BikeBiz catches up with Darren Mabbott, founder, Silverfish UK, winner of the P&A Distributor of the Year at last year’s BikeBiz Awards, to talk 2021’s successes and challenges, and what we can expect from the year ahead
This piece first appeared in the February edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
How was 2021 for Silverfish UK, what challenges and successes did you see?
It’s been another rollercoaster year. Fortunately, riding bikes remains a positive force amongst all the madness. If trading during a pandemic wasn’t enough, at the beginning of July Silverfish was affected by a massive global ransomware attack. Thank you to all our customers’ support and patience whilst we recovered and came back fighting.
Supply and shipping remain a real challenge but we and our customers are learning to adapt and navigate our way through this. One of the ways we have done this is by investing in powerful analytic software from Phocas, which is allowing us to access simple to use insights into sales data and trends, all of which we can now share with our customers to help them understand their own customer’s behaviour, and to buy better and smarter.
So, despite all the challenges, the business is in great shape with strong sales and an ever-improving roster of brands and products to keep retailers and their customers riding at the highest level.
The Silverfish team continues to grow in all the right places and we’ve strengthened our sales, marketing and warranty teams, upgrading with some of the best talent and most enthusiastic riders in the industry. Our social media followers have raced past 200,000, proving there is appetite for our great brands and content. On top of all this, we picked up a couple of BikeBiz awards!
Which brands have stood out in the Silverfish UK portfolio?
We have seen success and positive stories across the portfolio. In the past 18 months we’ve welcomed two new brands to the roster; Peaty’s at the end of 2020 and CushCore in January. Both have been incredibly successful, exceeding both our and the brands’ expectations, finding new customers and moving up to the next level.
Silverfish UK won P&A Distributor of the Year at the BikeBiz Awards 2021 – what did it mean to win?
To win a BikeBiz Award means a hell of a lot. We were lucky to have been voted Bike Distributor of the Year in 2018 and 2019 so to win the P&A Distributor of the Year accolade feels like welcome recognition for our team’s work on behalf of our many parts and accessory brands.
But perhaps the one we’re most proud of is Tayah Williams from the Fox Service Centre picking up the Woman of the Year prize. It just added to our delight and highlights what a lot of effort everyone at Silverfish puts in to make the business so successful.
What are your expectations for the year ahead, both for the business and the industry?
We are very optimistic about the future – whilst the crazy boom times of lockdown are hopefully behind us, the longer-term future for the bike industry has to be positive as more and more people get wise to the planet-friendly fun riding bikes offers.
With our recent investment from Connection Capital, along with its expertise, Silverfish is well placed to unlock further growth for our existing brand partners, to invest in leading customer support infrastructure to better serve our retail customers, and will be able to realise our ambitions around European expansion and attracting new, highly-desirable brands.