Written on the 20 November 2009
WHEN Danny Bycroft saw an opportunity to capitalise on the sport he loves, the law degree was barrel rolled.
The 24-year-old managing director of Inverted Bodyboarding has taken his passion for the underdog sport of the surfing world to establish a niche in the surf retail industry.
Within weeks a fourth franchise in Brisbane will open its doors, joining Byron Bay, Mooloolaba and the original Inverted Bodyboarding at Burleigh Heads in the fast growing retail chain.
“Although the city (Brisbane) doesn’t have any beaches there is a big consumer base for the surf retail market in Brisbane. Many young guys especially do their shopping in the city and head to the coast on the weekend,” says Bycroft.
The Burleigh Heads store was established in 2004 when the then 20-year-old, recognised the growing sport of bodyboarding was continuously living in the shadows of its big brother in the surfing retail industry.
Inverted Bodyboarding was the first retail store in Queensland to specialise in the sport and only the second in Australia.
“There are plenty of big surf shops that do all the bodyboarding gear, but they tend not to do it properly,” says Bycroft.
“Most of the time it’s all just stuffed in the back corner. We started the business to give specialised advice and stay away from the big surf brands.
“We offer products developed for the niche market such as the growing number of bodyboarding clothing brands and the development of our own brand of swim fins.”
Bycroft believes franchising is the best way to grow the business and ensures new stores are successfully established through a support program.
“Our start-up packages include one week of surf retail training to help the new owners set up a bodyboarding culture around the store,” he says.
“Especially in a small market it’s more beneficial to have an owner-manager in the store than a regular employee as they tend to care much more about the direction of the business and go the extra yard.
Online sales are also expected to play a major part in the growth of the business after already contributing 20 per cent of last year’s revenue figure.
“It’s still very important to have bricks and mortar stores so we don’t look like a ‘garage business’ however I can see our online store becoming much bigger, maybe even a different arm of the company,” says Bycroft.
“Everything seems to be moving towards the internet and we plan on making some investments in the area within the next 12 months.”
Although still in the early stages of his career, he regularly visits his old high school, All Saints Anglican School, to pass on some of his business knowledge.
One thing he explains is that university often has too much emphasis as the only way to achieve success.
“You’ve got to do something that you enjoy and don’t feel pressured to enrol in a course because it’s the done thing,” says Bycroft.
“There are lessons that you can learn through trying and failing that no amount of education could ever buy.”