Conversations : Follow the Leader

Follow Season 5

Union has seen Follow grow from thoughts around a small table, to a perch looking over the Wakeboard world. They came from a different angle than most. One of the first true pure wake companies in the world they started on a shoestring to make something from nothing. With the Launch of their fifth season catalog and new website – Follow are ready to take the step from start up to leader. We sat down with Follow creator to talk about the new season and the future – Steve Anderson.

What was the purpose behind Follow?
I decided to have a dig and make a simple and reliable handle range that covers all the Wakeboarder levels, needs and styles, from a rider and retailer point of view. I made a set of samples and a basic excel order form and sent it to my mates within the industry. The rest is history.

What is your background?
15 years in retail working in the most reputable, wake, snow, surf stores in Australia. This was my apprenticeship. I learnt what companies do right and what the majority of the big boys do wrong.

Did you go in with a plan or were you just winging it?
I have really done most decisions with gut feelings. But it’s funny but I did write a business plan, I actually looked back on it a few months back, really the first time I’ve read it since it was written. I was blown away by how the company is achieving those goals and still working on my original thoughts and concepts given the world of business moves so fast, decisions can’t always be planned prior.

How did the first few years go?
A lot of it was trying to learn, and tread water to stay alive. I personally risked everything, sold my house and worked 3 jobs to work on Follow in my spare time while raising a young family. It’s been a hell of a ride and a crazy amount of work and stress, but without the support of my wife – Amica – Follow would not be here today.

How did a small company trading only in Oz get such a good Wake team?
Well I had made some great friends over the years. Chris O, Brenton and Mitch were in from day one. They saw what I was doing and the focus and direction I was taking – having those boys made the start possible. This is what opened the doors for the rest of the team. Everyone involved had the same ideas, loved the direction of the brand and what we stood for. They put their names on products for a very basic commission and took a huge risk, as they had the belief of what we were doing and saw the future of the brand if it took off. This is something I will never forget, the people who supported the brand and believed in myself and the direction. I’m in a life long debt to these guys and it will never be forgotten.

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With Season 5 you are moving towards vests and clothing on top of your handle range Are you looking to be known for more than just Ropes & Handles?
I always had the ambition to move into more categories, but I wanted to do one thing right first. I feel we have a amazing range of ropes and handles but the success of our jacket range has blown me away. We are expanding past a rope and handle company to a lifestyle wakeboard brand. Focused on Hardware originally, our life jacket market has now well outgrown the rope category with a lot of new product in the works for season 5.

What keeps you motivated?
My Family.

What is the future for Follow?
Our plan from here is to focus on strengthening our relationships as we expand into the international market. Let’s make the big boys step up their game and keep them on their toes if they want to stay on top.

Check out their new Website here followmenow.com

Click through the follow catalogue below…

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