Founders Note - May
As the UK enters its seventh week of lockdown, we wanted to provide an update to our Castore community. The world has become a much more uncertain place since we last gave our thoughts and it's important to us that our customers and athletes around the world can see the steps Castore is taken in response to the Coronavirus.
Our first focus has been protecting the health of all colleagues. We have now implemented social distancing guidelines at our warehouses and provided all staff in front line roles with face masks and gloves. It has been an absolute pleasure to see people’s response to the adversity and without wanting to sound cliched, it really is challenging times like these where you find out the most about people.
Relationships built in periods of difficulty are the strongest and longest lasting.
In line with this attitude, we have made the decision to not furlough any of the full-time team. Though there will clearly be a financial impact to this decision, we have taken the view that in the long term, the commitment to Castore and motivation engendered by the whole team being in this together, in action not just words far, far outweighs any short term costs. In the wider world, talk seems to be particularly cheap at the moment, with a lot of platitudes being thrown about by many brands.
We want to look back at this time and be proud of how we acted as a business.
More than one eyebrow was raised between us as we have seen many companies far larger and more established than Castore take advantage of the tax payer funded scheme – each will no doubt have their own reasons but that is a debate for another day. There seem to be many people who are exceptionally good at talking a good game and not quite as good as making the sacrifices to back it up.
Though we are living in a rapidly changing world, what hasn’t changed are our core values. We continue to see this situation as a challenge to be attacked and overcome and which will ultimately make us stronger.
To us, there is no other way and we have 100% certainty that Castore will be a better business when we come out the other side.
Though most people don’t talk about them, there are many significant competitive advantages smaller, challenger brands like Castore have over larger competitors. We are naturally far more agile so can react far more quickly and capitalise on short term opportunities that present themselves. Disruption requires relentless change and innovation and we see our ability to react more quickly than others as a key differentiator to Castore in this challenging period.
As a challenger, we also don’t accept the status quo - we want a greater role in the world than we currently have so naturally embrace change and the potential for disruption. Larger companies take the opposite view and shy away from anything that threatens their current position of comfort.
From a purely business perspective, its hard for us to not look at this situation with a hint of a smile on our faces as we continue make Castore a stronger business.
As individuals, we both have a far higher tolerance for pain and risk than most (we wouldn’t have gotten this far without them) and these characteristics are particularly beneficial in this time – having the foresight to see beyond the current uncertainty and also the courage to embrace opportunities others would (quite logically) shy away from is a potentially potent combination. We have always held a deep view with Castore that the only way is forward – lateral movement or treading water is not acceptable to us. We want to attack – at all times.
We expect Castore to emerge from this crisis not only stronger at an operating level but also with the growth drivers in place to take us to the next level and become a truly global brand.
The way brands interact with customers will likely change forever when normality returns and we will be at the forefront of this evolution. The more uncertain the world becomes, the more certain we are that our core values are exactly what will make us successful. Whatever happens in the future, a passion for excellence will always be appreciated. Athletes all over the world will value products that have been created with a relentless drive for innovation and performance enhancement. Castore will always stand for product excellence. Everything else is just noise.
Better Never Stops
Tom & Phil Beahon