Two years after signing a global licensing deal with Liverpool FC, a Wirral-based sports nutrition business is on course for £2m in annual sales. Tony McDonough reports
Lifelong Liverpool FC fan Matt Banks-Crompton is set to see his sports nutrition business hit £2m in sales this year after securing a commercial tie-up with the club he loves.
Matt is founder and managing director of Birkenhead-based Vector Consumer. Employing eight people, it operates two sports nutrition and wellness products brands – the SOLV female health and nutrition range and the Liverpool FC Sports Nutrition range.
In 2019 he took on the role of sales director for pharmaceutical contract manufacturer PharmaPac with the aim of establishing new so-called ‘challenger brands’.
He launched Vector Consumer in November of that year as a standalone venture. It was initially on the verge of securing a deal to stock products in more than 1,000 retail outlets across Asia.
However, the COVID pandemic stopped that deal in its tracks. Vector pivoted to working with the NHS but as COVID restrictions eased Matt revived plans to sell nutrition and wellness products across the globe.
He was inspired by the rise of so-called ‘influencer brands’ which achieve strong followings on social media that ultimately drive sales. It was the tie-up with Liverpool FC that provided a breakthrough – and it originated from a bet made in a bar.
Matt told LBN: “I had been out in Hong Kong with a couple of people from the industry and we ended up in a bar where there was a football match on. It was packed and we got talking and I said ‘wouldn’t it be great to get a marketing deal with a brand such as LFC?’.
“One of the guys bet me a pint that I could never do it – so I decided to rise to the challenge.”
Matt set up meetings with executives at LFC and eventually a deal was agreed in 2021, opening up the tantalising possibility of selling to an estimated 700m Liverpool FC fans across the world.
“Being able to use the LFC brand has helped massively,” added Matt. “The brand we have created is unmistakably red and, as a lifelong supporter, this has become a big passion project for me.”
Last year the LFC and SOLV brands, which include skincare, whey and vegan protein, EAAs (dietary supplements), gummies, vitamins and joint care supplements, achieved around £250,000 in sales.
This year that is set to soar to around £2m – split roughly 50/50 between the two brands.
Matt added: “95% of our sales are exports. We sell online, in pharmacies, supplement stores and grocery chains in Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand. We have other markets going live all the time.”
One of the next markets to be added is Norway where Liverpool FC has a really strong following. Matt said: “1% of the Norwegian population is a paying member of the Liverpool fan club. Everything is going in the right direction.”