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 2014 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.
The Salix Cricket Bat Company was established in 1990 with the aim of producing handmade cricket bats of the highest quality. Its founder and owner, Andrew Kember, trained with a well known maker until 1989, then set Salix up as an independent bat manufacturing company, capable of producing exceptional, handmade bats and high specification protective equipment.
The way in which the company entered an already saturated market was to base everything on quality, through handmaking the bats in-house to exacting standards and maintaining total control of the product. With limited resources for sponsorship and marketing, the name grew through word of mouth and the refusal to mass produce. Now, the profile of the brand is totally disproportionate to the volume of bats sold, with demand outstripping supply each season, yet the company expands year on year.
The theory behind the bat making is simple: the best raw materials available, attention to detail and treatment of each bat individually at every stage of manufacture. In combination with considerable experience right through the bat making processes, from planting onwards, the bats and equipment are now firmly established at the top of any cricket range and the top of many batting orders.
Good bat making is a kind of alchemy: turning basic, natural raw materials into something very special; achieving this quality consistently, and independently, is what sets Salix apart.
For over 30 years we have been committed to making our bats in-house from cleft to finish. All of our senior bats are 100% independently Salix made, by hand, to the highest levels in the industry. There is no more labour intensive bat, they are not outsourced and are totally CNC free.
Our junior bats are machined, pressed, shaped and finished in our workshops and again represent a unique and incredibly labour intensive product. Every single bat still passes through the same Salix craftsmen’s hands many times over to amplify quality and performance.
The value of a Salix remains rooted in our in house processing which handles every cleft individually. Our aim is always to maximise the potential in every blade which is made possible by our unique principles of keeping every stage in Salix hands: the batmaking benchmark.
Arguably the most vital part of all these processes is the pressing and this is an area in which we have specialised for many years. We pioneered the bow in English bat making and in recent years managed to combine this deep bow with the flatter face, taking another huge leap in performance. We continue to specialise in fuller backs which offer genuine power but require complex and precise machining and sanding to preserve balance. Year on year our bats become more powerful, yet retain the magical balance, pick-up and finish for which we are renowned.
Salix bats are not just conventional bat making, but the culmination of years of experience, development and investment to inspire and reward the most discerning and demanding players.