Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves
21 Nov 2014Two MBA students from the University of Sydney, Gary Elphick and Jason Rogers, have taken the sports market by storm with a progressive new business concept which allows customers to affordably customise their surfboards.
Disrupt Surfing is one of a growing number of enterprises dispensing with the traditional business model of designing products in a studio, manufacturing them in a factory and displaying them in a store. Instead, it offers an online service allowing customers to design products according to their desired size, shape and colour. Using the latest technology, Disrupt Surfing creates 3D renders of the customer's desired board which is then used in the manufacturing process.
"3D printing, modelling and manufacturing are going to revolutionise the way the world thinks of their sports gear. You should never have to settle for anything less than exactly what you want." said Disrupt Surfing Co-Founder, Gary.
The company has been in operation for only six months and is already cash flow positive, selling over a thousand products to happy customers from the USA and Kenya, to Japan. So successful is the start-up that Gary and Jason extended their customisation to other sports lines such as kite surfing, snowboarding and stand up paddle boards.
"The level of customisation we are able to provide is almost limitless," said Jason. "You can visualise a customer's character through how they personalise their sports gear – a shark proof surf board, a leopard skin print snowboard or a bumblebee stand up paddle board. It says a lot about a person."
"Our sports gear is made in the same location, using the same materials and engineering as many big surf brands. We only sell online and ship direct. We offer 100% customised boards at 50% of the cost," he said.
Both Gary and Jason attribute much of the success of their start-up to the practical nature of their MBA program. Learning from experienced business professionals about leading teams, managing a business and seizing opportunities has helped them avoid the pitfalls a lot of start-ups face. The program also encouraged the duo to be progressive leaders.
Apart from a practical MBA program, further impetus was given to the business when the pair won the Best Commercial Enterprise Award in the Sydney Genesis Start-up Program, and a place in the muru-D program, supported by Telstra, which includes $40,000 and six months of business mentoring and development.
"People are either going to love us or hate us. It's a very polarising concept, especially for traditionalists and traditional retailers. You can expect to see a lot of commentary." said Gary.
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