Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Humphrey Cobbold gave a fascinating talk last night about his time as CEO of Wiggle, the on-line biking shop. Turnover was £35m when he joined the company in 2009 and is now £140m. He drove its growth into overseas markets and launched its sponsorship of cycling events. The company was started from scratch in 1999 in a garage in Portsmouth by Mitch Dall and Harvey Jones. They were selling bikes but also anything else that could sell. Taking advantage of the total eclipse in the UK in 1999, they bought a pallet load of glasses which would protect people's eyes as they gazed at the disappearance of the sun. (Actually I remember it was a cloudy day and rather a disappointment.)  They bought each pair for £1.50, sold them on for £11.50 and exhausted their supplies very quickly. Encouraged by this rapid success, they ordered another pallet. The problem was that it arrived three days after the eclipse so they're stuck with them until 2023!


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