In 1975 long before walking and jogging were popular sports, a young Swiss engineer named Hans-Georg Braunschweiler, who’s accumulated miles equalled running around the world twice, wondered why the soles on his shoes wore off so quickly and why landing in sand and snow was made with such ease, yet the push-off was so exhausting. Therefore he developed together with the Swiss Triathlete and Duathlon World Champion Olivier Bernhard the Glide ‘n Lock™ (GnL) running shoe, an invention that felt like landing in sand, but pushing from concrete.
Today his son Eric continues his legacy with the newest generation of GnL Footwear having its roots in the sports sector and brings the same Glide ‘n Lock™ principles into every day’s life use with a wide range of shoes for him and her.
I met Hans-Georg and his son Eric and I was really fascinated by their entrepreneurial spirit, their enthusiasm as well as their strong will to make things happen. The new start up company with a product which is being offered worldwide has a number of issues to be solved and questions to be answered before the product is delivered and invoiced to the clients. VAT and customs duty are only two of many others. Hans-Georg and Eric were listening to me about these two and I was fascinated listening to their ideas. Especially because Eric is quite young I wanted to know how is it being the boss.
Michaela: What are the pros and cons of being a young CEO for you and what kind of advice would you give to other young business starters?
Eric: As a young entrepreneur I can create my own visions and ideas and working on marketing and design as well as R&D. I like most working together with our Italian designer, in order to produce new trendy shoe models that combine enormous comfort, cushioning, stability and responsiveness.
The downside of building up and developing your own company is that I have to do most tasks by myself. For example I do not see myself as the greatest salesman and sometimes it gives me a hard time to call and push suppliers and customers. Nevertheless, it has to be done and is part of the commitment of my company.
My advice to other entrepreneurs is short and sweet: Have a story, because that’s what people remember. I realized that my customers were very interested in the story behind our shoes and they are much more likely to speak about our shoes with their friends if they can tell a good story with it.
Michaela: The market for shoes is full of big players. However, tell me what makes the GnL shoes so special?
Eric: “He is laughing” – as a player like GnL you can only survive in this environment if you have something fundamentally different: Conventional shoes only offer vertical cushioning for up and down forces. However, most of the stress imposed on the joints and tendons comes from our horizontal impact during the landing phase.
Our Glide ‘n Lock™ provide vertical and horizontal compression via the revolutionary 3D-Cushioning System. You will notice our shoe is only soft when needed. Once your foot is firmly on the ground, the cushioning elements (rotatable by 360 degree) retract into the sole to create a firm and quick push-off.
No other shoe can cushion the forward impact upon landing with such a thin sole and then lock into position to create a firm push-off. Like our slogan says, it’s all in the sole.
For more information about Eric and GnL, I invite you to visit the following link: www.gnlfootwear.com
Get an impression of GnL footwear: