Bob and Liz Davidson open a sports shop in Market Street, Eastleigh named Activity.
Expanded by opening a second sports shop in Eastleigh. One shop would sell sports footwear and second sold clothing
Bob attended the Wyvern School new parents evening selling sportswear.
There were two ladies at this event selling logoed school uniform, they were selling a lot more school uniform than Bob was selling sportswear.
Bob approached the ladies selling uniform and asked them to go into business with him. And that’s where it all started!
The new school uniform business was given the name Skoolkit.
The first Skoolkit shop opens in Eastleigh, the upstairs also gave room for Bob and Liz to have a room as an office.
Opened a shop in Basingstoke with Anne Cheng as Manager,
Anne goes on to become the General Manager of all shops.
Skoolkit also open a shop in Fareham.
Ahead of its time Skoolkit introduced a computerised system.
The new till system recorded the sales of the day. Bob would drive around the branches to pick up
the cassette tapes which would give recordings of the days sales.
Purchased the Waterloo Embroidery Company and their customer list.
Embroidery production in now being run from upstairs in the Activity Sportwear shop.
Sold both the Activity sportswear shops to concentrate on the Skoolkit uniform shops.
Take the lease on a unit in Shakespeare Business Park in Eastleigh.
We now have the space to purchase a 12 head Tajima machine and production increases. Production increases so much we soon have to expand into a second unit.
Due to the amount of new schools being supplied through our Eastleigh shop we recognise we need more space.
So, we purchase a larger unit and move our Eastleigh shop which also gives us room to operate offices from above the shop.
The Davidsons eldest son Sean joins the company. After taking on various roles within the office,
Sean’s IT knowledge has proved invaluable to the company and his position as IT director has strengthened our technological standing.
Even though Kieron Davidson, the youngest son of the Davidsons had been helping his parents within the company
from 1992 whilst still at school, in 1997 he permanently joins the company. Kieron learns all aspects of the business, from our shops, warehouse and embroidery.
On the move again we move into two larger units in Shakespeare Business Park. We now have the room to expand the embroidery and print department as well as accommodate for a small office space.
Needing to be able to see our stock levels in ‘real time’ we invest in a new software system from Fashion Master. This is installed throughout the company.
Kieron becomes the Managing Director of Skoolkit allowing Bob to take on the role as Chairman.
Outgrowing our Shakespeare Business Park units we make our biggest move yet by purchasing our own 10,000 sq ft warehouse in Phoenix Park, Eastleigh.
This gave us the scope to expand the business in all areas, we could now look to open new shops in new areas as we now had the storage space to accommodate bulk amounts of clothing, a larger area for embroidery production and a dedicated Head Office space.
We launch our first buy on line website and this has continued to be one of our fastest areas of growth.
Open a shop in Totton.
Open a shop in Havant.
Open a shop in Newbury, with the acquisition of the successful Trutex and More shop in The Kennet Centre, this is our first shop outside of Hampshire. Skoolkit have now made in-roads into Berkshire.
And we still grow and develop! – During 2020 we are extending onto our warehouse which will reconfigure our goods-in area, giving us a more streamlined department. We have also taken on an extra warehouse unit within Phoenix Park to help with our increased stock levels.
We will also be launching version 3 of our buy online website. Our website is incredibly successful and goes from strength to strength as each year goes by.
We are confident our new and improved website will give parents and schools a much more user-friendly shopping and information experience.
Skoolkit has come a long way since the days of Bob Davidson embroidering school uniform from above his sports shop with a few members of staff.
The family run company now employs over 140 permanent members of staff, who work across our 6 shops, online website department, warehouse, embroidery/print department and head office.
So, I think you will agree Skoolkit has stood the test of time in the ever evolving and challenging world of school uniforms!
We are proud of the partnerships we have established with our schools and parents, that is evident by the longevity of the relationships we have with the 500 plus schools who trust us with their school uniform needs.