Scott Huskinson tests out headphones marketed under the brand-name Ear Pollution. (Photo by Steve Eaton)
Scott Huskinson does not think of the factories and people who work for him in China as vending machines.
Huskinson, who completed his Bachelor’s in 2001, is the CEO and president of Reminderband and ifrogz. Reminderband is a firm that makes silicone bracelets and wristbands like the ones calling attention to the fight against cancer that cyclist Lance Armstrong made popular, and ifrogz is a company that makes iPod accessories.
He’s been told his way of doing business with the Chinese is a little different than the norm.
Huskinson thinks one reason some American businesses have had quality problems with the goods they manufactured in China is that they do not always treat the Chinese companies they work with fairly. American firms will come back and demand lower and lower prices, forcing their Chinese partners to cut corners or do anything they can to meet demands, he said. They are treated not like people but “like a vending machine that is going to kick out product,” Huskinson said.
Huskinson said when he’s working with a factory in China, he’ll sometimes pay higher than the first bid for his product, because he wants to be sure he’s negotiated a fair arrangement for them.
“It has to do with mutual respect,” he said. “We are looking out for their interests, and they are looking out for ours.”
Scott Huskinson (Photo by Troy Oldham)
Huskinson, who was recognized with Huntsman School’s Professional Achievement Award in 2008, said he was warned his Chinese suppliers may steal his ideas and break off and manufacture knock-off items on their own. He’s not found that to be a problem.
“We’ve been fortunate to partner with the right people, from the very beginning,” he said.
In fact, one time when he distributed a product that didn’t sell well and he was asked to buy it back, his Chinese supplier even offered to absorb some of the loss with him.
Huskinson must be doing something right. He reports that his two companies have already passed their sales totals for last year, and he expects revenues to triple his 2008 totals. His products are sold in more than 20 countries.
Reminderband got its start after someone asked him if he could get some wristbands made up for USU on short notice. Because Huskinson had developed connections in China, he was able to deliver for Utah State; and when Deseret Book was in the market for some bands, he was ready with 7,000, each one with the phrase “Choose The Right” stamped on it.
You can learn more about ifrogz at http://ifrogz.com/.