10 Questions Series

Meet our team: CMO Carl Thompson

BY Adelina Peltea 12 Apr, "13

Introducing our lovely CMO Carl Thompson. Here's what Carl had to say when he was placed under the TradeGecko spotlight...

What did you do before TradeGecko?

Back in New Zealand between 2007 - 2011 I ran my own clothing label, Crowded Elevator. I love fashion and creativity so at the time it really was the perfect marriage between utilizing my background in design and my ambition to manage my own business. Our designs were based on high end street wear and the label did pretty well; there were around 50 retailers across New Zealand and Australia that stocked our clothing range.

So what was the tipping point that made you leave your last business and start TradeGecko?

Our cashflow was hit pretty hard by the recession particularly in the years that I was really trying to push for Crowded Elevator into offshore markets. Retailers really suffered and it was difficult for many of those who stocked our range to keep on top of accounts. Financial limitations aside, I experienced a lot of administrative issues in managing my own stock. I guess looking back I’m really lucky because it was experiencing those challenges that led us to TradeGecko and where we are today. I hope that with TradeGecko we can prevent some of those nightmares of stock control and customer accounts that essentially turned me away from continuing with my previous business.

I also have a background in web design and after Crowded Elevator I got back into that which was fun but the demand from my clients meant I needed help from a developer. I met Cameron (our CEO) at the gym and when I heard that he did some development work I pitched the idea that we collaborate.

12 months went by and then we heard about JFDI accelerator program for startups and applied to them with our business idea. Out of 400 applicants, we were one of the 12 teams accepted on the program and within two weeks of hearing the good news, our bags were packed, we had said our goodbyes to friends and family and we moved out to Singapore. And here we are today..!

In a nutshell, describe your role as CMO.

Marketing and development are two of the main focus points of any business. In my role I deal with everything relating to marketing, customer relations and customer development. I focus a lot of my time on the creative or visual aspects of TradeGecko for example, determining our branding, designing our art work etc. In a nutshell I guess you could say my role focuses on SEO, inbound marketing and providing customer support.

What’s the most important lesson you have learnt as an entrepreneur?

That’s a tough one because especially in a startup every day you learn something new. I guess to keep up with the competition and market demands I have to say ‘learn fast, move fast and when times get tough persevere’.

What do you love most about working at TradeGecko?

Without a doubt it has to be working everyday alongside our team of extremely smart people. There is diversity in our talents but everyone has a unique strength in the area they work in and with our powers combined, it makes for an awesome force!

Who inspires you?

My parents have always had the biggest influence on me but I believe it’s important to also be surrounded by other people I look up to. Really, that’s why I love our team because I know they are potentially the best at what they do.

Actually I should also say that people aside, music plays a big part in my daily life. We always have music on in the office and there’s nothing like the right playlist to keep you motivated throughout the day.

What’s on your favourite playlist?

I love artists and people who break out of ‘the norm’ to create something beautiful. Right now I’m really enjoying music by ‘Disclosure’; their vibe is kind of a new revival of early 00s deeper House music; a kind of funky deep electro that gets your feet tapping!

What’s your ikigai?

“a reason to get up in the morning/ enjoy life” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikigai)

Knowing that I have a 1000 things to do usually gets me out of bed pretty sharp! To be honest, I could never work for someone else now because I love the freedom to learn and build a business too much and I am passionate about driving TradeGecko towards success. Knowing that with what we do our customers are provided with an awesome solution to their business problems is also a great motivator.

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