Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Director at Icon Sports UK, William Purser.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
We supply bespoke sports and teamwear and our own branded cricket equipment and sports goods. Battersby Sports Ground Supplies is a dedicated online retailer for groundsmen and women and greenkeepers alike supplying top dressings, cricket wicket dressings, grass seeds, fertilisers, line marking paints and similar grounds maintenance products.
Before Icon, I had previously set up and run my own business providing personalised workwear and with my contacts within sport, particularly cricket, Icon was a great fit. With regards to Batterby’s, this is a business which has been in my family for four generations and whilst I have had 6 years out of the business to focus on other areas, now the time has come to re-join and move the business forward which is something I am extremely excited about.
What do you do in your current role?
Day to day roles can be extremely varied and is probably one of the reasons that I enjoy working in the sports industry so much. From helping grass roots clubs, professional and international sports teams create new teamwear concepts, planning video and photographic content for media and marketing materials, being available for our professional athlete ambassadors should they need anything or simply serving a customer coming in to the store these are all jobs that need to be covered and are all equally important.
As our team is now growing, I can start to dedicate more time to working on the business as opposed to in it – this will be vital as we continue to grow.
What does a normal week look like for you?
Monday to Fridays are pretty hectic, order processing and design concepts being the main roles. When I have my ‘sales’ hat on, I very rarely switch off – the days are more often than not 12 hours long, but as mentioned previously, we are getting the stage where roles will change slightly and my focus will be on business development as opposed to customer sales. I like to be organised and structured in how I work and try and switch off on a Friday evening knowing that my jobs are done for the week and to maintain a work/life balance – it doesn’t always work this way though as the sports industry is well known for being one that rarely sleeps!
In the winter months I enjoy getting out of the house and exploring the great British outdoors whilst in the summer months I will mainly be found on a cricket field amongst friends and spending time with the family – switching off from work is vitally important, something I haven’t always been good at but something which I am definitely working on!
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’ve always been a keen sportsman and I think like many others when the were younger dreamed of becoming a professional sportsperson in their relevant field. For me, it was football and cricket. I was fortunate to be fairly good at both and was a member of the Oldham Athletic Academy and also represented Lancashire at junior age group cricket. Cricket began to take a precedent and I enjoyed a couple of winters playing overseas in Australia alongside representing Lancashire at second X1 level and latterly Staffordshire and Cumberland in Minor Counties cricket.
Many friendships have been formed over the years and it seemed a natural fit working in an industry at a professional level in some capacity albeit not a playing one – I know what is expected of the products and I am able to service these needs. Utilising the contacts made helped kickstart the business.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I think the sport and leisure industry will grow considerably in the coming months as we continue to emerge from lockdown and the focus on a healthy lifestyle approach will continue to be promoted to aid wellbeing across the country. The teamwear market is constantly evolving with new fabrics, new design concepts and new technology becoming available and with this new doors and markets are opened. I’m currently working on our 2021 brochure and am excited for what we have in store!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
For people keen on working within sport you have to be fully committed. I compare it to playing sport, I always play to win no matter what it is and working in sport is no different for me, I want to be successful. Be passionate, work hard, work with your team to reach your goals, be prepared to take risks and have gratitude – combine these skills and you should see reward, but be prepared for it to take time.
How to follow Will Purser on social media…
LinkedIn: William Purser
Thanks for reading our latest Industry Insider feature with Director at Icon Sports UK, William Purser.