Nevada Sport Ltd

Sporting a strong mission

  • Nevada 1

    Nevada Sport’s Hamish Cochran and daughter Elle, in front of the original tin shed where the Patagonia sports brand first started in America.
  • Nevada 3

    Testing Patagonia products at Coronet Peak, Queenstown Elle, Hamish and Jenny.
  • Nevada 2

    Product testing recently in Chamonix France, Hamish and Jenny.

When Hamish Cochran developed Nevada Sports mission statement 20 years ago, he created a timeless statement for nationwide success in the competitive leisure and sporting wear market.

Established in 1978, Nevada Sport today is the New Zealand distributor of Merrell footwear and apparel and Patagonia apparel and footwear to retailers nationwide.

A key driver, the enduring mission statement has seen the company through volatile market changes and environmental setbacks, outside the firm’s control. When the Mt Ruapehu eruptions of the mid 1990s shut down North Island skiing, and when a major brand stocked by the company went bankrupt overseas, Hamish fell back on the company’s goals to pull the business ahead. The company dropped ski and racquet products and instead focussed on footwear and apparel.

“Nevada Sport sell specialised footwear, clothing and accessories that we believe in, promote, and stand behind 100 percent. We uphold customer service and represent our principal companies in New Zealand to a degree that makes us all very proud,” says Managing Director Hamish with conviction.

Hamish and Jenny, his wife and business partner, believe five key strategies have shaped Nevada Sport: the belief in technically superior products, backed by consistent service, strong dealer relationships, technical clinics to update clients, and active promotion.

“By providing robust support to our clients, they can grow their retail success, which in turn drives our growth. As our brands are international, Nevada Sport is a ‘product of the brands we sell’. The brands have strong consumer loyalty and are value for money.”

Hamish has relied on Markhams financial advice and guidance since 1978. Initially a client of David Rhodes, on David’s retirement he requested Graeme (David’s son) as their advisor. “David’s advice and support proved invaluable during the difficult 1990s. To remain lean, we had to make the tough decision to retrench staff. David helped set up a management reporting structure and systems that are still in place today. Essentially this was a great model of how to turn a business around and I was grateful for David’s support.”

Despite the challenges, Hamish’s philosophy remains positive; focused on what can be controlled and looking forward, seeing the past as a learning experience.

“Markhams continues to handle our financial matters so we can keep moving ahead. On a monthly basis, we have a very clear picture of where we’re at, and where we’re going. We use Banklink to code payments and from this create monthly reports to track progress and compare against previous years.”

Not one to stand still, Hamish recently discussed establishing a dashboard view of financial and sales information with Graeme. “We want to utilise a smart way to measure actual against forecasted sales. I trust that Graeme will be able to nail this.”

A family business, Jenny has responsibility for purchasing, shipping, customs and payments, while younger daughter, Elle is the Patagonia brand manager and looks after the firm’s website. Older daughter, Heidi recently completed a design degree and produced brochures, promotional material and a dealer newsletter while studying. Marketing continues with the upcoming launch of Merrell’s New Zealand website.

“Last year we reviewed our mission statement wondering if it was time to update it. The entire team responded with a categorical ‘no’. We are firmly on track; our mission is very much how we do business. And it’s likely to be that way for a long time yet,” says Hamish.

Published Summer 2010.

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