[quote style=”boxed”]Live your brand, by that I mean have full control of what is going on in your company, your competitors and the market you are operating in.[/quote]
Before founding SUBTECH SPORTS in Sydney Australia in 2011 Erik has started and managed several start-ups where health & lifestyle company Swedish Healing Mat was his latest endeavor reaching significant success in Australia where the products are sold in over 300 pharmacies and leading health food stores.
Born in Sweden Erik has traveled the world and always with a business mind at hand. Prior to his role as a serial entrepreneur Erik had a corporate career as Marketing Executive at both L’Oréal and Adidas for the Nordic countries.
SUBTECH is a company that takes adventure, freedom and fun to a whole new level by providing the ultimate in 100% water & shockproof solutions for your smartphone, tablet and other electronics.
The company started out 2011 in Sydney, expanded successfully to Europe 2012 and we are now in the process of entering the US market. Today we work with the major telecom, electronics and sport & adventure retail chains and have just recently expanded in to travel retail where our products will be sold at airport and on airplanes in Europe. Visit our webpage SubtechSports.com to learn more about us and our product series.
What are you working on right now?
We are just in the process of launching a new product line called X-Mount Series.
SUBTECH X-Mount Series consist of different specialized mounts enabling you to record your own action videos with your smartphone. First out to launch in the X-Mount Series is the Chest Mount (available for both apple and android phones), which is specially designed to be adjusted to different angels to work optimally for all different types of adventure and extreme sports.
Where did the idea for SUBTECH SPORTS come from?
I have always loved all kinds of sports growing up and especially adventure sports. So when I moved to Sydney, Australia in 2009 it was a natural step for me to make the most out of everything this beautiful city had to offer: with beautiful beaches to go surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and diving. The harbor to go sailing, SUP-boarding and kayaking. The mountains to go skiing, mountainbiking and hiking etc.
At that time I had started up another company so I was enjoying the fact that I could manage my own time, which meant I could head off during the middle of the day for a few hours. It was such a freedom but I found it very frustrating because it was always during these few hours I was out that I missed that one important phone call I had been waiting for the whole week. Or even more annoying that I couldn’t capture my experiences on photo/video and share it with friends and family back home. So it was after one of my kayak sessions on Sydney harbor where I spotted a shark without being able to capture the experience that the idea of SUBTECH was born.
How do you make money?
We sell our products via distributors around the world that have their own sales force in place with the right connections to get in to the major retailers on each market. The fact that we also are selling our product in both telecom/electronics market as well as the sports & adventure market make us an interesting brand in a wider range of retailers. Lately we have also expanded in to travel retail where our products will be sold at airports and on airplanes which is a market we see huge potential in.
What does your typical day look like?
I always wake up without setting my alarm around 6:30 then jump on the computer first thing to check the emails that have come in during the night since I work with people in different time zones. Then I enjoy a long breakfast with the newspaper and reading up on news online that is relevant for the business. The rest of the day is usually very intense with both physical meetings and skype meetings but I always take time to do at least one sport activity per day because that is the only time when I’m really tuning out from my work mode. The night usually ends after midnight working on the more creative, future ideas.
How do you bring ideas to life?
An old boss told me that they key to success is to live your brand, which is something I try to live by. I have a genuine passion for everything within adventure and extreme sports and it’s when I’m out there doing what I love that I come up with the idea of a potential new product.
As part of our company we have also put together TEAM SUBTECH, which consist of professional athletes from around the world that help test our new upcoming products-constantly pushing the limits, in order for us to keep developing cool new products.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
How fast the mobile phones have developed, considering they didn’t even exist when I was born and today they are so much more than just a mobile phone. Today it’s your computer, camera/video camera, your toy for your kids, your social communicator with your friends from around the world etc. and the new area of use are just expanding for every new launch of a smartphone device.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked as telephone sales rep one summer when I was young. I hated it but it really triggered my passion for sales because I quickly learnt that the better I got at understanding and dealing with different people and adjust after the situation the easier it was to close the deal.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently, you make a decision there and then because of the information that you have at the time and as long as I feel confident that I have done my very best I never look back and regret things or analyze what I should have done differently.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Live your brand, by that I mean have full control of what is going on in your company, your competitors and the market you are operating in. It’s you who run the company and make all the game changing decisions and to be able to do that you need to know exactly what is going on and what the next step is going to be.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As a true optimist I don’t see incidents as failure. I see it as a very valuable lesson learned. That I will most likely never repeat.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have had a lot of business ideas but one thing I have thought about for some time is selling men’s underwear online. Selling B2C online with the right people that do the branding, marketing, promoting, PR, advertising, SEO, adwords etc. could be a gold mine and wouldn’t cost too much to set up or running cost associated with it.
If there is anyone who reads this and are interested and competent to run it, hit me up because I would love to get involved!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I have another company that is dontating $1 for every product sold to Cancer research and I sincerely hope that this small gesture can help our future generation so they don’t have to looe a close one to this horrible disease.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m an adrenaline junkie and love the most things that gives me that rush but strangely enough ever since I started my first company I have got enough excitement out of the uncertainty and risk that is associated with it.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
-Webshop carts- to analyze your online sales.
-Google analytics- to analyze all the data about the people visiting your site.
-Social media- to try and connect with your existing customers and understand their needs.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I very seldom have time to read books! The last book I read was Richard Branson’s Autobiography- Losing the Virginity. I can strongly recommend this book. It gave me the passion and drive to try and go out and follow my dream of starting my own company.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I don’t follow anyone from my personal twitter other than my brother. We only communicate strictly to each other and have locked access for everyone else, something we got started with when I was living in Australia as a way of minimizing the social distance of living a world apart.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laughed out loud just before this interview after talking to my brother; we have the same sense of bad humor ☺
Who is your hero?
I’m very close to my whole family and they are all a big part of my life and I love them very much but as a hero I would say my dad. He has always been there for me no matter what and has been a huge support for my business and me! Without him, SUBTECH would definitely not be where it is today and I’m deeply thankful for that!
What should we look out for next at SUBTECH?
We have a lot of new exciting products inthe pipeline. Our TEAM SUBTECH are currently testing our POV X-Mount Series- allowing you to take your own action shots/videos by simply attaching your smartphone to your helmet, board, bike, car etc.
These products will of course work perfect in combination with our other product series and will be a great substitute for everyone who doesn’t want to spend $300-$700 when you have the option to use your own smartphone that already has a camera that is equal to, or in most cases even better than i.e a GoPro camera.
What is your next goal in life?
My next goal is to build a family and keep doing what I love which is combining my true passion for sports and at the same time make a living out of it.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.