By Jason Bird
Getting in to Sri Lanka late the previous night, day two of the trip was our rest and relaxation day, where we took advantage of the sun, surf, shopping and food.
We met Mark Bassett, Managing Director of Blackchrome Sportswear – a smart man and all-round good bloke.
This was a good time to chill and consume plenty of seafood and Sri Lanka’s most popular ale, Lion Beer. The day started off well with a buffet breakfast at the great Jetwing Beach Hotel, where we stuffed ourselves with eggs, sausages, grilled tomato and various curries, which Sri Lanka is famous for.
We then decided to hit the pool, and it was here I did something stupid. You see, I’m quite pale, and after a few hours in the pool and sunbaking by the beach (and putting on no sunscreen) I ended up getting incredibly sunburned. This resulted in me spending the late afternoon lying in my hotel room and covering myself in aloe vera.
But this didn’t stop me from joining the guys for a nice seafood dinner. Sri Lanka are known for their specialty crab dishes, and believe me, it did not disappoint!
This was a good chance to chat with Beardy (Troy Beard) and Bass (Mark Bassett) about Blackchrome Sportswear. We chatted about everything; from when it started, how it started, where they used to get their products manufactured to how they ended up getting them manufactured in Sri Lanka.
Blackchrome Sportswear started in 2002/2003 with its first major client being Coca Cola, who they became the national uniform supplier for.
In 2004, they started supplying sportswear to schools and grassroots level sports. At this stage, they were getting their manufacturing done in China and were never satisfied with the quality that was being produced. This led to a business plan being formulated and implemented into investing into manufacturing in Sri Lanka, where quality products were already being produced at more expensive costs, but still affordable for the business.
This is where Blackchrome Sportswear formed a partnership with J.K Garments and its owner, Mr Sareth, who is a very nice man who is well known by almost everyone in Sri Lanka. When our Hotel Manager asked us what we were doing in Sri Lanka, we mentioned Mr Sareth. The Hotel Manager was quite shocked and spoke very highly of him, so he must be a big kahuna in Sri Lanka!
Bass had previously been working at another manufacturing company and heard about a new process of manufacturing, which his previous employer wasn’t engaged it. He saw this as an opportunity to go out on his own, utilising this new process which he thought was the future of manufacturing sportswear (and he was correct!).
Beardy joined Blackchrome four and a half years ago, and with his extensive knowledge and experience in the sports industry, it was an easy fit. If you ever meet Beardy, ask him about his experience living in Japan as a sports journalist and then working for the AFL to help start up AFL Japan. It’s very interesting stuff!
Anyway, after Blackchrome Sportswear & J.K Garments formed their partnership, they have gone from strength to strength.
Blackchrome has since become a licensed manufacturer for ASICS, the Australian Athletics Team and the Australian Men’s Hockey Team (aka the Kookaburras), Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence and the South Australian Institute of Sport and started distributions into New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. But it was in 2014-15, that things really took off for Blackchrome as they became apparel partners with AFLNT, Big V Basketball, AFL International, AFLQ, WAAFL, WACFL and of course the mighty SFNL!
Mark and Troy are very passionate about ensuring they are delivering quality sportswear in a timely manner, so please always feel free to give them feedback whenever necessary. Their next goal is to increase their market share in the US, which would only strengthen their business, and as a flow-on effect, will ensure they can keep producing quality products at affordable prices for us!
Ultimately, it’s great to see these guys at the helm of the company and the passion they have for the industry, as it gives clubs like us confidence that we will be greatly looked after.
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(From left) Mark Bassett, Troy Beard, Jason Bird and Jay Cavanagh beat the heat with a cool beverage.[/caption]
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Relaxing by the beach.[/caption]
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A view of the city skyline.[/caption]
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The seafood in Sri Lanka is highly recommended![/caption]