When the wind is blowing and you’re rushing to make it onto the water concealing your modesty whilst changing might not be at the forefront of your mind, but Boards would like to remind you that it really should be!
But what’s the easiest and safest way to do the car park change?
Changing robes have made the normal towel a thing of the past and revolutionised how we can slip into our neoprene suits. Boards catches up with Julian from Booicore, a windsurfer who has set up his own company making changing robes focussing purely on making the best possible product.
Have a read and let us know what you think…
Company, name and role:
Booicore, Julian. I haven’t got a job title as such. General dogs body would be the closest match, “Julian do this, Julian do that” is what I hear most of the time.
Your windsurfing/watersports history? How did you get involved in the sport?
I started windsurfing about 8 or 9 years ago after getting well past 30, realising I was a bit of a drunken lard arse and then spending a year trying to get fit in the gym. I didn’t really get fit from that but figured I needed a sport.
Everyone seemed to be going off windsurfing but I figured it was the thing to do as our weather is crap and well, it’s a sport where we spend most of our time chasing crap weather.
I lived near Hollingworth Lake at the time and they did lessons on a Thursday night. So my flat mate and I headed over and spent the summer falling into a very cold lake. ….the summer after too! The tuition is pretty good over there and a lot of the guys who worked there then are still actively involved in teaching windsurfing.
I made quite a few friends there. It’s definitely a sport for making friends. Along with the open water swimming crowd,
windsurfers are probably the friendliest bunch of people getting out of breath outdoors, apart from doggers.
Which brings us too…
Where did the idea for Booicore come from and how was it then developed?
As I was repeatedly ruining my wife’s nice towels (there are nice ones apparently) and changing into a wetsuit or riding clothes outdoors which looked distinctively dodgy; I was forced to fork out for a changing towel/poncho. I won’t say which brand it was but that was the worst thirty quid I’d ever spent on anything with Mystic written on it. It fell to bits after one wash. So I tried another with Rob or something written on it. Another £35 this time for a big terry cloth. My wife, Anita (Booicore’s head honcho) was in garment manufacturing and uttered those cursed words “we could make these properly and sell them.”
Together with a couple of windsurfing friends we basically dissected what we needed from a changing robe. One of the others didn’t actually fit over my head! All the openings and sizing of it had to be exactly right for purpose and not just to adhere to cloth size available. We really did go back to the drawing board with it and design it from the ground up.
Then with a serious investment of money we didn’t really have, we got a truck load of them made, in Europe, with the best quality material we could find, whilst everyone else was making these changing robes in China, as cheaply and as quickly as possible (because that’s how you make money). So with our no-mistakes manufacturing, our costs weren’t exactly going to get us any interest on Dragons Den.
But we made them and I got windsurf stores Juice and Funsport to sell them along with North West Mountain Bike Centre, all being stores where I already shopped so I sort of know those guys. All were and still are a big help. They all know we’ve lost a boat load of money doing this but continue to champion our product as it’s the only one that was made for purpose, not profit.
The Booicore as we call the product as well as the company is now heavily used in quite a few sports. Trail runners love them as do surfers, paddlers (kayaks and what not). As I get involved in more sports the Booicore gets more market slots.
After a bit of a spanking over at Fraisthorpe from being out with mates who are infinitely better than me at windsurfing and a helicopter having a good look at me I decided I needed to be a better swimmer. Cue learning properly, moving into triathlon and Booicore getting yet another new market. On the back of that, a lot of open water swimmers are knocking on our door and I’m off swimming with them at least once a week.
Who is involved with the company? We understand you’re a small company very close to windsurfing, how do you run a business and maximise your time on the water?
Of course trying to hold down full time jobs as well as running Booicore with Anita is a major task. Add to that Mountain biking, Trail running, Triathlon and trying to get out on the water as much as possible. There are only 24 hours in a day when what I really need is about 36. However, the mantra with all sports is “yeah I’m up for that but if it’s windy then all bets are off, I’m going windsurfing.”
Who are your products focused towards and why does someone need a Booicore?
We tried various angles to market the Booicore and realised over time that no matter how much you try; the only thing that really sells to extreme sports people is quality. The people that are buying them are buying ours for a reason, they know it doesn’t break, it’s built to last and we made it because I needed one myself. Advertising is very minimal as we can’t afford it. 90% or our sales are from word of mouth, one recommendation at a time. We still make them in Europe and we actually managed to increase our costs when we found even heavier towelling to make them out of!
If you’re getting changed outdoors, you need a Booicore.
Where can someone purchase from?
The aforementioned stores and www.booicore.com
Do you use a changing robe? If so which one do you think is the best?
If not, are you tempted to now?
Let us know in the comments below!