Following the news that TMD has acquired Blu Leisure, we want to introduce you to Blu Leisure MD, Vicki Peck.
Having enjoyed strong partnerships with several multisite operators for many years, Vicki is no stranger to the leisure sector. If you have met Vicki, you will remember her bubbly personality and infectious laugh. If you haven’t, well, hopefully you soon will. In the meantime, here is a quick Q&A to introduce Vicki and give an overview of her career to date, her ambitions for the future and her short lived experience of Enduro motorbiking!
When did you join Blu Leisure and how did the introduction come about?
I was working in an account management role with PF Concept, Europe’s leading provider in the promotional products sector and Jackie Worrell, Founder of Blu Leisure, was a client. Jackie and I worked closely together to fulfil the needs of Jackie’s clients. A major project we delivered was the creation of a bespoke retail range for the Bannatyne Group. This rolled out across their portfolio and cemented a partnership that is still in place today.
Jackie approached me at various times to join the Blu Leisure team but I wanted to fulfil my potential at PF Concepts first. Once I had taken that role as far as I felt I could, I decided to take Jackie up on her offer and joined Blu Leisure as Business Development Manager. That was back in 2011. Seven years later I was promoted to MD, the role I still hold today.
What was so attractive about Blu Leisure?
Blu Leisure offered an opportunity for me to play a more influential role in the company’s growth and sustainability. At PF Concept I was part of a large international team contributing to an already hugely successful business. Blu Leisure was a much smaller company but with huge growth potential. I was excited by the opportunity to work alongside Jackie to develop the business and to see how far we could take it.
What services does Blu Leisure offer?
Blu Leisure provides Blu branded and client branded retail fitnesswear and swimwear, bespoke team uniforms and promotional items to gyms, spas, leisure centres and hotels.
Working with our well established and trusted supply chain, we manage the design and manufacture of bespoke product ranges, creating technically effective, high quality products at a highly competitive price.
We also take care of storage and stock control. Clients have access to our secure, online portal which provides product information and real time stock levels for each and every item in their agreed product portfolio. Clients placing an order through the portal or our telephone system by 11am can expect next day delivery. We also operate a ‘no minimum order’ policy and send alerts out to clients when stock levels become low so that they can replenish and avoid gaps’ in their frontline provision.
What really sets us apart is our family business ‘nothing is too much trouble’ approach to service delivery backed up by the processes, expertise and competitive pricing of a large corporate organisation.
So who are Blu Leisure clients?
We serve a range of clients in the leisure, hospitality and spa sectors from multi site operators including The Bannatyne Group, Everyone Active (SLM), Freedom Leisure and MacDonald Hotels, to single site operators. We also service a diverse array of needs. Some clients partner with us to design, manufacture and supply uniforms, others work with us to deliver a high quality Blu or custom-branded swim and leisure wear apparel and merchandising retail range.
Over the years, we have developed a solid supply chain but retained the agility to adapt our offer to meet the bespoke needs of each and every client. Whilst we offer a very client-centric service, product quality, excellent service standards and fulfilment remain core components across our client portfolio.
Where is Blu Leisure located?
We are actually just in the process of relocating the office! Historically, we have been located in Milton Keynes but our new facility is in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire near to where I live. James will continue to run TMD for Dorset. Over the last few months we have all learnt to appreciate the effectiveness of remote working so whilst we will maintain the two bases, we will also offer our team flexibility in terms of how they structure their professional time and where they choose to work from.
Over the years, how has Blu Leisure developed?
Mainly through organic growth. Once a client comes on board and experiences our service, we find they tend to extend their remit with us. For example, We won the contract with Freedom Leisure to supply retail swimwear and apparel, then, when the estate uniform tender was issued we were in the mix and won the contract.
We also take time to really support clients. When we won the uniform contract with Freedom Leisure we spent time on site working with all levels of the workforce, consulting on design preferences and technical needs. For example, team members working in active roles and by poolside needed apparel that offered moisture wicking to maintain comfort levels for the duration of a shift.
We position our service as an extension of the internal team. Our service team is always available at the end of a phone or on email to answer any questions and we endeavour to answer queries swiftly to ensure minimal interruption to a clients business.
Moving forwards, the maintenance of our service levels will remain a priority but we will tap into the expertise, resource and network provided by TMD. Growth is important but we intend to grow at a rate that is sustainable and does not impact our ability to service our clients.
What are your ambitions for Blu Leisure moving forwards?
To further develop our retail product range and increase the number of clients who benefit from our services. James and Ed, founders of TMD have been operating in the leisure, attractions, hospitality and spa sectors for more than 27 years so I am looking forward to introducing their clients to our products and services.
How do you relax away from work? What are your hobbies and interests?
I have a 6 year old daughter so she keeps me pretty busy. I also love to get out into the open air, walking and exploring some of the beautiful countryside, mainly at home, here in the UK.
Recently I was also introduced to Enduro motorcycling. My partner and I both bought bikes so we could take them into the hills, mainly in Wales, and explore larger areas than we could cover on foot. Enduro motorcycling is growing in popularity around the UK and it’s not just young thrill seekers taking part! It’s people like us who enjoy travelling off road, accessing beautiful locations that cars just can’t reach.
Tell us something about you not many people will know
I spent three years, from the age of 18, serving in the British Army as a signaller. I enjoyed my time and was sorry not to be able to continue longer, being forced to leave via medical discharge. From here I explored various jobs and eventually found a role with PF Concept, the European market leader in the promotional products sector. This is where I was introduced to Jackie and the rest, as they say, is history!
To find out more about Vicki or to start a conversation, why not connect to her via LinkedIn, here