UK’s Matchbox seatbox brand set for revival
Seatbox manufacturer Matchbox is set for a resurgence in 2015 following the return to the business of owner Jim Burton.
Burton left the company for more than two years when he joined the UK operation of Chinese bait company Old Ghost as Senior Consultant, leaving Matchbox to ‘tick over’ under the management of his wife and daughter.
But when the move didn’t work out, he returned to the Birmingham-base business and has been busy revamping product and introducing a new sales strategy. The first container of new-look product is due to arrive in February.
“When I joined Old Ghost the plan was to gradually run the Matchbox business down,” said Burton, who bought the company 15 years ago. “But when I returned I found there was still a good demand for our seatboxes among retailers, partly because during my absence we had been selling mostly from the website.
“We have our own niche in the market. The average age of the UK angler is 55 and most of them want a box they can pick up. A lot of them travel in pairs, but find it difficult to accommodate two modern-day ‘space station’ boxes in one car. Our boxes are much more manageable.”
Burton has just returned from a month-long visit to the factory he has owned in China since 2005, where he has been approving modifications, new colours and product line classifications. He has been visiiting China for 15 years and is a former coach of the Chinese national team.
“If you are manufacturing in China then you have to spend a lot of time there to make it work properly,” he says. “The Chinese are great at manufacturing, but they don’t have the knowledge of western fishing or the tradition.”
The new Azure range will be available in both club and matchman options and will be sold only through shops. The SX and S Class also come with the choice of club or match versions and will be sold exclusively online. All products will be ready for the new season.
“Matchbox seatboxes are right back in vogue. Business is looking good, we are on the up-and-up,” added Burton.