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16 October 2014

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Shops - Lomo
One of the most important elements of a scene is the hardcore shop. Shops are great - they supply us with products, provide advice and even fix our gear when we break it. Support your local shop, as the scene would be a whole lot crapper without them.


: Hi, my name's Mar Lowery.
Bruce: And I'm Bruce.

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How long have you been running the shop?
We opened the shop about a year and a half ago, but the company's been going for about four years now. We started out just working out of our bedrooms, you know [laughs], shipping out products in a very limited way. We had wetsuits initially as our first product, and then we just kept re-investing the money that we made from the wetsuits to make other products and we now have over 100 products under our own brand. We're going from strength to strength [laughs].

Did you move out of the bedrooms in the end because the venture was just getting so big?
Oh yeah. At one point we were delivering stuff every night and we couldn't get in our houses.

What did you both do before you started the company then?
We both worked in the computer industry. I was more to do with web design and stuff like that, so when we started the business, we started off really to sell through the internet. So I've managed to merge my old job with my hobbies and make a career out of it. Bruce was pretty similar.
Bruce: I was mostly on the road all the time, so I could kind of do my jobs as and when it suited, and also fit this in alongside it. So it worked out perfectly.

Do you ever find it hard having your job being your hobby?
I think we initially wondered whether it would still feel like our hobby, since we'd be doing it for a living, but it does most of the time. Nine days out of ten it'll still feel like a hobby [laughs].
Bruce: It was meant to give us more time for our hobby but I think it's given us less time for our hobby [laughs].

What was the first product that you made and what was the hole in the market that you wanted to plug with it?
Well we'd just bought a boat and some new wetsuits to do waterskiing, at the time. And the wetsuits we had bought - we were standing at lunchtime in the boat thinking:
'We've just paid £150 for these wetsuits and there's nothing in them'
so we decided to make our own wetsuits that would be the same kind of good quality but at a much lower price because there was just so much profit margin in the existing range of some of the bigger brands. So we wanted to make a quality product at a much more affordable price.
Bruce: So at first we made a wetsuit, a pair of gloves and a pair of boots. We launched with three products.

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Was it an immediate success?
Initially, trying to establish ourselves as a new name was difficult, but once we made a few sales, then word-of-mouth took over and we got a lot of recommended business and now we've got a pretty good reputation. There's a reasonably good level of awareness in the market.
Bruce: We've got a big repeat business and an awful lot of recommendations that are coming to us. So that says a lot about the product - that people are saying "Yeah, I bought your product and I'm willing to say to my friends 'buy this''.


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