of an existing business. They have unbreakable self-belief that this opportunity can be made real through hard work, commitment and the adaptability to learn the lessons of the market along the way."
"They are not diverted or discouraged by skepticism from 'experts' or from those from whom they seek backing and support, but willing to weigh all advice and select that which will be helpful. They are prepared not just to work seriously hard but to back their judgment with personal investment at a level which will cause problems if they are wrong about the opportunity. They understand that achievements are the result of team work and knows how to choose the necessary blend of talents and inspire them with their vision."
The two businesses 'RG Active Ltd' and 'QSW' are not my first businesses and like so many other entrepreneurial men and women, you have to fail lots of times before you actually succeed, because without these failures you never learn what does and doesn't work, and what you are and are not good at.
RG Active Ltd - 2006 to Present
I started RG Active whilst I was still working at triandrun. I worked mornings, evenings and weekends for a long time testing the water with different ideas as the sport of triathlon continued to evolve. I did this because I loved it, and I still love it. I make time for coaching and teaching whenever my schedule allows nowadays and always will. Taking people on a journey and seeing the progress a person can make with some guidance, tuition, positivity and support is one of the most rewarding experiences for any teacher or coach to be part of.
Over the years my best friend and partner Marsha el-Hage has become more involved with the RG Active business and now is an integral part of what makes the business so successful. I consider myself very fortunate to work alongside Marsha and the other coaches and staff to provide a service within a sector that we are all genuinely passionate about.
The Company started with a single Coached Open Water swim session and has grown to where it now sees to the needs of 10,000+ athletes per year across London & Greater London offering specialist coaching across swimming, cycling, running and more....
In more recent times RG Active's main focus has been on working with businesses and charities across all sectors. They offer the usual sports specific coaching services for events they might be doing. They have created a way of using swimming cycling, running, triathlon and sport in general to promote healthy living, wellness and an active lifestyle within businesses large and small with huge success, creating a 'journey' that can be life changing!
In 2018 RG Active launched it's first franchise. More franchise opportunities are presenting themselves all the time and new areas of business are constantly being explored, so the future looks exciting for this small business.
It is an exciting time for RG Active and we are always looking to grow and evolve the business, find new partners and build something that is new and exciting and that people WANT!
Check out the website: www.rgactive.com
QSW Sports - 2012 to Present
The business was started in 2012 by myself and partner Marsha. The business was started through our shared passion for sport and fashion. I have always been what he describes as a 'kit junkie' and with a life long love of art and design dating back to his school days the opportunity to start designing the kit that he could then wear was a match made in heaven. On top of my love for design was my past as an athlete. The opportunity to design great looking clothes but with a complete understanding of the functional requirements required for a garment to really perform to the the highest level gave the QSW products a massive advantage against other companies from the very start. Marsha loves clothes and fashion. So, when she started triathlon in 2007 it mattered to her what she was wearing, what she looked like and how the kit would perform for her in competition. Marsha's input into the design side of the business is invaluable especially with the female specific ranges. Both Marsha and I still compete at a good level with Marsha representing the Great British age-group team in both World and European Championships.
Which both of us bringing a skill set to the table the first range of clothing was launched in 2011 at the London Triathlon almost exactly one year before the iconic 2012 London Olympic Games where the QSW brand was seen by the World being worm by some of the World's best athletes in the Polish Cycling Team.
The business also added a custom kit arm to the retail arm in 2012 allowing clubs, teams, charities and businesses the chance to have their own designs and colours on the QSW kit. This proved an enormous success with QSW now providing custom kit to some of the World's biggest clubs, charities and corporates from across the globe.
Originally QSW sourced all of their products from International factories. In 2014 they moved a large proportion of their manufacturing back to the UK to meet the demands of the business growth and offer much faster production times and control for the custom side of the business. QSW currently operates out of 6 hand picked factories producing kit and clothing for the QSW and managing this is a perfect of example of the infrastructure and professionalism that QSW offer to their clients. At QSW they hand pick the staff for their experience as professional athletes, in sports retail, in product buying and art and design. All of these attributes have been combined to guarantee that our clients get the best in quality of service and product.
Areas that QSW currently make product for include: Cycling, Triathlon, Swimming, Duathlon, Running, MMA, Boxing, KickBoxing, Health & Fitness, Casual Wear.
Check out the website: www.qswsports.com
RGMM Ltd (formerly Challenge Sports) - 2014 to Present
In November 2014 I purchased an existing business called Challenge Sports. Challenge Sports is a small Mansfield based manufacturing business specialising in the design and production of swimwear and triathlon suits and at the time of purchase a small range of cycling related garments.
The factory and business in it's current form was about 20 years old and the owner was looking to retire after 50+ years in the manufacturing industry. The factory has a small highly skilled workforce and this team of designers and seamstresses produce garment that is sold out of the factories two websites as well as a ALL of the Quest Sports Wear products that carry the 'Made in Britain' logo.
Being a factory owner was something I had never imagined would happen and is probably my biggest gamble to date. With a new business venture and for the first time a full team of employed staff and a number of substantial overheads, I had to immerse myself in this business very quickly to learn and explore an industry that I knew very little about when I took on the challenge.
What do the 'Ms' stand for?
"The process of converting raw materials, components, or parts into finished goods that meet a customer's expectations or specifications. Manufacturing commonly employs a man-machine set-up with division of labour in a large scale production."
This side of the business was originally called Challenge Sports and before that swimwearonline. It was purchased by the RG Group in 2014 and with the merger came the new name RGMM Ltd. The business was owned by a family who had been in the manufacturing industry for over 50 years and survived two recessions before deciding to put the business up for sale in 2014. With a small, highly skilled workforce consisting of designers, seamstresses and admin staff, they produced garments including swimwear, triathlon clothing and a small range of cycling garments under their own name and sold the product through the factories' two websites, Nowadays as RGMM they produce product for other people as you would expect from a manufacturer. With clients all over the World and quality and the depth of product range continues to grow and evolve.
"The activity of promoting the sale of goods at retail. Merchandising activities may include display techniques, free samples, on-the-spot demonstration, pricing, shelf talkers, special offers, and other point-of-sale methods."
This is the latest addition to the business and was what can be called a 'no brainer' alongside the manufacturing. Through this arm of the business RGMM can provide anyone with an enormous range of branded merchandise. This perfectly compliments the manufacturing where companies can come to RGMM and order specialist sports clothing in their own colours and also arrange everything else they might need from casual wear and water bottles to memory sticks and coffee mugs.
Advertising which is at the fingers of your target market, from pens, coasters, key rings for use at corporate events and exhibitions or as customer incentives.
Check out the website: www,rgmmuk.com
triandswim.co.uk - 2015 to Present
I decided to venture back into retail with own online store in 2015. This came about when a number of things all came together at once and combined it makes for quite a nice story.
Chapter One: In 2000 there was a new triathlon store open called triandrun and our owners were heavily involved with the huge success this retailer had. At it's height triandrun had two stores in Chigwell and Wimbledon along with an online store and a retail events team that travelled the country as official retailer to many of the UK's largest mass participation events.
Chapter Two: In 2014 our owners purchased UK based online retailers swimwearonline.co.uk and triathlonsuits.co.uk. These two companies were both struggling to compete with the modern day online retailers that dominate the internet nowadays, so a decision to merge the two sites and look for angles that would set the website apart from it's competition.
Chapter Three: So here we are now, combining triandrun, swimwearonline and triathlonsuits we present to you triandswim.co.uk.
The points of difference we have decided on are:
1) We intend to make it our mission; where possible; to support British brands and British products. These products will take pride of place amongst all of the brands we sell through the website with their own category #MadeInBritain.
2) We are also very excited to offer clubs, teams and companies the exclusive opportunity to retail their own club kit through our store and to have their own store within the infrastructure of the triandswim.co.uk website.*
3) We are also collaborating with sports wear brand QSW (Quest Sports Wear) to offer clubs, teams, charities, businesses the chance to order their custom clothing through us and take advantage of their UK manufacturing facility in Nottinghamshire.**
The triandswim online store offers experienced and knowledgeable staff that are always on the end of the phone or email to answer any questions; no matter how silly; to guarantee that you get exactly what you want. The staff include triathletes, cyclists and runners of all abilities, and they are on hand to help or just to offer friendly advice for athletes and active people of all abilities.
triandswim stocks products from some of the World's leading sports brands including: QSW, Aquasphere, blueseventy, RG Active, Gaerne, Altra and more...
*Subject to terms and conditions
**QSW manufacture in the UK and aboard. For more details please contact us.
Property Investments - 2004 to Present
In more recent years I have started work on building a property portfolio.
MY first property was in East London which was purchased on my retirement from professional sports. The rest; as they say; is history. Compiling a property portfolio is something I am really keen to keep developing in the coming years and I am looking at properties abroad as well as in the UK. The areas he is focusing my interest currently are Essex, East London and very recently in Nottinghamshire, all places where I have either family of business.
In the past I have concentrated on rental properties and have purchased and re-developed them specifically for the rental market. But, I have also turned my hands to redeveloping with the sole intention of re-selling. Like with many of my ventures I am learning as I go with help from my family and an expert team around him which is always important as there are just not enough hours in the day!
Other career highlights:
Really Great Group Ltd (formerly RGA Sports Ltd) - 2008 to 2016
I started RGA Sports Ltd after retiring from professional sport. I found himself with hundreds of ideas about what direction his life should take, and all of them kept bringing him back to the World of Sport.
My vision for the business was to offer people new, innovative sporting products and services outside of the mainstream marketplace. He built a team around him that could add their vast knowledge of products, specialist sports coaching, competition history, sports science, sports retail, graphic design and marketing to the business, making it a place of quality and expertise.
I still consult for some of the biggest names in the sporting and business World (including Premiership and Championship Football Teams, MotorSport as well as firms from the property, technology, banking, law and media sectors) and continue my work with the affiliated companies of RGA Sports Ltd.
I might re-visit the 'Really Great Group' again one day as a holding company as the portfolio grows, but for now it is just sitting in the background ready for it's second coming...
Honda Racing F1 & Jenson Button - 2007 to 2010
Initially working under contract with Honda F1 Team I worked exclusively with F1 driver Jenson Button helping him train and prepare physically for competition and using the three sports of triathlon as an integral part of his training routine alongside the usual strength and conditioning work. Whether it was a single day or a week long training camp in Lanzarote, I always planned and delivered Jenson's sessions with injury prevention as bigger priority as his fitness gains to insure he was as race fit as possible every time he climbed inside the car.
In 2009 when Honda F1 Racing became Brawn GP I stayed with Jenson in between F1 races training and coaching Jenson in the UK and Monaco. The 2009 season was a very special year in which Jenson became Formula 1 World Champion and it was an privilege to be part of his team that incredible year. I worked closely with Mike Collier (Jenson's physio) during his time with Jenson to make sure that they complemented each other and helped Jenson be in the best shape physically and mentally for every F1 he competed in.
Jenson was, and is an incredible athlete and he has continued his passion for training; and triathlon; during his time at McLaren and since his retirement from Formula 1 on 2016 Jenson has pushed on with his triathlon career becoming a real contender amongst age-group racing in the 70.3 Ironman distances. Jenson and I do keep in touch and Jenson very occasionally attends an RG Active session when he's in the UK.
triandrun Ltd - 2000 to 2006
During it's time trading triandrun was the biggest triathlon retailer in the UK with two stores, and online store and a retail events team travelling the UK and into Europe. I worked my way up through the company until at the age of 26 I found myself running the whole business. This period of time was invaluable to him and he learnt so much about running a business; the highs and the lows; during this time.
Unfortunately triandrun ceased trading in 2010. Since this time I have made attempts to buy the triandrun name and trademark. It is a name and brand thatI feel a close connection with and would love to see back in the triathlon world again one day... watch this space!
You might notice some subtle similarities with his triandswim online store?