Having already made a name for himself with cult BMX clothing brand DUB, Jack Donnelly has now branched into retail with a store in the heart of Liverpool. Mark Sutton finds out how this upstart business plans to make an impression on the scene…
Tell us a bit about The Loot and its origins?
There’s a lot of big mail order shops near Liverpool, but we all wanted a BMX-specific shop in the city centre where people can hang out and meet up to go riding.
You’ve not long been open – how’s business going so far?
So far things have been good, all the local riders have been coming in to check the shop out, and we just launched the online store, so hopefully that will pick up as people hear about it.
You’ve chosen to sway more towards boutique, rather than stocking a bit of everything – why?
There’s so many brands out there that it would be hard to stock everything and there’s a lot of brands making ‘stock’ parts too, the same as every other brand just with different stickers.
That’s why we decided we only need to stock the main brands and not the imitations. It also makes it more confusing for people when they are buying, and because we only sell quality brands and products people don’t have to worry that they might make a bad choice. Pretty much all the parts we sell are ridden by one of the DUB riders, or we know people who have tested them. That said, we are still increasing the amount of stock held.
The shop has some great artwork on the inside – what’s inspired this?
I knew before I picked a premises that I wanted ‘Joe-Tek’ to come and paint the place. Anything Joe does is amazing. He came up with the idea to do the Liverpool skyline and traveled up from Hastings back to back weekends to get the job done. Huge thanks to him for hooking us up.
Is there anything unique about The Loot?
I only found out recently that it’s now considered ‘normal’ for a BMX shop to sell micro scooters, which I personally think is sacrilege! The Loot will never sell scooters, so I guess that makes us unique? I think it’s pretty shameful that shops, which preach about doing things for ‘the good of the scene’, are selling out this way.
Any local talent representing the store within the BMX community?
We’re hooking up Adam Snowdon, Danny Roper and ‘Fitzy’. They are part of the extended DUB family, but they don’t have parts sponsors, so I saw it as an opportunity to help them out. Most of the DUB crew are representing The Loot too.
How else is the store supporting the local scene? Are you holding any events?
We had a little street jam to mark the opening of the store, but I think we’ll stick to doing DUB jams in future. The main way the shop can support the scene is just by providing somewhere to meet up, and make parts more accessible, so they don’t have to order online. We’ve had a lot of kids coming in to ask questions about parts and frames too, so I guess it helps them to be able to get some advice face-to-face.
What are your aspirations for The Loot?
Hopefully we can get more kids from round here into BMX, instead of becoming little scallies.
Will the store remain BMX and clothing only, or will you diversify in time?
I’d like to think it will stay as just BMX, clothes and shoes, but who knows. I can promise if we ever do diversify though, we’ll never sell scooters.
How are you marketing the business to spread the word locally and wider?
We’ve been letting people know about The Loot through the DUB website and Facebook, and we seem to have a lot of happy customers helping us spread the word through Facebook too.
We also won some Ride UK online ads from Ride to Glory, so we’ll be using them up to promote offers and stuff leading up to Christmas. And we’ll be dropping an online edit of The Loot crew soon.