Industry

A chat with JMac (Johnny McLean)

Author: Aaryn Minerds

Author: Aaryn Minerds

Posted:

Jonny about to get to work in the mud at round two of SuperX.
Lusty Industries is a growing action sports company that has a strong foothold in the distribution in Australian motocross, with well known brands such as Ogio, Von Zipper, Go Pro, DEFT Gloves and Ethika underwear heading up the line up of products currently imported into Australia, Lusty Industries is looking at a very bright future.

The man behind Lusty Industries is Johnny Mclean, otherwise known as JMac. Johnny started small importing RacerX products into Australia while completing an electrical apprenticeship after his priorities changed from racing due to injuries and work commitments. The company has grown from a single line of products into one of the most progressive action sports distribution companies in Australia.

I have been lucky enough to get to know Johnny a little more during this year, mostly in the lead up to race events where he proceeded to pass me like I was standing still, he certainly can still ride!, or in the case of the first corner at Coolum join be on the ground in the dirt!

I finally had the chance to speak to Johnny with a microphone in hand at round one of the Monster Energy SuperX series in Melbourne a few weeks back, to have a chat about the business he started in Lusty Industries, and how he turned the company from a hobby into a profitable small company employing over 20 staff members today.





Fullnoise : Take us for a walk down history lane, what is it that you did before you even got to a point in your life where you started your own importing business.

Johnny: Like most I was a battling racing, a mortgage and work commitments, more passionate then sensible, just living week to week so I could race, everything was based around going racing.

Along the way I had a few breaks and injuries and started to get a little older, then in 2001 while I was doing my apprenticeship as an electrician at a round of the Thumper Nats I crashed and suffered a big break in the leg. I Continued with my apprenticeship and then tried to combine living off an apprentice wage and racing, that didn’t work so I started up Lusty on the side. It started as a hobby and slowly turned into a full time business.

Fullnoise : How did the hobby that was Lusty Industries, turn into the Lusty Industries as we know it today?

Johnny: It started out with RacerX illustrated magazine and their clothing; I had always read that magazine and also viewed their web site from day one. I noticed that they had come up with their own small casual clothing range, I threw a bunch of money at it, placed a few adds and got the ball rolling, bringing over the casual wear and selling it, I started by running it from a spare bedroom and grew it from there.

Fullnoise : So how exactly did you start importing and selling the RacerX line in Australia?

Johnny: I ordered a heap of stock, placed a few advertisements in magazines, and the next thing I knew the phone was ringing and the fax was going off, my girlfriend was at University at the time and was posting the goods out between classes and before and after Uni, that got the wheel churning.

Fullnoise : How did you grow from there, was it a just a matter of thinking well this is working let’s look for more lines to import?

Johnny: We continued with the RacerX gear for a while and the momentum started to build, then I noticed OGIO starting popping up on athletes such as Nate Adams, Travis Pastrana and a bunch of guys in the US so i approached them. We then went with a small grip brand and also High Roller tie downs which is still with us to this day and it just started to Snowball.

We then headed to the Melbourne motorcycle expo in 2004 with the brands we had on board and meet up with Chris from Raceline who had just started up as well; together we headed to the Australian Motorcycle Expo in Melbourne and made alot of good contacts and met alot of great people. There were quite few decisions in the early days that were learning curves. I was able to walk away from that experience with a lot of new contacts and new found motivation.

Really from that point my motivation was to go from working as an electrical engineer and part time importer, to building a distribution company and running a full time business.

Be sure to check out the new Lusty Industries web site: www.lustyindustries.com
Fullnoise : How did you find the management side of the business? Coming from an electrical apprenticeship and qualified electrical engineer to running your own business in a completely different field are worlds apart from each other.

Johnny: The only experience I really had was from working in retail when I was younger; let’s just say I learnt a lot from some costly mistakes. I have been fortunate in a lot of way and have had some good people by my side and some great athletes support my products from the start, People like Kevin Wiliams, Gaz from Fullnoise, the crew from Freerider, Dirt Action and most fo the newer publications and websites plus our familie of athletes like Ando, Bilko, Cam Sinclair, Maddo, the Marmont brothers and Cody Mackie that have stuck by us from our early days and are still our athletes today.

Fullnoise : I guess the Athletes are really where the brand recognition comes from and are a big part of the advertising for the products you distribute.

Johnny: Having the right athletes and promoting the right athletes is essential. It is hard as a small business to operate full stop, it is even harder for a small business in an industry that is relatively small such as motocross that has so many brands and products competing. It was definitely a hard slog to begin with.

Along with our athletes, advertising, being at the events, our marketing and promotion together with all the hard work, long days and late nights, it is all starting to pay off.

Fullnoise : It looks like things are really starting to go well with the company with brands like Ogio which are probably the best known gear bag / bag brand out there, along with all the other lines you now carry, things must be looking good at the moment for the business.

Johnny: Yeah things are really good, we have grown from a company of myself to a company that now employees twenty three people, we have just recently moved into a new warehouse which is just over 1000sq in size. We have some new brands about to come on board from all our different action sports genres and have recently pick up new brands that are continuing to grow like Von Zipper and Go Pro which is the world’s leading wearable actions sports camera.

We are also concentrating on building our growth into other markets such as snow, bicycles and other action sports; we are becoming more of an action sports company growing from just a motocross based company which is really important in a tough retail environment not to have all our eggs in one basket. I really am stoked with where we are at, at the moment, we are seeing some good consistent growth in tough times, what we are doing seems to be right; we have a great passionate young workforce that work together to win together.

Fullnoise : Running a company so involved in the action sports fields, I am guessing the type of people that are attracted to working for your company have a big interest in not only the products you distribute but also the sporting fields your products are used and promoted through.

Johnny: Everyone who works at Lusty either surfs, snowboards, rides Moto or MTB or stays active one way or another. We are all young we are all passionate, we all work hard and we all like coming to these SuperX races. I started Lusty as i didn’t accept the conformity of multi- national companies with their bottom lines and ridicule... what we do is fun and I’m stoked of what we have. We like to keep it fun, if it is not fun there is no point in doing it, you work to live not live to work correct?

Fullnoise : Last of all what does the future hold for Lusty Industries, are there more brands on the way, more growth, what are the plans going forward?

Johnny: We are always looking for brands, we are always looking to align ourselves with some core brands, whether they are new brands, established or up and coming we are always looking, we are working super hard with the products we already have, we want to keep opening up people’s eyes to our products and working with dealers, if we can keep our dealers happy and keep supplying to Australian dealers and consumers and keep sales in Australia, i can keep sponsoring local athletes and events.

Fullnoise : Cheers for your time Johnny.

Johnny: No Worries thanks Az and Gaz for everything you guys do to help me also

For more infromation about Lusty Industries and their Products head to: www.lustyindustries.com

or keep up to date with what is going on in the world of Lusty on their facebook page at: www.facebook.com/#!/we.are.lusty

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