Recently, SGB Outdoor attended the launch for Accapi in the UK, and saw a very interesting presentation which was mentioned in the editorial column a couple of issues back. The presentation involved the company’s ‘Photonizer’, a drinks sleeve which uses Nexus Energy Source fabric to apply infra-red energy to liquids, and also a demonstration of the immediate effect skin contact with Nexus has on basic core strength. It was bizarre – and the room was filled with a reasonably cynical group of journalists. We all left puzzled, impressed and certainly intrigued.

Pain relief, faster recovery, somehow increasing basic core strength, greater micro circulation… The benefits are many to wearing Accapi, most notably for the active among us. If you’re not familiar with the products yet – and SGB Outdoor wholeheartedly recommends the Nexus Bodyguard range – we recommend you find out more right now. And with that in mind, we interviewed George Heydon, Co founder of Accapi UK and acting CEO, who told us more about the product and their plans…

SGB: How long has Accapi been around as a company internationally?

GH: Since 1953. They started with sock manufacture and have along history in that. Then they moved into base layers, and have a great record in that.

SGB: But you’re not distributing merino base layers or socks…

GH: The products we are taking from their range to distribute in the UK, are using Nexus fabrics. We have the distribution contract for the entire range, but we’re leading exclusively with Nexus Energy Source. That really is the brand more than Accapi, and we’re pushing that to the front more and more. Accapi UK is the vehicle to distribute these products.

SGB: What are the tiers of the product, and what is the brand’s core?

GH: The Nexus fabric features combined elements of platinum, titanium and aluminum, and this combination produces infra red energy between 4 and 14 microns.

Nexus Energy Source is a great strap line; all it is, is putting energy into the body to work with the body’s natural elements. Infra red in those doses is assimilated into the body in a safe way. It increases micro circulation and has many other benefits too.

The range includes the 24/7 system, which is designed around an athlete or a person ‘rehabbing’, which is worn next to the skin in different ways throughout the day. There’s a full range of active apparel for that, which comes in every shape and size: small boxers, small knickers, cycling shorts, three-quarter shorts, long leggings, t-shirts, vests, long sleeved tops (in round neck, v-neck and zips), short sleeve tops…

These are in two categories: one is Nexus Pro, the fabric of which contains 85 per cent Nexus, which should be worn while training as it increases core strength and micro circulation, but importantly also increases power output and sustains power output. After you’ve showered you then change into Action, which is 46 per cent Nexus, and it’s in a range of sportswear but also leisurewear and pajamas. That means you can go straight into recovery during the day, with the active apparel and the boxers, socks et cetera, then move into the evening where there is clothing like a full Nexus suit (Action tops and bottoms, or a pair of pajamas). You’re getting the best of both worlds that way, with the enhanced performance with Nexus Pro, and with Nexus Action you’re potentially halving your recovery time or rehab.

That’s active apparel; then we come to Bodyguard, one of the strongest parts of the cycle. It again comes in two ‘weights’ of Nexus, Nexus Pro and Nexus Action, depending on where it’s worn. These cover a whole range of joints – shoulders, back, elbow, knee, ankles, wrists etc. The knees and elbows get a lot of hammer from athletes. If these are worn for specific sprains or strains as well as the Nexus apparel, that’s where we’re seeing the best recovery times in terms of rehab and recovery.

Additionally there’s the full range of socks, which go from ‘shore to summit’, which again come in two ranges with Nexus Pro and Action.

Finally, there’s the Photonizer, which is becoming more widely recognised now for its capabilities. This is a sleeve made with Nexus to go on drinks containers; tests that come back from people using this say that people are sweating but don’t smell particularly, because they’re not losing as many electrolytes or potassium from their system. They’re retaining it because of the Photonizer. That’s the final part of the system.

You can see, it’s a 24/7 system potentially, but people can use as much or as little of this as they want to.

SGB: Are you working with professional athletes with this yet?

GH: Yes we have several on board the most recent being Richard Simpson world renowned strongest sports climber and alpinist, and Barry Jameson European Triathlon Champion 2009.  We are working with cutting edge athletes from several different sporting disciplines including rowing, cycling, triathlons & running.

Also footballers we recently supplied product for a very well known player who suffered a pulled hamstring and was supposed to be out for three weeks. We did a presentation to the club, and found out his rehab wasn’t going great. We sent him some Nexus Pro pants, with 85 per cent Nexus fabric, and he played the following Saturday. On the back of that, we’re now trying out Nexus on two other players at the same club, with both Pro and Action.

We’re into four or five Premiership teams experimentally, and a lot of other sports at national level.  We’ve covered a lot of ground in just a couple of months.

SGB: Have you thought about doing a Nexus swimsuit, or a tri-suit?

GH: We will be doing a tri-suit and cycling shorts amongst other new products which we will be launching spring/summer 10.

SGB: How many stores are you in so far?

GH: Well, we’re trying to develop sustainable and long partnerships with around 50 premier retailers in the long term. It takes time to find the right partners, in the fields of outdoor, mountain sports, triathlon, running, biking to begin with. Some will be multiples, and some very high quality independents. So far we actually have commitments to 10 outlets, with the first opening in Keswick. We’ve got another 15 ready to go once we sort out the final details. They are all substantial stores and they are all specialised.

We’ve hit half of our target for the year within our first few months of trading.

At these Centres of Excellence, we’ve designed great POS and I’m personally handling the development of the ‘talent’ on site to instill the knowledge and the passion I have for this product.

We don’t want too many stores because we want to keep them, replenish stock when they need it, and we want their staff to be completely trained, be continuously up to speed with developments. To do that the scale must be manageable.

On the staff development side, we’re aiming to spend three hours with all staff every 90 days. That’s very ambitious, but if you only have 50 or so stores, it’s more achievable.

We might end up with 45 stores, or we may end up with 70. It’s just a ballpark figure we’re working from.