It’s been a very difficult decision to make for us, but we sadly must announce that Pull Up Mate, the revolutionary free-standing pull up bar is no longer being manufactured, and will not return on sale for the foreseeable future. The parent company, AH Digital Ltd. will be closing down, and all retail sales have been halted since May 2023.
Easy question to ask, very difficult to answer. Simply put, there were 2 primary factors: Brexit, and rising costs for materials and labour.
Firstly, we need to point out here that Pull Up Mate (under AH Digital Ltd.) comprised of just a handful of people. The two directors were involved in all aspects of the business, from managing social media, marketing, managing staff, ordering stock and supplies, shipping, and customer service. We had one full-time admin staff, two to three people working in production, and often only one or two people working in dispatch. We really were just a small team, punching above our weight.
We always prided ourselves on the fact that we produced the Pull Up Mate in the UK entirely. Some parts, such as the rubber ferrules and the clips had to be imported from Europe and China. But the steel frame was cut, bent, punched and welded in our factory, or our supplier’s factory, in the Midlands. We developed everything in-house, designing upgrades through CAD, using laser cutting and robot welding for precise engineering, and employing local staff for managing packaging, dispatch, and administration.
Simply put, we were a British manufacturer through and through. Unfortunately, that came back to bite us.
On the global stage, small companies starting out, particularly in manufacturing, in the UK require either a low material cost or a large financial investment (or big brand backing). Purchasing tens of thousands of pounds worth of steel, clips, bags, etc. is just too much for a small startup to take on (we’re not talking small change here – we really did have to commit to ordering 30,000 clips at a time, each around £1 each).
So why not order from China?
This is where the decision became difficult. It’s possible to outsource manufacturing overseas, sure. But there are issues with quality control, delivery times, and product development that we wouldn’t have enough control over. Aside from having to take back our ‘made in Britain’ stamp we proudly wore. There are competitors of ours who took our initial designs and then outsourced production to China, who are still selling. And good luck to them. It was a potential option for us, but in the end, and with things like Brexit, inflation, and transport costs, it would have been impossible for us to keep the price as low.
Charging a higher price for a non-UK made item felt wrong.
In the end, we decided that the time had come to close up the business. Pull Up Mate has been great fun to work on, and we’ve met and worked with some fantastic people and companies along the way, from international fitness stars, to charities, to even supplying the British Army with training equipment. The OCR events we got involved with were an amazing laugh. And developing new ideas and products with our ambassadors and friends was a great learning experience for us all.
So that’s that. A big thank you to everyone who purchased, supplied and/or supported us on this journey (even if all you’ve done is to read this blog post!), and we hope we were able to help in some small way on your own personal adventure.
Peace and love.