How Welsh Kit Supplier Primal Europe turned passion for Cycling into a Business

How Welsh Kit Supplier Primal Europe turned passion for Cycling into a Business

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Welsh Cycling met with James Smith from Primal Europe to talk about how his passion for cycling has turned into a successful business supplying kit to major Teams and Clubs across the UK, including Wales Racing Academy in Wales.

James Smith has been a great ambassador to Welsh Cycling during one of the most busy and exciting years of cycling activities we’ve seen in Wales.

Introduced during a Bynea Awards Event, James came on board with Welsh Cycling after reaching an agreement of support in 2018.  Since then, the relationship has gone from strength to strength with PRIMAL providing ‘Winning Jerseys’ for all Welsh Championship events throughout the year. Primal also supply the complete kit for the Wales Racing Academy U23 team that launched in May this year.

Primal Europe jumped at the opportunity to sponsor CLUB OF THE YEAR at the 2018 Welsh Cycling Awards, James already had an affinity with several Welsh Clubs including Bynea CC and Rowe & King providing them with their Team Club Kit requirements and demands for both winter and summer kit.

We talked to James, Director of Primal Europe, to find out a little more about him,  and why Cycling?

What inspired Primal Europe to want to become involved in Welsh Cycling?

I’m Welsh myself and so is my wife Judith, who is also a partner in the company.  In fact we got married in Crickhowell.  So to support Welsh Cycling at its roots was too good an opportunity to miss.

Do you cycle yourself?  If so what do you do?

I have raced at Elite UK level winning lots of local races and even a stage race once, Judith however, is purely a leisure cyclist and someone who likes to avoid the traffic.  We now both ride purely for a bit of fun and commuting, we often ride into the office together along the Plymbridge trail.  This is a great chance to clear our heads before the day and to get in a little bit of exercise at the same time.  The fact that we are still riders means we are as critical of the kit as we have ever been, that’s good for us and our customers.

What’s it like working with your wife (She’ll read this so be nice!), do you have kids and do they get involved in cycling?

Judith and I used to manage and run cycling teams for a bit of fun, eventually it all became really serious and that’s how we met PRIMAL.  At the London Cycle Show back in 2012 we asked for sponsorship and it was PRIMAL that stepped up.  Later that year, PRIMAL asked Judith and I to set up the operation for PRIMAL here in the UK from Italy.  We have two children both girls, Angharad the oldest is at University now whilst Meredyth is just starting her GCSE’s.  People often ask what it is like working with your wife, but to be fair we work in totally different areas so we really do not come across each other in our day to day work.

How many different Club Kits across the country do you supply?

Far too many to list here, we supply team, club, event and corporate kits across Europe.  We pride ourselves on a friendly but professional service.  We offer guaranteed delivery dates, low minimum orders and of course we are always on the phone from our head office here in Plymouth.  We’ve recently launched our new Echo Aire Speedsuit here in the UK after a successful period of testing in the Tour Of Colorado, we need to keep testing so if there are clubs that want to give it a go on their local TT please drop us a line.  We have also just launched our new club partner programme too, where we offer discounted pricing, free entries to sportives and even support for club events.

Are you allowed to tell us your favourite design so far?

Hmm, personally it probably would be the Bynea CC kit we did back in 2012, there is a lot of personal love for that club.  They have grown to be one of the most inviting and exciting clubs here in Wales.

What is the most demanding aspect of delivering club kits?

Committees….. My one bit of advice for anyone trying to get kit is to keep the decision making team small.  The more involved the more complicated it becomes for the club. 

So what does your average day look like?

Much like anyone else really, I get up, get my youngest ready for school and then ride up to the office.  I am lucky as I sometimes get to ride to work with Judith my wife. We then have a daily planning meeting followed by an update on all our custom customers, guaranteed delivery dates are incredibly important to us so if anything is getting close to the wire, we then expedite the shipping. We also look at our upcoming diaries for events too, we are involved with most of the big sportives in the UK (Velo Birmingham, Velothon Wales and the Velo 29 series.) They all take a lot of planning.

Wow, busy!  So when you have spare time what do you do to relax?

I like to keep fit either by cycling (Zwift) sometimes or going to the gym. I am currently studying for a Masters in Strategic Business Management and am a huge fan of professional cycling here in the UK and abroad.  I guess that’s because I was so involved over the years.  Judith is also studying for her AAT Level 3 course and likes to ride her bike most days.  Currently we are looking at a new E road bike for her.  You can follow our day to day lives at PRIMAL and on our bikes at Rutrainingtoday and CyclingJudith on Twitter or Intsagram.

What has been your favourite cycling event this year? 

I really enjoyed watching the Yorkshire Beast by Velo29. Yikes! 200 miles over Yorkshire looked epic!  I also enjoyed the Velothon Wales but the heat made the day so hard!

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