ADVENTURES OF A SALES AGENT ADVENTURE TWO - TIKI
After a whirlwind few days of travel and business adventures, I finally have time to knit together this blog of my weeks experiences, well here I go, here I go, here I, here I go, yo. Dance in the aisles… my 90s people will get that, maybe, anyway…
I recently accepted an invite to meet the team at Tiki Surf Co in Braunton, North Devon. I’d previously met Stuart, the boss, via another Essex geezer called Ian at Slide OTS and the purpose of this trip was to tie up a deal we were brokering. It’s with great delight to announce (to my three readers) that we have agreed a partnership by which I will be the face of Tiki in Ireland. Now I don’t mean modelling the brand, but I will be handling the commercial outreach and I am buzzing. You might think what I am about to say is a big fat spoof, but I swear it’s true. My first wetsuit was Tiki and it was a belter, especially listening to the fresh prince throughout the 90’s in Portrush. Just like him and Jazzy Jeff were a great band, Tiki are a great brand, so to get the chance to represent them is a pleasure! Each of the team were so helpful and their passion was wholly evident, and we even went surfing together. By the end of the week, I left with a van load of Tiki samples and a brain brimming with fresh ideas and vigour. I know this partnership will blossom, as the team are so supportive, and they even complemented my new van, which is a VW Transporter and I love it.
The working week began real early on Tuesday morning as I had to catch the Stena line Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead. Its oddly hassle free, and if you aren’t in a hurry, you can just relax. I managed to grab a seat at the front of the boat that allowed me to watch us sailing into the Welsh Coast. The onboard Wi-Fi was grand and allowed me to pester my media guy (Nick the dick), before I dozed off in my big recliner chair which NEVER happens on a plane. On arrival at Holyhead, I zipped along the coast stopping for lunch in the lovely town of Conwy. This town has mixed memories for me. It was only a couple of years ago I was with my friends in the Castle about to set off on a six-day mountain endurance event called ‘The Dragons Back.’ Unfortunately, I crashed out 12 hours later with heat stroke…. Ahhhhh…. Disaster, but at least we raised loads of money for charity, we didn’t die, and I managed to get the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Anyway, that’s another story for another time. After Conwy it was pretty much straight to North Devon albeit with the pain of lots of traffic and getting used to those ‘smart’ motorways. I know I’m starting to sound like a holiday brochure but the highlight of that leg was the Services Station at Gloucester. Yeah, honestly. It was nothing like I have ever seen before. It was essentially a super sustainable local artisan market. I never thought I’d recommend a service station but without doubt its worth a visit! My first night in Devon, I stayed in the Saunton Sands Hotel which was spot on with the highlight being the views of the beech from both the room and the amazing salt-water spa. Oh, and the vegan brekky was beaut! The next few days were the intense but immense. I got to know the team, processes and products. I managed a run along the River Taw and onto Saunton Beech which was cool, with fresh unspoilt nature all around, D-Day landing practice areas and a haunting ship wreck. Tell Tommy Bowe not to get too comfortable in his holiday job eh.
On the home leg I passed through Ilfracombe for some lunch and a jump off the harbour in my new top fitting, Tiki Zepha wetsuit which was of course lovely and warm 😉! The town itself seemed to be thriving with independent seaside shops and a healthy bustle for a Friday in February. Unfortunately, I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would’ve liked as I had to head up the road, destination Bangor in North Wales. I couldn’t resist a pit stop at this particular city. Firstly, the last and only time I had been here before was a trip to visit my dad in hospital about 20 years ago when he took ill on Holiday but the main reason for this visit was to see how this Bangor weighed up against my Bangor in Northern Ireland…. The highlight was without doubt the pier, although having to pay to walk on it seemed a little desperate, especially as ours is more famous cos well Eisenhower and the D-Day landings, and it’s free, but the ‘loo with a view’ at the start of the pier more than made up for it and most certainly tops my list of ‘road trip toilet stops.’ I didn’t have long enough to justify any opinion of Bangor, Wales but the High Street did have the unfortunately similar vibes of a decaying and slightly neglected Victorian Sea-side town being experienced in my Bangor. Hopefully their council has the passion and competency to turn it around.
All in all, a very successful trip. I met lots of lovely people, ate good food and saw some of England and Wales’s great scenery. This is the start of an exciting journey for me and Tiki in Ireland. Keep your eye open for a growing amount of Tiki branded products all over these Islands as I have no doubt under the stewardship of Stuart and his team, this brand is headed for big things and I am excited about playing my role in that.