In 2015 we celebrated 25 years of Salix, a milestone which makes us especially proud as despite continual developments in our manufacturing, we are essentially the same company as when we set up in 1990.
Andrew's aim back in 1990 was to build a fully self-sufficient cricket bat making brand, taking raw materials through every process to create bats which would excel in every domain. He took what he had learnt and pushed it still further, and has done so ever since. At Salix's core is the profound belief in excellence and independence, underpinned by an artisan approach even when making bats in the thousands: individual treatment of every cleft.
He undoubtedly achieved this and through what some might consider almost masochistic dedication, has stayed true to these principles, refusing to succumb to mass production or outsourcing to meet the demand which always overwhelms supply.
His reputation in the industry is enviable; Salix can only be found in the best cricket specialist shops in this country and their opinion of Andrew and Salix is much prized – each year at Lords we are always humbled by the response to our new ranges, the automatic recognition of bats and equipment which simply stand on their own.
In 2013 Andrew was invited to speak on behalf of cricket manufacturers at the MCC World Cricket Committee about the balance between bat and ball - initial consultations which led eventually to the recent changes in bat profile dimensions. Speaking in front of this illustrious panel was a huge honour, and followed our involvement in the MCC consultations to revise Law 6 a decade ago, when ‘Type A’ was first introduced.
In 2017 he was recognised as a ‘Living National Treasure’ in a special series about heritage craftspeople in Country Life magazine.
As a family business with an incredible team who all share the same values, we look forward to many more years of artisan manufacturing and to keeping this precious craft alive.
A brief history
1984 Andrew Kember started working at John Newbery at Northiam
1986 Readers acquired Newbery, Andrew working at Teston
1987 Moved to Gray Nicolls making bats for Newbery/Readers
1988 Back to John at Robertsbridge
1989 Left Newbery after John sadly passed away to set up Salix
1990 Salix founded with Andrew & Hugh Betts; full production set up: spindles, planers, saws, press & splicer
1991 Bats made for Zenith, Kookaburra etc
1992 Salix range introduced: Royal, Sapphire, Gem (shorter blade), Response, Whacker
1993 Ian Carey joined Andrew & Hugh
1994 Royal, Gem & Venom (1st triangular toed bat)
1996 Vicky Roberts (now Kember) joined
1997 Salix range: Vantage (with coloured resin shoulders & toe), Xtra-light, Supernatural & Atlas
1998 RAM range launched; Bat Vax launched - first polycarbonate facing
1999 Satyr replaces Supernatural
2001 Præstantia first launched
2003 Zeitgeist introduced
2005 Landmark trip to India to work in SS soft leather factory; The Edge launched
2006 Fera launched to replace Satyr; new range of Salix designed soft leather
2007 The Pod (Pod 1) is born, first all silver labels; Fera has first all white labels
2008 Salix Bat Wax developed and launched
2009 Dæmon launched; rivets first introduced into labels & bag designs; 'Future Prospect' Sam Northeast scores his maiden first class century with his Pod and has huge success against Bangladesh for England U19
2010 Rascal introduced, our first kashmir bat
2011 Ben Bowles joined; Falx launched
2012 Strike launched to join Pod, Præstantia & Falx
2012 New pressing & profiling development completed, Salix flatter face in production & trialled
2013 New flatter faced Pod, Torque & Wasp launched; AJK black label range launched; Hitshard brand launched
2014 New SLX and return of the Supernatural; second workshops in Canterbury fully operational
2015 Catherine joined us; Kit Kember was born and we all celebrated Salix’ quarter century
2016 The Raw launched to showcase the power achieved in Andrew’s profiling/pressing developments; Ben sadly left for a military career but remains a Salix ambassador
2017 New bats, new bags, new soft leather, a new shop. Both the BBC and Al Jazeera filmed at the workshop and Andrew became a Living National Treasure…
With thanks to Nick Wisdom for these precious archive photographs of Andrew and batmakers past.