CYBEX Founder Martin Pos
Czech entrepreneur and founder of CYBEX, an international designer of car seats, baby carriers, kids furniture and strollers, on creating a brand beloved by parents, celebrities, and supermodels.
You’re the child of immigrants. Could you give us a little background about yourself?
We came to Austria when I was ten years old and it wasn‘t easy at all. The way people look at immigrants these days, that is the way people were looking at us back then. We didn’t speak the language, and it was even worse at school. I was the kid from the East, the scum. Which in the end was a good thing – it gave me the drive to succeed, to become independent of nothing and no one, and to pursue my goals and visions.
What inspired you to go into your field?
I was working for a company that produced juvenile and sports products. I started off as a service technician and gradually worked my way up to a traveling salesman position. At that time I was approached by Concord, a German car seat producer, who offered me a position as their Director of Marketing and Distribution. I was 23, and it was an offer that couldn’t be declined. It turned out the company was in desolate state but I managed to lead it out and back into the spotlight with a brand new distribution network, newly open market in Japan and 400 percent growth in turnover. I can’t talk about inspiration, I was simply drawn into the field by chance.
How did you come up with the idea for CYBEX?
I was working within the industry and as a father myself, every day I’d see car seats that were overly complicated, heavy, difficult to operate and simply not fitting the lifestyle of a stylish modern parent. Since my position was not allowing me to go further and make a change, I decided to be that change myself. I wanted to create car seats that would be safe, but also easy to operate and suitable in a nice car. All parents care about the well-being and safety of their children, but in the end, it’s the parents who stand at the center. They are the ones who install the car seats, push and fold the strollers, and those were the people we wanted to help.
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting CYBEX?
We wanted to surpass our competitors in all the important fields–safety, innovation and implementation of new technologies, and combine all that with sleek design. We started off in 2005 with a small team and have rapidly grown in size, gradually moved to multiple markets and time zones. Our business has been met with many challenges, but when you put your mind to it, you can deal with any challenge, no matter how big or small.
CYBEX is a good balance between safety and style. Could you talk about how you achieved this balance in the company?
Every parent wants a stroller that is 100 percent reliable when it comes down to functionality and safety. But why shouldn’t a stroller also be stylish? For modern parents, a stroller also doubles as an accessory. It’s like a woman’s purse that holds the most precious treasure. We decided to combine all these aspects and implement them into the core of our brand, which aims to provide above-average safety and quality coupled with distinctive design and functionality. We want to make the safest products available, which would also be visually appealing and intuitive. So there you go, safety, functionality, and design all wrapped up in elegance and style.
What inspired CYBEX‘s collaboration with designer Jeremy Scott?
We were introduced via a mutual friend who worked for Adidas. The brand had a long history of collaboration with Jeremy Scott and I immediately liked his personality and pop artist approach. Since then we’ve released two collections that combine fashion and design, as well as uncompromising functionality and safety. I like Jeremy‘s style of communication. He’s not afraid of irony or dark humour, and all of these motives can be spotted within his work for CYBEX, which is simply fantastic.
How did the development of the e-stroller known as the e-Priam come about?
I love the combination of design and technology and I get excited when I see engineers coming up with innovative technology and looking to pair it with design. We wanted to have an e-stroller in our portfolio and our engineers had been working on it for a while without success, and then we coincidentally met these two engineers from Prague, who had the technology and were looking for a platform. I had the brand and the infrastructure and I knew we could give it a platform and our iconic design. So we started the collaboration.
While you‘re Czech, CYBEX is considered a German company. Could you explain why Germany was the best place for your business?
CYBEX is a global company, not a German one. We have bases in Germany, Shanghai, Boston… I don’t like to differentiate between nationalities or countries of origin. In fact, I like to do the opposite – to connect different cultures and abilities of people from all corners of the world, with all kinds of backgrounds. And you can see that within our company. Our products are designed in the Czech Republic, engineered in Germany to be produced in our facilities in China. And I do believe this is the best way to lead a successful business. I don’t judge anyone by their passport, I want to see their abilities.
As it’s been almost six years since CYBEX merged with Goodbaby International. What are the biggest changes that have occurred at CYBEX during this time?
Teaming up with Goodbaby International gave us access to the greatest factories in the industry, as well as the latest technology and production capacity. We wanted our company to grow fast and lacked a vertical supply chain, which we have accessed thanks to the fusion. Goodbaby also has the biggest distribution web in China due to which we have expanded the distribution of CYBEX products massively. Basically overnight we gained access to the most dynamic market in the world. And that’s been very exciting ever since.
What are your hopes for the future when it comes to CYBEX?
At this moment we employ over 13,000 people, our turnover is over one billion dollars, but this still is just the beginning of the journey. It’s important for me to set no limits. We focus on constant development, especially when it comes down to child safety. We’re proud our car seats regularly stand on top ranks of independent safety tests, but we want to push the current safety standards and go even further. Our car seats are already protecting millions of children all around the world, but through innovation and implementation of the latest technology, we want to get even better at that. We also feel strongly about environmental standards and our goal is to produce our products in an eco-friendly environment and use new techniques to meet the latest eco standards. One of our latest deeds in that regard is our collection with super talented Czech supermodel and a good friend of mine, Karolina Kurkova, where we used certified recycled fibers. We want to keep our finger on the pulse at all times. We want to make ourselves available to every parent out there. The future is in innovation and within our industry, we will be the first ones to get there.