The birth of gloveglu
In 2022 gloveglu celebrated 10 years. This is the story of how it all started.
I’ve worked with many brands over the years – big and small – and established sales and marketing strategies across a wide spectrum of sporting goods products within the UK & Ireland.
Back in 2012, I was with one of my startup clients – Responseball.
Glenn Robertson (the inventor behind Responseball) and I were driving along beautiful Cotswold lanes having had a day visiting customers trying to launch his new brand.
As we left Stow-on-the-Wold, driving towards Burford, we began throwing ideas around about “something that could change the world of goalkeeping.”
I’m sure we threw around all sorts of crazy ideas – and had some fun brainstorming – when suddenly it came to me.
“I’ve got it,” I said.
“All goalkeeper brands work hard to try and develop the best latex for goalkeeper gloves and the best grip. The problem, however, is that the better the latex (and hence grip) the less time the latex lasts. The result? You pay top dollar for a goalkeeping glove with excellent grip but neither the grip or glove last very long. Or. You pay much less for a glove that lasts much longer but has little, or no, grip”
“What if we developed a spray” I continued “that could be applied to any level of a glove to make them tacky/grippy/sticky”
The car went silent.
The gravity of what I had said sank in and Glenn and I sat there, brains whirring, with a smile on our faces.
“I think you’ve cracked it,” he said.
(I might have added that bit since, to be honest, I can’t really recall what either of us said), suffice to say that I can remember the moment vividly and it was the day that gloveglu was born.
To be totally correct it was the day gloveglue was born.
It was only sometime later when I was talking to a work colleague – Dan Hume – about this fantastic new product that I was about to launch on an unsuspecting goalkeeping public that the name changed.
“Gloveglue?” he said, “without the ‘e’ at the end I assume?”
And thus gloveglu was born.
Ok. So, as is often the case, the idea is the easy bit.
The next step was to develop the product.
Luckily I had a contact, and after a few weeks the first sample arrived.
Glenn had agreed to help with the testing (as he was a goalkeeper coach at the time) and off he went to see if we could really make this thing work.
First impressions were good. A little too sticky (with grass and dirt being picked up) but the principal worked.
It was clear, even at this stage, that the latex palm of a goalkeeper glove was the perfect material to absorb the gloveglu liquid but also act as a reservoir to “feed” the grip over a period of time.
Perhaps we were on to a winner.
Finally, after over six months of testing, we had a product.
Only one small problem.
It was highly flammable!!
This, of course, meant that it was going to be very difficult to ship gloveglu around the world (due to shipping restrictions on flammable liquids) and so it was back to the drawing board to see if our chemist friend could match the results we were now getting during testing but make it possible to ship globally.
At last, some six months later, we were good to go.
Samples were duly sent out to some external testers – English Premiership coaches and professional goalkeepers – coaches such as Jerome John at West Ham United and players such as Jamie Langfield at Aberdeen.
The feedback was fantastic.
“it would even make marigolds sticky” came the response back from Jerome with Jamie’s “it might just work” giving us a real boost at that stage.
So the product was ready.
Whilst the testing had been going on, my good friend – Steve Foote at Tin Racer Design – had been working hard on logos and packaging and I’d been working hard on trying to generate some interest from potential buyers.
Logos and mock up packaging were completed and I duly drive to one of the leading global goalkeeper specialists to present gloveglu for the first time.
Luckily Dave, Ian and the team at Just Keepers got it. They got what we were trying to do and could see the potential gap in the market.
The first order was placed for 100 bottles. We were off.
Things have moved on somewhat since then.
The product range has expanded and, at the time of writing, we have shipped to 57 countries around the world!
by Paul Sherratt, Founder & CEO