Welcome to “The Great Outdoors”. I’m so looking forward to this month as I’ll be bringing you an interesting and at times surprising range of businesses…so watch this space…
This week we have a subject who couldn’t embody the theme more. I’m not exactly sure how Ashmei appeared on my radar (sometimes its like that with social media) but very pleased they did. What a surprise to find a globally commended sports clothing brand in Aldbury of all places! I was keen to catch up with Stuart Brooke of Ashmei and find out a bit more about how he did it.
Here is his Essential 5:
What do you do at Ashmei?
Ashmei is a premium sportswear brand developed with the same philosophy as other premium brands like Dyson or Apple; quality and performance are never compromised but competitive price points are ignored.
What inspired you to start the business?
Running. I got into running around 7 years ago and being a gear guy bought the best running gear on the market. Very soon I concluded all the gear was substandard. The quality and fibres the brands use are based on keeping costs low rather than focusing on what a runner needs. I wanted more and thought others might too.
I’ve been in business for 20 years, designing sportswear for 25 and thought it was time to utilise this wealth of experience and create something I truly believed in.
What’s been your proudest moment with Ashmei?
Every time I see an athlete running or riding in Ashmei. We’ve won several major awards against big established global brands, which is of course fantastic but it’s definitely secondary to seeing someone wearing our products and knowing they believe in the brand.
What do you love about running a business in Tring?
I live locally and hate commuting. We also need to test prototypes so being based here means we can hit the Chilterns and test product within minutes of UPS or DHL delivering samples to the office.
The office is actually in Aldbury, so we’re surrounded by magnificent views. We feel incredibly grateful to be running a global business from such an idyllic village with a running and riding playground all around us.
What does the future hold for Ashmei?
We’re growing very fast. We now have distribution across most of Europe, USA, Canada, and pockets of the Far East. We have just launched a new collection so our customers can dress head to toe in Ashmei for running and cycling.
Next month we launch a collaboration with a luxury premium bespoke bike brand and we have several other collaborations on the table that we plan to launch later this year.
We also want to expand our shop in Aldbury so that it becomes a hub for cyclists and runners to meet before or after they’ve hit the hills.
Thanks so much Stuart. Its been great hearing your story and so refreshing to hear about products developed for quality not price requirements. Look forward to catching up in the shop soon!