SIR RICHARD BRANSON – VIRGIN GROUP
Advisor • Idol • Mentor
“With us onstage was Mick Spencer, who realised at 11 that he didn’t want to work for anyone else, started his own business washing windows and now has Australia’s fastest growing lifestyle brand – OnTheGo®. Although he struggled in school because he was short-sighted, he’s proved to be far-sighted in business. One to watch in the future.”
– Sir Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group
JASON DUNDAS | INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR
Mick and Jason collaborated on a new sporstwear label DundasFit, sold at David Jones nationally.
“I’ve had the chance to work closely with Mick over the last 12 months on some exciting projects. Mick’s passion for building brands with substance, his desire and ongoing pursuit of a better world, better products and the better of himself is the reason he, his team and OnTheGo® are where they are today. The ability to mix adventure, passion and purpose into what he does daily is inspirational for all. Mick’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious and the most inspiring thing is how he sees the ability to use business as a vehicle for change in the world. I’ve met and worked with many young people around the world, and I am constantly inspired by the fact that at such a young age, with so much against him, Mick had the ability to back himself and follow his dreams.”
– Jason Dundas, International Media Entrepreneur, Host of The Big Adventure, David Jones Ambassador
DEREK O’NEILL | GLOBAL BOARD SPORT CEO
“I first came across Mick Spencer when he was a presenter at a UQ business lunch, alongside Sir Richard Branson and some senior Brisbane business people. Mick was not only holding his own, on stage in front of more than 2,000 people, he sounded very impressive. A little rough around the edges maybe but he had some great ideas.
“For myself, having taken the group of 11 brands under the Billabong group to over 100 countries, I felt there may be some help and assistance I could offer him, and we eventually came into contact.
“Here was a young guy that thought outside the box. He had launched his apparel company OnTheGo® specifically for athletically minded people, and what apparel they needed around events. He went after a market that was already being serviced by many small companies like his, I don’t think he really understood how competitive that market is, he just started. He had no funds, and therefore little working capital, and he had to balance the books by getting credit from his supplier and hope he got paid from the customer before the supplier demanded payment. No different to a lot of other startups, but Mick had bigger aspirations than that. I think if he really had have sat down at the start with a detailed business plan forecasting his returns possible in the first few years, he would have maybe gone off and done something else. Most kids in their late teens-early twenties are going out and having fun, not trying to launch an international business from scratch.
“Mick has always leaned on technology to help his business from the beginning. He searched for potential customers around the world online, and was able to do quick virtual presentations to a wide customer base that previously would have taken weeks of personal visits. The economic crisis was meaning some competitors were reducing their reach, where Mick saw it as an opportunity to gain market share. Some big name events started to increase his name out in the field; IRONMAN Global to name the largest in the world, and he started to see strong growth.
“Technology is also allowing OnTheGo® customers to customise their own designs, fits, fabrics all on line to their own specifications without even getting someone in the middle. This is a new step that I personally have not seen anywhere else in the apparel industry, sure one of customisation of shoes and T-shirts is possible, the OnTheGo® approach is you submit what you want, see it on the screen sign off on it, and here is your delivery. When he first mentioned it to me I thought it sounded good but would it work? It is very simple and will help transform his reach and appeal. That is very impressive.
“Of course bigger runs of product and more customers mean more complications, staff issues, HR, more finance requirements, and this is typical of any strong growing young business. To help with some of those pressures Mick has continually gone out of his way to network with many business people that have been through similar growth curves, I speak with him 2-3 times a month and have worked hard at getting him to recognise that execution and delivery is just as important as the big idea. The ability to recognise what you are good at and get help with the rest is a strong attribute that Mick has in spades. Is he going to have a few challenges appear that will seem insurmountable at the time, probably. But he should be able to get through them, and each one so far has been a good learning experience for him.
“I can’t wait to see where OnTheGo® can get to in the coming years. It should be a strong international and increasingly global business. Mick Spencer has a bright future in front of him and is a great example of a young Australian entrepreneur having a go.”
– Derek O’Neill, CEO Billabong International, 2003-2012