Elevator Pitch: DisruptSports

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Gary Elphick, founder and CEO of DisruptSports.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

We help people design epic sports equipment. DisruptSports is a ‘Design Your own sports equipment’ platform. We’re a customisation & on-demand manufacture of high quality sports equipment.

Want to downward dog with your dog? Upload a photo and design your own yoga mat. Bored with that boring pingpong table in the office? Design you own. There are no minimum order quantities and a 365 day guarantee. We deliver to the door for the same price as retail

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Our customers are our co-founders. They help tell us what new products and features they’d like to see. Our agency partners have helped shaped our B2B offering and the integrations we’re about to offer and our end customers have helped direct new designers, new product variations and the new regions we open in.

The majority of our equipment is manufactured locally in each market. For example our Australian based sales are mostly made and delivered from around Australia. We’re helping manufacturers become agile and interconnected with the customer base. They receive more revenue per order, more orders in general and a increase in their bottom line

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

Where do I start?

#1 Growing the manufacturing base Sports manufacturing is incredibly complex, even more so when you’re operating in multiple markets. We’ve always believed in only working with top manufacturers of retail goods. These manufactures tend be the best out there so it takes some work to show them the value of on-demand manufacturing. We’ve got lots of good case studies for this around the world so its becoming easier but is still a challenge

#2 People It’s always a challenge to recruit good talent, start-ups are hard and you have to wear many hats. You need to be willing to get your hands dirty as well as grow and evolve. I like to take our time when recruiting so we’re building a strong foundation. Our team are our family and we treat them as such. PS - we’re recruiting ;-)

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

On our B2C platform: We focus on a high quality product with unlimited design options, with each piece made from scratch. We’re not printing on gear already made, the design is an integral part of the manufacturing process.

We’re also focused on pushing the sports retail industry in general, sport is the most passionate subject in the world and sometimes those retail experiences miss the mark. Recently we’ve: introduced shark deterrent designs for surfboards (that we’ve given away for free), launched the worlds first surfboard into space, trailed a range of Braille yoga mats of the blind. In addition we’re about to launch VR customisation and commerce and build two of the world largest pieces of sports equipment.

On our B2B platform: We treat our partners as end customers, just because they work in a business doesn’t mean you treat them any different. They still want to be wow’ed, to be surprised, to laugh and feel part of something

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Agile CRM - I can keep constant track of our dashboards from all areas of the globe, the integrations are amazing and really helps with data collection from all parts of buisnes. That and Slack; Slack's the backbone of our team.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

So many...

Everything you see and touch around you was build by a human, someone just like you.

In a years time, it will be a year a later than today, you’ll get there regardless so what are you worried about?


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