The man behind the scenes – Follow founder and Brand Manager Steven Anderson was down for a chat about his brand, the German Wakeboard Community, Cable Mekka Awards 2020 and what it’s all about.
He is the guy who not only founded Follow Wake ten years ago, but also the one who is still running it and mainly responsibly for the great products which found so many lovers all over the globe. His name: Steven Anderson. Steve has been a loyal partner for years now, but besides it’s always fun chatting with him. So did we some days ago.
You didn’t hear good news from Downunder over here in Europe within the last weeks. Massive fires taking over the whole country, millions of animals being killed, people not only losing their homes but some also their lifes and many of that besides. So first question to Steve was, if he suffered from that anyhow. Good thing: he didn’t. So we facetimed. He, sitting in a shirt on his veranda at Gold Coast surrounded by rain (everyone not only over there, was hoping for). Me, in my office, constant rain outside, but unfriendly temperatures.
Hi Steve, how are you?
Steve: I’m fine. Finally it’s raining, so that’s good.
Tell me something about the Follow history. It all started as a garage brand ten years ago and now Follow is a kind of leader in our industry.
Steve: I had a vision and ten years later, it’s still the same. Maybe that’s why so many people like it. Our key has always been, “product first”. People say, we are so unique and our products are so pretty. But that’s actually the last thing we focus on. Our goal is to make the best product in the world. My mission is to make the best black product, because the other bits with colors will follow easy. I would always buy a black product, so that is why I’m focussing on that. (laughs) And another thing is marketing. We always tried to stick to that family thing and it seems to be the right way. At least for our brand. We don’t watch what other brands do, we just focus on our own business. Im too busy doing what we’re doing, so there is no time to see what the others do. Therefor I would never claim to lead, but we’re watching everyone else follow. Another important point: my wife always supported me. Behind every great men is a better woman, though.
“My mission is to make the best black product, because the other bits with colors will follow easy.“
So, you are just releasing season ten. Are you curious about that?
Steve: Season ten is great and we did the next step with it. We’ll release the Follow layering stuff this year. But our goal is not only to sell great products and make money, but it has to have a technical feature. As people don’t want to look like Batman, we were thinking about, how to change that. So it came down to layering. It’s the next evolution. It’s a really good price pointed product with a technical feature for our sport, but you can also snowboard it, if you want to. I actually put it in my backpack and if it’s raining, I put my jacket on. And if I go to the cable park and it’s windy and cold, I put my jacket on. And if I’m snowboarding, I’ll take my jacket.
“As people don’t want to look like Batman, we were thinking about, how to change that. So it came down to layering.“
This means you’re products are now much more of the lifestyle kind and not only for the session on water?
Steve: Yeah. We are all trying to find the balance between work and fun. So if we build products, we can use in every day life, but also as a functioning product in our sport, we achieved what we wanted. And we focus on the touch and feel, so people get hyped for our products.
What’s your personal background with wakeboarding?
Steve: It all started with snowboarding. Later I worked for snowboard-, skate- or surf-stores. But I remember the first time I rode cable back in 2000/01. Back than Bernhard Hinterberger was doing a season in Australia and I watched him doing a backroll of the startdock. I thought, this is amazing. I want to do it as well. (laughs) This introduced me into the sport.
So it took ten years to start your own company. It all began with producing handles, right? Did you already have a plan to do vests, wetsuits and all this stuff, back than?
Steve: Yeah, the initial product were handles, because this was easy for me to manage in my back-office and it was a high price point for a product, that fits into a small package. I had a vision that the handles are a steppingstone to a vest and the vest leads to a lifestyle brand. And it worked out.
You’re from Australia and therefore quite far away from german community. What are your thoughts about it and why is it important to you?
Steve: The german market is really going forward like we do with our brand. And with all your wakeparks and community it’s so important for us. We trust in The Cable and do partnerships with you. Because what you guys are doing is bigger than just influencing in german market. It’s on a global scale and that is why The Cable should have an english outlet as well.
You even supported the Cable Mekka Awards for the second time in a row. How comes that you dedicate so much attention and support to these awards? Is it because there are no awards anymore at your’s?
Steve: I think it’s unique also in a global context. What I really like the procedure with the nominations, and the process involved in deciding the winners. In the end there is no political influence who wins an award, but it’s those who showed up the most and are really the best in our sports. We need to stay relevant and visible and supporting such an event is one way to reach that goal.
“In the end there is no political influence who wins an award, but it’s those who showed up the most and are really the best in our sports.“
We appreciate that. So, some final words. Maybe about season 10?
Steve: We put so much blood, sweat and tears into season 10 and can’t wait to show it. Besides that, I’m already working on season 11. (laughs)
We’re curious about it and looking forward to your new range. Already mark your calendars for next years awards, because we don’t want you to miss them again. January 29th 2021 will be the date. Thanks for your time and telling us some background stories about Follow.
And everybody else. Have a look at season 10, as we talked quite some time about it. The whole catalogue and some additional pictures and stuff can be found here: Follow Season Ten.
Photos: Follow & private