Interview with VYC – Russell Whitworth & Ben Vickers
MC Palma is the new marine showroom causing quite a buzz here in Palma and is the brainchild of VYC boys Russell Whitworth and Ben Vickers and Evolution Sails Director Siggi Mansacker.
Exhibiting the best marine products on the market all year round, captains, crew and yacht owners are able to visit the showroom and properly select the right products for their yacht.
Tell me a bit about background. How did you first get started with MC Palma?
MC Palma was born when Siggi, Ben and myself had a conversation on our way to the 2016 METS. We were chatting about the yachting industry and how expensive products are often purchased from PDF’s on computer screens and that with most of these products, it is vital to touch and feel the quality of them. It’s because of this way of purchasing that people go to METS and boat shows – they want to handle the products, check their construction, figure out if they’re worth the money! We then thought – why not create some kind of showroom open all year round here in Palma so that captains, crew and yacht owners were not restricted to just boat shows…. it seemed like a no brainer!
What was your mission at the outset?
Once we had decided that we were going to put this plan into action, we had two missions. One was to sound out the market place and see what people thought of the concept and if they would be interested in it. Secondly, we started to look for properties, which would lead to the financial side of the business presenting itself, which in turn would start the business plan wheels turning.
What first inspired you to get involved with the MC Palma project?
We saw a massive gap in the market for this concept and Palma was the perfect location as it’s where a large part of yachting refits occur. We were inspired to create a community of marine brands and in doing so, create a fantastic network aimed to help the client.
What made you choose your current location?
We looked at locations big and small, near the port and away from the port, we had a couple of false starts where perhaps our vision was either too big or too far away. It was during the 2017 METS, when we were trying to reconfirm the interest we had received when we received an email about a property on the Paseo. The photos matched many parts of our vision; we knew the location and began to think that it might be ‘the one’. It’s always difficult when you’re a couple of thousand miles away with only a handful of pictures to go by, but at that stage we had looked at a lot of properties! We went straight to the property from the airport on our return from Amsterdam, we knew it would work and stopped looking elsewhere. Fast-forward 6 months of negotiating and paperwork and we finally got the keys to MC Palma in time for the Palma Boat show.
What services do you provide?
For the customers, MC Palma creates a unique way to come and test and try the product before purchasing.
For the client, we provide a portal for the particular brand to showcase their product on the waterfront of Palma in a high-end location, and create an access point to their distribution network. Many marine brands do not have the budget to have a presence here, MC Palma, now makes it possible.
Included within this, all the brands within MC Palma will be part of our marketing experience with the emphasis on creating a community where all brands benefit.
What were you doing before then?
Before, during and currently, Ben and myself run our superyacht service company VYC (Vickers Yacht Consultancy) which we started in 2010. VYC supplies products and services to the yachting industry focusing on 4 main areas:
- VYConsultancy – The day to day assistance to our clients, be it TPA management, cash to master, bunkering services or helping to provide them with the logistics when away from Palma.
- VYCordage – a bespoke running rigging service for new builds and the market place here in Palma, as well as servicing the needs of our clients worldwide.
- VYClothing – Since the very beginning of VYC, crew uniform has been a crucial and ever growing part of our business. We successfully source high quality products for all types of yacht be it motor or sailing, charter and service to the wet foredecks of today’s most competitive race yachts.
- VYComfort – We are the main suppliers in Mallorca for all Oceanair, Vimarand BCM products, amongst other brands.
Our other partner, Siggi, people will know as the director of Evolution sails here in Palma.
What is unique about your business?
There is nothing else like it in Palma or elsewhere!
What problems did you see that needed to be fixed?
The largest problem that needed a solution was to create a place where you can try before you buy!
How is your company approaching that problem in a unique way?
By creating MC Palma we find the solution to the problem above by enticing the top brands to be part of the movement.
What were some of the hurdles you faced when creating MC Palma?
The largest hurdle was finding the correct location. From the market research it showed us that most brands wanted to be close to the port, with parking near by. The parking was the biggest hurdle as it can be impossible to park in town and after having searched the depths of the commercial property market we finally landed upon Carrer Porto Pi 4!
What’s the 1 piece of advice you would give anyone wanting to work in your industry?
Work hard and have plenty of patience!
MC Palma will be opening their doors next month. To find out how you can exhibit your brand in MC Palma or if you want to come and check out the latest marine products, go to www.mcpalma.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.