Insight Update

Turn a commute into a training run

Fiona Bugler talks to Kirill Noskov, the brains behind IAMRUNBOX, a unique product designed with active commuters in mind

2016 was the year Kirill Noskov, the founder of IAMRUNBOX (iamrunbox. com/en/) took the risky decision to leave the comfort of a full-time corporate role and focus his energies on his new venture.

And as the year draws to an end, he has no regrets with all the signs showing he’s created a formula for success.

“It’s always scary to leave a secure corporate job, but my gut told me that there was a real need for the product and that I had the drive and energy needed to get it off the ground,” he says.

Like a lot of good ideas IAMRUNBOX came about from the need to solve a problem. Time pressured and busy with work, Kirill had decided to fit his 30-miles of running into commuting time – but he needed to arrive at work in crease-free clothes.

He said: “One morning I had an important meeting and an important run to do. I decided to convert my MacBook carton into a clothes carrier.”

It didn’t quite cut it and he felt sure there was a gap in the market.

A decision was made, a designer hired, and within a month he was on a flight to Chengdu, China to learn how the manufacturing process works.

Fitting in training around busy work and family schedules is a challenge for many working endurance athletes. According to a survey from The European Commission published in December 2013 one in ten Europeans (11 per cent) 42 per cent say they are not able to fit in training due to lack of time.

But for those with a passion for running, cycling, triathlon, or just working out, ‘dead’ time between home and work is an opportunity to train and therefore a seamless transition into a clean, pressed work outfit is a must.

In July 2015, Mintel published research which looked at Sports Goods Retailing between 2010 and 2015.

The report painted a positive picture overall, with “sales expected to grow by 4.2 per cent in 2015 to reach £4.4 billion, with strong growth consistently seen since 2010”.

Since its launch in January 2015, IAMRUNBOX Garment Carriers have been sold to consumers in 29 countries, with the largest volume of sales in the UK.

With £100,000 secured from the business angels, and another round of investment in place, Kirill and his team are driving the demand for efficiency in urban mobility, with other innovative and ergonomic products in the pipeline and plans to scale the business.

The first of these products is the IAMRUNBOX Active Commuter’s Backpack.

In October 2016, Kirill launched the arrival of this latest product with a London-based party for bloggers and press, including key figures from the world of running, which was held in the heart of the City at London’s largest independent retailer, The Running Works.

“The Running Works was ideal,” explains Kirill. “Located between Liverpool Street and Aldgate tube stations we were bang in the centre of our target core market. And the Running Works is already established as an influencer, being a shop with a coffee shop, therapy room and running club and a thriving community of runners.”

The event had a dual purpose, it launched the Backpack and also the Kickstarter fundraising campaign, too.

Kickstarter is an enormous global community built around creativity and creative projects.

Kirill planned the IAMRUNBOX campaign and structured it so that he could achieve maximum sales and backing.

After three weeks 50 per cent of the funding goal (just over £10K) has been achieved.

“We never get complacent. In order to get backing we had to constantly reach out to community, send out messages to the press and engage via social media,” says Kirill.

Kickstart puts IAMRUNBOX directly in touch with their customers, too. “One of our core values is close collaboration between the brand and customers,” explains Kirill.

He’s on the money: a recent report on ‘millenials’ said that 42 per cent of millennials are eager to alter the landscape of consumer products by co-creating new products and services with their favourite companies.

Kirill has followed the way of many clever start-ups and outsourced his team, who are spread all over the world. “It offers a great work/life balance, flexibility, creativity and motivation for people to work,” he explains.

“I work with five highly motivated professionals and 12 brand ambassadors located all around the world – Sweden, China, Indonesia, UK, Austria, France and the US with the HQ located in Sweden. “Nowadays it is almost the same time/price to get from Malmö to London as getting from Malmö to Stockholm,” he adds.

What’s next? “We’ve managed to get the product absolutely right by spending two years perfecting our MVP, redesigning and getting feedback from real commuters. The next stage is to scale the business and take IAMRUNBOX to the next level” says Kirill.

And he’s optimistic about the future: “We are operating with a low cost base and have a strong business plan. Our sales and performance are in line with targets and expect to achieve 20 per cent ROI by end of 2017.”

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