New Head of Multichannel at Snow+Rock talks about e-commerce plans

Thursday January 1 1970

David Kohn, the new Head of Multichannel at Snow+Rock shares his thoughts on the online opportunities with Emma Gamble, Director at Gamble & Yeates Ltd

Having been vaguely aware of Snow + Rock as a steady SME for many years I’ve rarely had occasion to think of them and now I realise why. As a Director of an Executive Search business, my role is all about assisting with structural change and anticipating people moves before they happen.

The current management team at Snow + Rock has for the most part remained unchanged since the purchase of the business in 2004 by Andrew Brownsword and, following the exciting MBO backed by LG Capital in late 2010, Dion Taylor the Managing Director and the members of the board have been working to an ambitious growth plan.

Part of that growth plan has meant the acquisition of complementary businesses such as ‘Cycle Surgery’ and ‘Runners Need’ over the last few years and the upgrading of their ecommerce channel.  I was fortunate to have a chat with David Kohn who was recently appointed as Head of Multichannel at the thriving retailer. David has previously held senior ecommerce and commercial roles at a number of retailers including Waterstones, Borders and Blacks Leisure.

So David why Snow + Rock?
The breadth of experience I have was important to the team, as they wanted a ‘real life’ background in retail. For me it’s all about delivery, it’s not about advising the guys on things that are impractical. They liked my pragmatism. The team is very knowledgeable about the market and the product range, and are genuine enthusiasts – I liked that.

Are you an ‘outdoors’enthusiast?
I love being outdoors but am more of a tennis, golf and football fan. I was at Blacks Leisure a few years back, and I did the Three Peaks Challenge whilst I was there if that counts?

What were your initial thoughts when you joined?
I wasn’t sure about the BT Fresca Platform when I joined but I’ve been pleasantly surprised  as it’s flexible and allows you to do things on your own. It is not restrictive and so far has been very reliable and good value. We work on some projects with Fresca but the great thing is we have been able to make many user experience and SEO improvements ourselves.
When you join a VC backed business you never know fully what to expect but LGV capital are very interested in ecommerce and are keen to invest. They are not a get rich quick investor - they see the potential in longer term growth.
I agree with the way the team think, we do treat every pound as our own.  I’m not a romantic, I enjoy creating a vision but fundamentality I like making things happen.

What are the plans for the future?
There is scope for international growth.  We currently deliver very reliably overseas but we haven’t pushed very hard as yet as want to focus on getting our domestic proposition and service right. We also have very close relationships with our supplier brands and will have to make sure they are happy with us trading their product in certain territories -Northern Europe will obviously be a strong market. Cycle surgery has perhaps the most potential as is shown by the success of some of our competition, but snow sports and running both offer opportunities and our ranges in both sports are strong.

We are in high double digit growth at present and my aim is for the online channel to be the biggest store on all three fascias by the end of this year.

In any sphere of ecommerce, be it user experience, marketing, distribution or international you can’t rest on your laurels because if you do someone will be doing something better than you are. For an old person like me it’s quite a challenge, social media, what’s all that about?!”


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