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From humble beginnings

Mark Bryant

The year was 2005 and Baitworks was born in Mark’s parents’ garage with just £500 saved from his job selling insulation, which he hated. These humble embers ignited and Baitworks has flourished into a well established, thriving bait business that continues to grow.

As a little boy Mark was always fishing, living and breathing it from the age of 10. Making homemade paste baits was always a fascination of his, mixing ingredients that he found in his mother’s kitchen! It was from that early age, catching chub on homemade paste baits, that a future bait baron was learning his trade.

When Mark discovered carp at the age of 10 a whole new world of flavour profiles and bait ingredients opened up. Now he was making boilies at home, still in his mum’s kitchen, much to her annoyance! These mixes caught well and he was soon supplying some of his close friends with secret, under-the-counter hook baits and boilies. It was then that the fire was well and truly lit and the learning process picked up pace.

In order to provide a truly premium product, Baitworks began selling direct to you, the customer, from early on. Cutting out the middleman allowed Mark to formulate the best quality baits, with the finest ingredients, at a price that simply wouldn’t have been possible had he supplied the retail trade. All the other bait compaines have to make their bait and a profit at a much lower cost price than Baitworks has to. Because of this, Baitworks can operate using higher quality ingredients and stimulants.

Simple economics!

Timeline

Our History

Let us take you on a potted, history tour of Baitworks. It’s been a journey, one that we’re extremely proud of. Scroll down to get a better insight into how Baitworks was born…

2005 - The Birth of Baitworks

Dead End Job

My passion has always been angling but my boyhood dream was to play professional football. I even took the plunge and headed to America to work through a very exciting soccer scholarship. Sadly things didn’t quite work out as planned, plus back then soccer was a lot less popular in the states than it is today.

I ended up coming back to the UK playing semi professional football for Bath city while holding down a full time job at an insulation company as a sales executive. I hated my job with a passion and it was becoming clear that my football days were sadly numbered. I set myself a deadline of 30, if I’d not made it with a professional football team by then I’d give up on my football dream. Well my 30’th soon came round but it also coincided with an unfortunate car crash, nothing major but something changed that day!

After a near miss that could have ended very differently I chose to hand my notice in at the Insulation firm I hated, I ended my relationship with my girlfriend at the time and I set up Baitworks with less than £500 in the bank!

I knew if football didn’t happen, it had to be a job in fishing as my passion for angling would ensure I gave it my all.

2008 -2009 - Move and Make

Doubled Capacity

By 2008 we’d already outgrown our little unit so we moved to bigger one, 1000 square feet in fact. Still small on reflection but the business had a solid range of products, anglers were catching loads of carp. Our Atlantic Heat dominated waters and business was good. However my days on hand rolling tables were numbered as I just couldn’t keep up with demand!

So fast forward to 2009 and we decided to make our own 2 roller boilie system, this was a Eureka moment for Baitworks as it doubled our output capacity instantly. Hand tables were retired and my forearms went back to normal size! This was the start of a long investment journey into efficiency and machinery.

2011 - 2012 - Big Move

House Deposit Gone

Between 2009 and 2011 our range of products grew, we added more baits to the range, each and every one made with the best ingredients we could source, at optimum levels. My ethos has always been based around a great product and letting the carp and catch reports do our advertising. In fact our Altantic Heat had already dominated lakes like Wraysbury back when it was granite hard!

The mail order side of the business increased year on year and with a new website launch that allowed customers to order online more efficiently, the company started to grow. We were one of the very early adopters of mail order and it revolutionised our business model.

At the same time we were quickly outgrowing our unit, I needed more space, lots more space. I decided to take a massive risk once again and take on a  new 2000 square feet warehouse, at the same time, around 2012 I also purchased a huge boilie machine which was a massive investment.

That investment wiped out my house deposit, Claire wasn’t sure as we’d worked hard to save but it was now or never to really cement the future of Baitworks. Capacity was never an issue after that and those machines are still rolling your baits to this day!

2015 - 2017 - Touch and Go

Near Fatal Car Crash

Just when all our hard work was starting to pay off, life dealt me a harsh reminder that everything can be gone in a blink of an eye. I was heading back to work one day when I was forced off the road by an oncoming vehicle that was on the opposite side of the road. This resulted in a head on crash with another car that left me with a smashed pelvis, severed arteries, (that I was internally bleeding from) a fractured spine and a bleed on the brain. That day I should have died and I’m forever in debt with the Air Ambulance service for saving my life. If they hadn’t been carrying blood onboard then I would have died at the scene.

Friends and Family came to the rescue while I lay recovering for months. It was an extremely hard road to recovery.

Determined to get back to normality I was soon spending time on the bank in my wheelchair, just baby steps at first but I knew with hard work and determination I’d be walking again in no time. It was this life changing event that made me review things at Baitworks and my priority was to employ some very capable staff who could help me push Baitworks forward.

2018 - Restructring for the Future

Mike Joins Baitworks

The hardest part of growing a business is letting go and delegating when you’ve done it all yourself for so many years, but I knew a solo approach was totally unsustainable.

I’d known Mike Holly for years, in fact he’d been a Baitworks user since day dot so when he joined the Team bringing a wealth of business and marketing experience to the table it was exactly what I needed, support. It was perfect timing and another turning point for Baitworks. Together we worked on restructuring Baitworks, employing more staff, defining a clear marketing strategy and carefully mapping out a vision for what we wanted to achieve over the coming years, we even launched a Podcast!

Mike also helped me understand the importance of delegation and I’m pleased to say the Baitworks team is now stronger than ever with Andy Greening heading up manufacturing and Stacey Booth looking after stock control and purchasing (Take a look at the Meet the Team section for further team details)

I’m proud to say our hard working team of people all play an important role at Baitworks. The best bit has always been receiving customer catch reports, seeing huge smiles and realising that we’ve helped anglers catch some incredible carp. Long may this continue, we love what we do, it’s the best bit about being a Bait Maker.

2021 - Up sticks

South Cerney Site

The latest milestone in the Baitworks journey happened only this year (2021) when we decided to separate our production/manufacturing away from our shop and distribution centre.

Growth has always been carefully considered but after 16 years we needed more space (again) so we took the plunge and moved into a new unit. We say unit, thats all it was and the project was a biggie. Building internal offices, a new shop front, setting up an efficient distribution centre, mapping out the right logistical processes etc was no easy project but we’re in and have plenty of space for the time being…..

The best bit is our new shop is right in the heart of the waterpark, allowing our customers to collect fresh bait over the counter. If you’re passing, pop in for a chat!

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