Gothenburg-based Icebug is challenging the giants on the international footwear market. And what could be a more appropriate name for its CEO and co-founder than David. David Ekelund and his staff challenge the shoe-Goliaths of this world every day. On the 4-6 September it is again time for the IcebugXperience. The race that is more than a running competition.
Before we talk about the IcebugXperience, I’d like to find out a bit about Icebug as a company. Tell me about you and your shoes!
- We supply shoes that are both functional and attractive. They are suitable for all outdoor activities and work on all types of surfaces, even in icy or slippery conditions. Our grip technologies are world leading. We want everyone to be able to use our shoes, from elite athletes to someone who is unable to walk without a frame. When you realise that you don’t have to be afraid of a patch of ice or wet rock, it gives you such a sense of safety and freedom. This feeling of happiness is our key selling point.
So what is the IcebugXperience?
- A walking and running event, held over three days in Sotenäs. The participants run or walk a total of 70 kilometres through the varied Bohuslän landscape. With IcebugXperience we want to put Bohuslän on the map for walking and running tourism, help to prolong the tourism season and benefit the local economy. It also gives us an opportunity to show why we design shoes that grip well on wet surfaces.
What makes the IcebugXperience so special, in your opinion?
- It is a combination of so many different things: To be able to run across the cliffs by the sea is an amazing experience, and a way of demonstrating the outstanding gripping properties of our rubber compound, RB9X. I also like the idea that we are helping to extend the tourism season in Bohuslän. It seems such a waste that the place is suddenly completely empty once we reach September, when the previous two months were so very hectic.
How do your competitors inspire you? You are, after all, a relatively small player on the global footwear market.
- We use the ‘David vs Goliath’ perspective to keep improving and staying incredibly focused, to make sure we don’t waste our efforts. If you are clear, polished and hard, you can be amazingly valuable even if you are small. Think diamond!
You are the co-founder and CEO of Icebug. Where do you find inspiration for new ideas and product development?
- I read a lot and try to find the time to change my perspective. We have an awesome product development team, but it is very important to remain open and humble, and to accept that not all good ideas come from me, or even from our organisation. Icebug is on a steep development curve, and we attract competent and driven people who all want to work in an environment where they are surrounded by amazing colleagues, and where they are given the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability, and to develop. This is what makes my job so much fun.
What are you passionate about, both at work and in your private life?
- Improvements! I find it incredibly hopeful that our brains are plastic, which means that they never stop changing. I strive to be fully present in everything I do. I enjoy lots of different activities; I like to read, spend time with my family, socialise with friends, go out, travel, ski, run trails, mountain-bike, play basketball, go to the cinema, watch IFK play, do yoga. I believe it is possible to combine being an entrepreneur with leading a balanced life. People should embrace change – it is one of few things that remains constant – this is why you might as well make the best of the future.
Text: Johan Engström
Photo: Nicke Johansson, Jonas Jörneberg