Respect Your Universe (OTCQB:RYUN) CEO Interview


Respect Your Universe
CEO: Craig Brod




Juan Costello:  Good day from Wall Street.  This is Juan Costello with the Wall Street Analyst.  Joining us today is Craig Brod, the CEO for Respect Your Universe.  The company trades on the OTCQB, ticker symbol is RYUN.  Thanks for joining us today there, Craig.

Craig Brod:  You’re welcome, Juan.  Thanks for having me.

Juan Costello:  Certainly.  And so starting off, give us a brief history and overview of the company for some of our listeners that are new to your story.

Craig Brod: The company started several years ago and it was focused entirely on mixed martial arts.  That’s where the founders started.  And the reason for this is they saw that mixed martial arts was an extreme sport.  And they wanted to learn about motion and movement and how to put that knowledge into garments basically, into apparel.  And so when you look at our roots, they come from the extreme sports area and we are putting that into apparel.  And I think they opened up a very nice niche in the marketplace.

Juan Costello:  Certainty.  What are some of the drivers there behind the company’s recent Q1 results with revenue increase of almost 500%.

Craig Brod:  What we did was take product that we felt very strongly about and position it in the marketplace and several new places that we considered to be a good fit with the product.  And so we… let me say this, the company was basically started by people who are very sales oriented but not very disciplined in their strategies, and so I’ve come in to  bring discipline to our endeavors.  So part of that placement of the merchandise was more strategically oriented.  And that’s what you see in terms of the growth.  And specifically, we’ve had tremendous growth at retail and we implemented a pop-up store in Las Vegas and that pop-up store is generating somewhere around $400 a square foot in sales on a run rate.  So you’re seeing the results of our retail store opening, and we’re very happy with that, and we’re moving forward with the retail strategy.  Okay?

Juan Costello:  Certainly.  And what are some of the trends that you’re seeing in the sector and how are you positioning the company to capitalize on them?

Craig Brod: We see several trends that are very active including the ability of consumers to wear active wear not only on the field or with exercise but to do leisure time activities.  So we see that as a growth market, we see a growth market in youth wearing more performance apparel. And we see performance apparel going across not only lifestyle, age, and a mix of sex, male and female.  So all of those trends are positive for us because we intend to understand more about movement and put that into our aparrel; and capitalize on these emergent trends.

Juan Costello:  Great.  And what are some of the factors that makes you guys unique from the so many other players in the sector?

Craig Brod:  Well, a couple of things.  One is the depth of understanding of movement because as I said we started as a point of departure in mixed martial arts and that understanding of extreme motion and movement has been, and is interesting.  It’s been very motivational for us to look at apparel and how to manifest what went in the past into an apparel piece.  So I think we have an advantage over some of the other companies that have come from running or come from other areas that aren’t as extreme, that’s number one.  Number two, we’re very careful to be sustainable.  We have been sustainable from day one in terms of our approach to our merchandise and our garments.  And number three, I think the value proposition that we put in and are moving toward which is more value orientation in the piece of apparel.  So we’re looking at pricing and offering the consumer better buys than the competition. In other words, I would just say great value.  So and the other, the fourth piece of that is bringing design from many different places, not just from traditional athletics.  So I think you’ll see some new and interesting designs certainly for the next quarter.  So given those four things, I think it will help differentiate us from the others.

Juan Costello:  Good.  And perhaps you can walk us through your background and experience and talk a little bit about the management team there.

Craig Brod:  Yes.  Well, I’m a psychologist by training.  But I’ve founded a company called Imaginarium toy stores at a small doors.  And Imaginarium sold the toys for us at peak brand sales about 650 million.  I learned the power of branding from that.  I also learned the power of understanding a customer in detail which we are in the process of doing and which I certainly did on my background.  And so I bring not only the discipline of retail to the table and the disciplinary branding, but also the discipline of understanding of what makes a consumer tick.  So, in addition to that, I’ve done a consulting assignments for Reebok with their DMX shoe and a roll out.  I’ve done about 3 million square feet of retail in Asia.  Specifically out of Japan bringing in American retailers into Japan as well as designing retail space.  So I’ve got, you know I’ve done all kinds of retail from specialty retail to more mass merchandise stuff.  So I bring a great deal of experience in the consumer area as well as the retail area itself.  And I have a PhD in psychology, imagine.

Juan Costello:  As well, right?

Craig Brod:  Yes, as well and I’ve written three books in the field of psychology and I spend couple of weeks every summer teaching at Stanford in a program that’s put on by the Stanford Medical School in family systems and deaf kids which happens to be an interest and specialty of mine.

Juan Costello:  Oh, great.  And what are some of the goals and milestones that you and the team are hoping to accomplish over the course of the next year?

Craig Brod:  Okay, the hope and accomplishment is first I’m building a team from a ground up and I am tapping expertise that I think is some of the most stellar people in the industry.  So I’m building a team, number one.  Two, I hope to accomplish the implementation of two retail stores and we’ll see that, we’re working on that currently.  And there could be a completely new retail store released in the market place that combines both state-of-the-art technology with the consumer research that we’re doing, and this would be a very salient and powerful retail concept.  So I’m looking terrifically forward to that.  And I can’t say too much more about it but it is coming.  In addition to that, I’m looking to up the technology and the content contact with the customer.  And we’re working diligently in bringing those systems into play.  This company will not look like it did in the past.  We will honor our roots in the extreme sport of mixed martial arts.  And as the point of departure, we’ll be carving out a new niche on retail on web on smartphone, and we’re here to innovate which is what I’m about.  And we look forward to innovation as our cornerstone.

Juan Costello:  Certainly.  And you just… you recently took over the CEO last month and as you continue to speak with investors in the financial community, Craig, do you believe that the RYUN story and your message and upside are completely and as well are appreciated by the financial community? And if not, what do you wish the investors better understood about your story?

Craig Brod:  No, you know it’s interesting because when you…I think investors probably got the story right in the beginning because they were looking at a rearview mirror.  But they’re not getting it right now because they don’t understand where we are going.  And while I can’t say everything about all the places that we are going, I think there is tremendous value innovation in what we are doing.  And I think that you can’t look at this company with a rear view mirror.  I have…I will say this that there is a great potential for innovation and value contribution, and we are very favourable to investors in the sense that it’s their hard earned money that goes into a stock and we appreciate that.  And we appreciate that we’ll look after people’s hard earned money, and I can just say that I’m totally committed as my team is to growing this company and our strategy and extending its presence in the market place profitably.  Does that help?

Juan Costello:  Sir.  Yeah, great.  So once again, joining us today is Craig Brod, CEO for Respect Your Universe.  The company trades on the QTCQB, ticker symbol is RYUN.  Currently trading at 30 cents a share.  The market cap is north of 15 million.  And before we conclude here, Craig, to recap some of your key points, why do you believe investors should consider the company as a good investment opportunity today?

Craig Brod:  Because I know what’s coming in terms of innovation and where we are going, the strategy is a sound one.  The marketplace is there.  We’ve done our homework.  We know how to execute, I am building a team to do that.  And with little patience here, I will say that patience will be rewarded as well our strategy and our product line.  So that’s the best I can say.

Juan Costello:  Well, we certainly look forward to continue to track your company’s growth and report on your upcoming progress and we would like to thank you for taking the time to join us today, Craig and update on rest of the audience on Respect Your Universe.

Craig Brod:  Well, and I thank you for that.  And please I can’t wait for you to check in and see the progress as we go.


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