Industry Profile: C3 Worldwide Sales Manager Johan Malkoski
19 Sep, 2008
Industry Profile: C3 Worldwide Sales Manager Johan Malkoski
Johan: My real name is John but a hockey playing meathead roommate from 20 years ago thought that Johan was a better name and it stuck. I’m 6’3″, 210 pounds of twisted steel, bald, larger than normal nose, 41 years old, married with 2 kids. I grew up on the south shore of MA and after graduating from a state college in a fast and furious 5 years moved out west to Steamboat Springs, Coloradical to avoid a real job. I thought that was going to last a year or so and ended up spending 8 there shredding and being a typical mountain town alcoholic. Migrated to Seattle after that and we’ve been out here for 11 years now. I have a knack for making rough first impressions, most likely it’s the Masshole in me. Or maybe it’s because I like to start at the bottom and work my way up because if you start at the top there’s no where to go but down. I don’t know, I’m working on the problem though.
Shay: C3 Worldwide is the parent company for what brands?
Johan: Capita, Coal, Union and Defcon.
Shay: What is your job title?
Johan: Sales Manager
Shay: What is your role at C3 as the sales manager?
Johan: Baby sitter and hand holder. But to get tech, I work with assisting our sales force selling our goods, retailers buying our goods and product managers making our goods. Sort of a middle man between all three.
Shay: What was your first job?
Johan: Bike tech at Yesteryear Cyclery in New Bedford MA.
Shay: Prior to C3, what other jobs/companies have you worked at?
Johan: Northwave/Drake/Bakoda as Sales Manager, Wave Rave Snowboard Clothing as the same and Powder Tools Board Shops as the Buyer/Store Manager. I also worked in a few bike shops, bartended and waited a table or two.
Shay: How did you end up in your job with C3?
Johan: There was a group of us that worked together at Northwave for a long time and didn’t like the southern direction the parent company was going, so we collectively bailed and put all our money in a hat and started C3. We bought Capita, started Coal and Union and acquired Defcon down the line.
Shay: What experience/education did you have before getting the job?
Johan: BS in Geography with a concentration in travel tourism management. The only thing that has to do with my job is it helps me in booking all my own travel and organizing our sales meetings. None of my jobs have come from a resume. They all came by referral. The old saying of who you know is more important that what you know definitely applies here and in this business. My experience comes from running a snowboard shop and interacting with all the contacts that came through. A buddy gave me some great advice a long time ago that if you want to fly with the owls at night, you better be able to soar with the eagles in the morning. Be a pro the next day after being an idiot that night. Always follow industry interaction up with a thank you note, or something personable to show you can play both sides of the fence.
Shay: What are some factors that led to the success of brands within C3?
Johan: How about moderate growth? Every year is a new challenge no matter how much you grow. Growth costs money and some people go out of business because they can’t finance the growth. We’ve had some successes and plenty of challenges. The snow biz is a completely different animal than it was 10 years ago. Consolidation within the marketplace, cautiousness with retailers, the X-Gayming of the sport, $100 lift tickets, lack of snow, gas prices…etc. In the end we just want to build a respectable business. One where our reps, retailers, athletes and of course ourselves make an enjoyable living. So to answer the question it would be great product, incredible reps, retailer loyalty and being part of a good program.
Shay: Do you find that having a variety of products (snowboards, bindings, soft goods) that helps C3 in the overall market place?
Johan: We have what you’d call a multi branded strategy. If a retailer isn’t particularly feeling one of our brands, they may be into one of the other ones. So in theory we can sell most of the retailers out there at least one of our products.
Shay: Do each of C3’s brands have their own image or are the images melted together?
Johan: Each brand definitely has its own personality. Each brand manager is responsible for the brand image which I think they have done an awesome job of making each of the brands look and feel unique.
Shay: What is your favorite C3 product?
Johan: I’m into all of them but if I had to pick one, I think our bindings are pretty insane. Not to claim, but there isn’t anything on the market that can touch them. The Union saying is “you ride, you buy.”
Shay: What’s your average day like at work?
Johan: Roll in at 9 after dropping one of the rats off at school, check emails, reply, look at the snowboard sites, call the reps, resolve the day’s problems and work on what ever projects I got going during that particular time of year the rest of the day. Right now I’m working on our winter sales meeting that we got going on over in Rome Italy. I travel from Sept – December, then after the holiday break, travel Jan – March. I do my best to get to the pool and swim a couple laps during the week to keep my back from getting old. Then end the work day with a beer or two with George from Union, get a quick glance at Youporn and then write up a stupid blurb and post it on the-tackledbox. Go home around 6 and get dragged to the skate park, BMX track or whatever one of the many other activities my boys got going on. Basketball, baseball or soccer. That shit never ends.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working at C3?
Johan: Turning 40 while on a road trip in Nor Cal. One of our good friends and retailers John Chapman from Porters organized an unbelievable spread at a sushi spot in Tahoe for the celebration. Some of my friends that I know there showed up, along with a bunch of Chappy’s Tahoe bro’s. Shawn Farmer was there and asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday. I said, “I want an original Shawn Farmer rap.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQIYeUCRIO8) And he did. It was the greatest fucking rhyme of all time. It drilled a hole in my head and put it into my mind…
Getting tied up and having the shit beat out of me at a dominatrix bar in NY City was pretty memorable. But I don’t want to talk about that right now.
All the travel with our rep force is pretty memorable. Each of our reps is a story in itself, so the road trips are pretty good. It’s cool when you get off an 8 hour drive and realize that the radio never got turned on.
Shay: How is working for C3 (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Johan: It’s only work if you make a job. Work to me is pounding nails, selling mortgages, or some shit that you’re like “FUCK I got to go to work.” For the most part that doesn’t happen here. I get up and work with people that like to snowboard. I’m also a huge fan of snowboarding. I love reading the mags and watching the vids. So naturally I have heroes in the sport. Perks would be that I’ve gotten to meet, hang and ride with a bunch of them over the years. Zumiez does this 100K event every year. They bring any kid from their stores that sells over 100K to a two day snowboard fiesta where every A-Lister from skate, snow and surf shows up to hang with the kids. Well we were at an after party with a few of the store managers and Terje was there, hammered off his gourd. He was getting a little feisty so we told him to sit his ass down. We then found a bucket of cashews and while he was passed out on a couch across the room, we sat there and had a target practice session on his dome. He had some ferocious welts too. Waking up the next day reminiscing about spending the evening with some Zumiez shop managers and firing nuts at the greatest snowboarder who ever graced the planets head was pretty damn funny. My wife thought it was mean though.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Johan: A trip to Haines AK two years ago. We left Seattle at 8AM arrived in Haines at noonish. Got picked up by the dude that owns the heli service, Sean Dog and rolled out to the heli pad. “Get ready boys, your flying today” he said. Did our heli orientation and by 1:30 we were getting some. Got 6 runs in that day, 7 the next and then 7 more the following day guided by Tom Burt. 7 runs on a heli with 3 good friends, in AK, the MAN Tom Burt taking us to his spots, us shitting our pants, it was incredible. Partied that night and caught a flight out of there the next day. We were like rock stars that week. The perk was that the trip was a bet between my boss and me on a certain sales goal. When we went up there, I paid for everything because it appeared that I had lost the bet. Upon further investigation when we returned, the fact was that I had won by a smidgen. He had to cut me a fat check. Thanks Gumby.
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Johan: Like that I sit at a desk working with excel sheets trying to analyze snowboarding? Looking at figures and finding “trends?” Being in Las Vegas for 9 days when our tradeshow is 3 and a half days long? Vegas will kill you. Nothing like standing on concrete talking about snowboarding vs. being actually out there doing it. Dealing with people that clearly have no interest in snowboarding but are part of the snowboard industry? “Man this boarding business looks fun, I got to try it one day. Is it hard? I mean I rode a donkey in Mexico once so I think I can handle it.” Yea there are a few disadvantages.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Johan: August thru April. From getting the goods out the door to getting the orders in.
Shay: How many days a year do you travel?
Johan: Well I’m Gold with Alaska Airlines, which is a good thing to have as there’s no waiting in lines for me at the airport. Most of the time that I book coach they upgrade me to fly first class. “Welcome aboard Mr. Malkoski.” I like hearing that, especially since I’m usually wearing a tee shirt and some stuck up suit’s sitting next to me wondering why the hell I’m sitting in first class next to him. I probably traveled 80 days or so on business last year. Not counting personal travel and snowboarding travel. Since having kids I try to only travel during the week days and be home for the weekends. Besides SIA and sales meetings I’m home every weekend.
Shay: Education vs. Experience…which do you think is more important?
Johan: Both. Education gives you the tools, but the experience shows you how to use them.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to become a sales manager?
Johan: Have higher aspirations for yourself. Like mom said, “you can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it.” So why stop at a sales manager when you could be an X-Gaymes skateboarder and have your own reality show? Or be a beer rep, bank teller or something cool like that. But a sales jockey? Hell no.
Shay: Since you started working in the snowboarding industry, what’s been the best technology advance in snowboarding?
Johan: Let’s see there’s been so many of them. Where do I start? Step in bindings and boots, cut down tips and tails, baseless bindings, cap boards, reclining high backs, dual camber, no camber and reverse camber snowboards, triple bases, 4 edges, did I say step ins?, all over prints, asymmetrical side cut, plate bindings, hard boots, carving boards, power plates, boarder cross, bandana’s as face protectors, low backs, locking stomp pads, tall tee’s, goggle sag, flair, leash laws, shoe laces as belts, detachable leashes, “green” snowboards, the Freedumb Groove, Slider System, Step Ins, wavy edges, rounded edges….the list goes on for advancements. I’m all for technology, like my I-Pod that got stolen held around 8000 songs. Now that’s technology!
For real though it would be venting in pant legs, for the prevention of bat wings.
Shay: Is there room in the snowboard market for new brands?
Johan: There’s always room for something new and unique. But you better have some fat pockets to let the world know how new and unique it is.
Shay: Do you try out other companies products?
Johan: All the time. I enjoy riding product from everyone. It’s pretty tough to find crappy product these days but then again very easy to find gimmicky goods. Lots of people are out there trying to market that a square tire rolls faster than a round one.
I think the dudes at Mervin are on point with doing what ever the hell they do these days, whether it’s legit or not, it’s awesome. I would want to be a part the Pete and Mike circus if I didn’t work here. Shit, I can’t wait till they come out with cambered surfboards that have side cut! Rome’s got a good vibe going. Ride and K2 have some wicked product on the shelves. Unity is a diamond in the ruff. Stepchild’s raditude is killer. Arbors got that under the radar thing going. I like the determination of Flow. Holden’s uniqueness is needed as is Airblasters. Basically I’m a fan of a lot of things in snowboarding.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Johan: This will be my 24th year of hacking my way around a mountain sideways and 20th season pass.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Johan: 75 days this past year. It was a good year in the North West so I did a lot of work from my “off site” office at Stevens Pass.
Shay: What was your first set up?
Johan: A Skeeter my Mom got me in 1983. Then in college, my room mate and I drove to the Burton Factory in Manchester Center VT and bought a couple of Elite 140’s for $120. We wanted the 150’s but they were like $20 more and we bought booze instead. That was in 1987. We’d bounce our asses on our dorm room beds doing donkey kicks hoping the chicks would dig us. They didn’t and thought we were gay. Our local hill was Tenny Mountain in NH and you had to get certified before they’d let you shred. I still have that card.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Johan: Capita Black Death Inc 62 with Union Force SL’s, Deeluxe ID boots, Volcom Gore Tex coat and pant, Defcon Transistor gloves, Coal Revert beanie AND MTF fleece neck gator, VZ goggles. Then in the quiver I have a misty custom 168 tapered pow board. We don’t make anything that size in the current Capita line so Paul Maravetz from Rome let the guys at the factory put a Capita top sheet and base on their Notch powder shape so I could ride a pow stick in powder with our logo’s looking up at me. Thank you Paul, that was cool. I also have a 170 taper tail from Unity for powder that’s in heavy rotation also. We get snow here in the NW.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Johan: Any day on the hill with my sons, Milo and Mac. Anyone that has kids has to say that but I think I mean it especially when I watch how bad my 8 year old is kicking my ass in the park after two seasons of shredding. I like to make short videos of their progression to try and make me feel like I’m progressing.
Then of course riding fluffy white stuff at Stevens. Or any day that the sun is shining and its warm doing park laps. Kicking out a mellow method makes any day great come to think of it. As long as you grab between the bindings. None of that euro tip grab crap unless you’re a European.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Johan: Work wise it would be the people I’ve been working with for the last 10 years or so. For sure, I think we make a pretty good team. We round out each others rough edges. Or try to at least.
Dudes with vision and loyalty like the Kind Brother and Klocker, two of our reps are also a big influence or maybe their an inspiration?
Shred wise, it would be people that shred for the sake of shredding, with no other agenda. Ben Pelinegro from Milo would be that guy. So would Gorio Bustamante from Evo. Add in Luke Edger from Skull Candy. Those three are in their older years and charging like no other with nothing to prove except that their smile is bigger than yours at the end of the day.
Pro Snowboarder status wise it would be Temple Cummins. He should be a lot of folks shred influence. Temps the snowboarding worlds most under rated rider.
*Photos courtesy of Johan Malkoski
*Photos courtesy of Johan Malkoski