Ethical business, activewear and endurance sport: Q&A with Dan Puddick

In the days before my clothes shopping revolved mainly around how well it moved sweat away from my body, protected me from the elements or how likely it was to chafe my skin,  when I needed a new piece of clothing, I had resolved to make an effort to choose something ethically produced before turning to the commercial giants on the high street. But when it came to sports kit, aside from a few natural bamboo and merino offerings it seemed like this part of the clothing industry was immune or blind to the demand for more ethically produced products. So when I connected with Dan Puddick on LinkedIn and found out about the new business he was starting up to deliver exactly that, I was keen to keep in touch.

Daniel Puddick

Sundried Managing Director Dan Puddick taking on some of Europe’s biggest climbs in this year’s Etape du Tour

Fast forward 18 months and Sundried launched its website and was seeking out triathletes, personal trainers and coaches who shared the brands values and were interested in telling their clients and contacts about the brand. Jess Tonking, Sundried’s Marketing Manager got in touch and I agreed to be an ambassador for the brand. When Jess asked me to answer some questions for my ambassador profile on it’s website I thought it would be interesting to turn the tables and ask Dan about what shaped the brand and to find out what makes him tick. Here’s what he said:

AB: Tell us about Sundried – what’s the brand’s mission?

DP: Sundried is a responsible brand organically grown by people who care. We are all athletes ranging from surfers through to triathletes. We have a shared passion of the outdoors and aim to bring ethical production to stylish, technically advanced activewear.

AB: What bug-bears about did you have about sports clothing before starting the brand? How does Sundried fix them?

DP: I wanted activewear that was produced ethically, rather than in mass production factories with overworked and underpaid staff. Sundried have fixed this by creating our clothing in clean, safe factories where our staff are respected and paid fairly.

AB: Why was it important to you to involve trainers and coaches as a key part of your business plan?

DP: Yes, Personal Trainers know what the body is capable of and what activewear needs to be prepared to go through. Being qualified trainers has helped us to have a deeper understanding of what our clients need and means we can provide qualified advice.

AB: What unexpected things have you learned since starting Sundried?

DP: Never leave your trolley out of sight at an expo…. [AB: oops! I won’t ask!!]

AB: What made you take up the sport of triathlon?

DP: I’m quite a competitive person and as triathlon is meant to be one of the toughest sports you can try, obviously it was going to be the sport for me, and of course, just one triathlon was never going to be enough. I’m looking forward to racing in 2017.

AB: Can you name the top three things you most value about taking part in endurance sports?

DP:

  1. Mental focus – The freedom to just think, uninterrupted.
  2. Increased fitness – Fitness influences every area of our lives without us even noticing it and as I age (fingers crossed) it will help keep me young.
  3. A better night’s sleep – With two kids and a business to run, a healthy burst of exercise helps send me to sleep at night.

AB: They say not to make your passion your work, what’s your take?

DP: Nonsense. Being passionate about what you do is what makes Sundried good at what we do. They say ‘you’ve got to walk the walk to talk the talk’ too remember!

AB: What’s your favourite post-race treat?

DP: I keep it simple with a banana.

AB: What’s your best piece of advice for anyone embarking on their first endurance event?

DP: Don’t focus on anyone else, make the event all about you and just do your best.

AB: What’s your best piece of advice for starting a business in the sport or fitness sector?

DP: Get up before the world, I get up at 5am and those extra hours are key for me to keep on top of everything. Plus a morning run as the sun comes up is a great way to set up the day.

Clients and followers of Abby Boswell Fitness can get 20% off at sundried.com using the code ABBYBFITNESS.

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