Pitchmark is a family run business manufactures and distributes line marking paint and equipment and is supplying all over the world.
Euro 2016 is the latest in a list of major sporting tournaments that Pitchmark have been involved in others include the Confederations Cup 2013, World Cup Brazil 2014 and European Super Cup Final 2015.
The company was founded in 2010 by husband and wife Mark and Sue Rodman. Mark was a groundsman and horticultural engineer with 25 years experience and was inspired to investigate ways of making the job of line marking less labour intensive following a knee operation 10 years ago.
Darren Rodman, Marketing and Business Development Manager explained:
“There is obviously a lot of walking involved in marking out a pitch, and following his knee operation this was something that Mark struggled with. He worked with a paint manufacturer to create a ready to use product that gave the level of coverage needed but using less paint, reducing the amount of time spent returning to refill machines. It’s also a more cost effective and environmentally friendly option.
“When Mark saw how much more efficient the system was than others on the market he decided to set up his own business. Sue has a background in finance so came on board to manage the business side of things. My brother Tim came on board as Operations Manager in April 2011, and I joined the business in July 2011.
Pitchmark was launched as an export only business, with its first contract coming from Australia. Today the company, which is on target for a turnover of £1 million in 2016, is still primarily an exporter – with 80 per cent of its businesses coming from overseas customers. It currently ships products to over 20 countries supplying equipment to customers ranging from schools and community sports centre to the large stadiums.
This strong emphasis on export has led to the business building a close relationship with the Department for International Trade, Mark and Sue first approached them when they launched the business for advice and support on trading overseas.
Tom Fourcade from DIT South West said: “It’s extremely exciting to see one of the businesses we have supported take centre stage at such a high profile event. We have worked with the team at Pitchmark for many years now and have always been impressed with enthusiasm and determination. We are looking forward to continuing to support them for many years to come.”
Through the DIT Pitchmark was given access to experts in international business, opportunities for peer learning and networking, training and education in international business and support in the creation of an export strategy.
Darren says: “The DIT has provided us with a massive amount of support over the past six years. From the initial advice and guidance from our dedicated trade adviser to access to various courses, and of course funding, they have played a key role in the success of the business. I really don’t think we could have done it without them.”
Despite the strong international flavour of its customer base Pitchmark is proud of its UK heritage. The company manufactures all its own machines and equipment from its factory in Coalpit Heath using British Steel, and the paint is also manufactured in the UK.
Pitchmark’s foray into the international sporting arena is providing a platform for further growth, with North America and Asia on the company’s radar as potential new markets to explore.
Darren said: “Our involvement in Euro 2016 and the other international tournaments has opened up huge opportunities. For a small family company to be involved in these prestigious sporting events is a real coup and raised our profile in a way we just couldn’t have done alone.
He concludes: “We don’t currently export to France so hopefully this will enable us to build up the contacts we need to start trading there as well as other European countries.”
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