Hockey: Building Brabo Up

Sean Cayless, managing director at Brabo Hockey’s UK distributor Sci-Sport, talks about the work that has been done to build up the brand in the world of hockey over the last five years.

Originally founded by Jan van de Brandt in the 1970s, Brabo Hockey soon became one of the largest names in the sport in Holland. He sold the business in 1994, and since then it has changed hands several times, but never really achieved the success and status of the early years.

All that changed in 2006 when Kubus Sports from Naarden in Holland bought the business. Kubus has worked to take the brand into top three status, selling well over 20,000 sticks per year in the Benelux countries alone. Last year Brabo also sold over 20,000 units of hockey luggage, with rapidly increasing demand through forward orders this year.

In addition, Brabo is experiencing rapid growth throughout the wider hockey playing world, especially in the UK where it is distributed by Sci-Sport. Sci-Sport first distributed Brabo in 1989 and renewed the relationship two years ago. It is the Kubus approach to the hockey business which explains its success.

Originally a specialist distributor of windsurfing products, including the Mistral brand, Kubus decided to broaden its range and focus on a winter range to balance the seasonality of its sales.

Brabo has benefited from this strategy, and the brand’s growth is a reflection of the new team’s enthusiasm for hockey. The hockey team is led by Joep Paumen, whose sister Maartje has been voted world’s best player on several occasions. Paumen has the job of constantly improving the range both technically and in design terms, but is not in a rush, saying: “We would prefer to develop our range at a pace which ensures the very best product is available to our customers.

“Our players will stay with us if we ensure that we design products which assist their technique, skill level and power on the ball.”

For more, see the August issue of SGB Sports