Awake Boards from Linhamn in Sweden is finishing their first year since delivering to customers. Time for an interview with Awake’s Brand Manager Gustav Kjellberg to recap the first season.
We had the chance to interview Gustav's colleague Daniel Aronsson at the beginning of 2019 when Awake was exhibiting at the boot show in Dusseldorf.
Find the video interview with product demonstration below:
Now we wanted to learn what the findings are after the first months. Ok, let's start with our questions ...
When did you ship the first Awake Boards to a customer and how many in total 2019?
The first boards for the season were shipped in at the end of January. The delivery target is three figures, and we have been lucky enough to see zero returns.
To which country /continent are you shipping most to?
The majority of the boards head down to our retailer network in Europe, the most common end destination this season is definitely the Med. Still, thanks to Awake Boards battery certification, which enables global air freight, RÄVIK's have been shipped all across the globe!
Are you only working with resellers or do you also sell direct?
A large majority of our sales go through the authorized retailer network, which is our general business model. We, of course, sell direct as well, but only to markets that haven't been activated by retailers yet.
What kind of resellers and which regions do they cover?
Our retailers are either luxury goods and/or water toys-focused, or straight up tenders & toys-oriented yachting industry professionals.
Are resellers able to repair boards or does everything come back to you?
All authorized retailers get service training after the delivery of their first demo configurations and stock units. Thanks to our modular system, service needs are very low, all that is needed for regular maintenance is a freshwater rinse. When bad luck hits the user, we offer a complimentary 12-month manufacturer's warranty, which basically covers everything short of opening up and tampering with the battery or the engine.
Do all the resellers offer Awake Boards test rides?
The majority yes. We do have a few "lighter" partnerships, which we are very grateful for as well.
What are the key learnings from the first year?
Customer service and fast response is key, and this is something we are very proud to deliver on.
Presence is key; you have to be able to provide service and knowledge in real life, not just over the phone or via email. I have over 100 travel days this year, and I absolutely love it!
What was the biggest success in 2019?
It's hard to measure one simple success during 2019. I would rather say that reaching our goals in sales and at the same time keeping up with deliveries is great. The industry as a whole has seen a lot of broken promises in its young life, and that is one of the things that we are changing.
Where do you see the biggest challenges for you and for the entire industry?
As stated above, a big issue in the industry has been the lack of product delivery, and that is a bad reputation that we are currently changing. Another big thing, which I am glad has been raised by stakeholders across the industry during 2019, e-surfer.com included, is battery safety. We've focused a majority of our development on this particular aspect, and keeping a tight manufacturing, assembly and quality control, we provide our clients with a CE-certified, reliable, premium-quality product — a product which we hope and believe will push the reliability of the whole industry forward.
Are you planning a new or additional Awake Boards model in 2020?
Awake is at its core a development company, and after the success of the RÄVIK, I believe the future is very bright indeed!
When will you visit us in Berlin for deep review?
Anytime, I would love to come visit you!
Well, we are very much looking forward to test the Awake electric surfboard and hope that spring will come soon. If you have further questions to Gustav, please ask them in our forum at: forum.e-surfer.com/t/awake-boards-interview-december-2019
We will follow up with Gustav, so that he can reply to you.