Published: December 14, 2020 | Updated: December 15, 2020
Andy and Jonny’s business Precision Hydration is built on hard work and a great deal of sweat
A humble garden shed.
It’s a constant reminder to Andy Blow and Jonny Tye on how far their company has come in the space of nine years.
Precision Hydration may now be trading across the globe and count some of the world’s top professional sportsmen and women among its clients.
But it all began in Andy’s shed.
Which is why a replica version, pictured right, sits in the office of their business based at BizSpace in Christchurch.
Andy, Co-Founder and sports scientist, said: “Seeing your brand across the world gives you a lot of pride but we never forget how we began.
“The shed brings it home to us every day.”
Launched in 2011, Precision Hydration (PH) helps elite athletes and teams personalise their hydration using its unique, at-rest sweat test.
It works with teams in America’s NFL (National Football League), NBA (National Basketball Association), English Premier League, Formula 1 motor racing and the International Rugby Union as well as top pro cyclists, runners and tennis players.
Sweat loss is crucial to sporting performance.
The amount of sweat/sodium lost can vary up to 15 times between seemingly similar individuals and is largely determined by genetics.
It means a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t work when it comes to hydration.
The 45-minute sweat test gives an accurate reading of the amount of sodium lost when exercising.
Sodium is the key electrolyte lost in sweat.
The reading is then combined with information provided by the sportsman or woman during the test to create a personalised hydration strategy.
Precision Hydration advise on when, what and how much to drink before, during and after training and competitions.
It also recommends what strength electrolyte drinks will work best in each scenario.
And it has developed multi-strength electrolyte tablets as off the shelf products often don’t do the job for most people.
Its strongest product, PH 1500, has up to 3.5 times more electrolytes than other brands.
Andy, 42, was formerly the Team Sport Scientist for the Renault and Benetton F1 teams, working with the likes of Mark Webber and Jenson Button.
He was also an elite-level triathlete in the early 2000s winning an XTERRA age group world title.
But it was his own hydration issues as a very salty sweater that led to him setting up PH to help other athletes perfect their hydration strategy.
He was joined by Jonny, pictured right, in 2015 when the original investors in the business were bought out.
Jonny, 27, was a national champion canoeist between 2007-12 and won his first major championship medal in 2009 – a bronze at the European Marathon Championships.
In 2011, he became a double silver medallist at the Marathon World Championships in Singapore.
Since joining forces Andy and Jonny have seen PH go from strength-to-strength.
The business now employs 12 people and has a near £2m turnover with fulfilment centres in Dorset, Australia, Canada and the USA, as well as Sweat Test Centres around the world.
Its products are sold in 60 countries with the UK, USA, Australia and Canada as key markets.
The UK and America make up about 80 per cent of sales with the rest of the world accounting for the remaining 20 per cent.
Although clients are predominately in sport. PH has also worked with railway workers, firefighters and military service personnel.
All are exposed to high levels of heat stress and sweating.
Jonny said PH employed classic shoe leather marketing techniques, travelling all over the world to work with individuals and teams.
However, Covid had hit the business “pretty hard” with professional sport virtually grinding to a halt at one stage.
But, said Jonny: “A key shift in 2018 was to move to a direct-to-consumer online model.
“We wouldn’t be here now if we hadn’t done that.”
Both are confident about the future.
Andy said: “We’re ambitious for sustainable growth.
“We’re looking at developing an energy product in 2021 as well as other technologies.
“In many ways I’m an accidental businessman, falling into it, but both Jonny and I are huge advocates for entrepreneurialism.
“It’s never been a better time for young people to start their own business and if we can help incubate start-ups we will.
Jonny added: “If you have a laptop, phone, an idea and a bit about yourself then the barriers to entry have substantially lowered.
“Both Andy and I are passionate about the business.
“We took a deep breath and went for it.
“It’s not been easy, and every day brings new challenges, but we’ve never regretted it.”