Stylesight Active Spotlight: Malakye

Not only does the Active Team analyze the over-arching themes that influence Sport, we also have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on key influencers and companies that are making waves within the market. From start-up’s to creative agencies, some pretty incredible brands catch our eye, but when it comes down to it, there are certain companies that are just hitting the mark in multiple categories. Malakye happens to be one of them. An online platform designed to – “strengthen the connection between Action Sports companies and the job seekers by providing a service that is effective, easy-to-use, and quick” – Malakye is a beacon for monitoring what’s happening and what’s about to happen in the job market. We’ve been following Malakye over the years, heck some of us have even gotten jobs through them, and we are always excited to hear about its innovative initiatives.

Chad Mihalick, the founder of Malakye, built his company upon a void in the Action Sports market, during the late 1990s. We had a chance to catch up with Mihalick recently to chat about Malakye’s history during his early years and what’s currently on his Action Sports radar…

Chad Mihalick and Josh Lewis at Whistler

Q. Tell us a bit about the history of Malakye and how the platform first started in the Action Sports Industry?

I was in the process of finishing college at Pepperdine University back in 1998 – 2000, and working in the career center to try to figure out how to get a “real” job. In those years, job websites were blowing up in the college market, targeted specifically at recent graduates. I decided to research the business model and discovered there were a lot of niche job websites targeting a wide variety of professions and industries. I dug deeper and discovered I could build a platform with very little money. Then after some time passed I thought, “I think this could work for the Action Sports industry.” That’s the business model side of the story, but equally important is how I decided on Action Sports.

Leading up to Pepperdine, I had been taking my time to get through college and enjoying spring semesters off to snowboard, and working at my best friends retail shop, 118 Boardshop. I loved the sports and industry of Action Sports, but couldn’t see how to make a living in it which is why I was working in the career center! Man was I concerned – I was a square peg looking at a round hole with no idea how to get through it. I was very close with the family who owned the shop and watched them create what is now Podium Distribution (DVS, Matix, Diamond). I talked with my best friend, Brian Dunlap, about the idea and he thought it could work. I talked with some other friends who also worked at Podium, and they thought it could work too. That was all the confirmation I needed. It was worth a shot! I went for it! Me, a computer, a telephone, and a lot of guidance and support from the Dunlap family and friends who worked at Podium, is what got Malakye off the ground. And that’s how it started – an idea, one connection, and a whole hell of a lot of work, dedication, and persistence has turned it into what it is today. There is a countless list of people to thank and tremendous gratitude to them for the success of Malakye.

Q. What is your current role?

It’s not very different from the first days! I provide service to companies and candidates, work to develop the website (we’re about to launch the new Malakye and its bad ass), bring new ideas to life, and am very focused on the future. I think a lot about what we can do better and what we can do next. I’m very excited about the future and growing Malakye, and the positive impact we can have on the industries we serve as a result of that growth. The next big initiative for us is the Malakye Future Foundation – the intent is to grow awareness of the great career opportunities available in these industries and provide financial assistance to people who want to build or advance a career in these industries.

Q. What is Malakye B2B and how did it develop?

MalakyeB2B is a business-to-business platform that enables companies to find vendors of a wide variety. Large format printers for vehicle wraps, printers for seasonal catalogs, private label manufacturers, design firms, marketing and ad agencies, commercial real estate services, IT firms, and the list goes on. Basically, any third party provider your business needs can be found on MalakyeB2B.

It was a natural development. These “B2B” companies started using Malakye to advertise for employees because they knew they could find people who knew their customer base. A company that specializes in private label apparel for action sports, wants to find a sales rep who gets action sports. So, they advertise on Malakye. Over time, lots of the B2B companies were in the mix. While that was going on, people would ask us, “do you know of someone who can _________.” The answer, “yes, call these guys.” And then based on our own needs to find vendors it was clear that having a B2B site would benefit everyone.

Q. Considering Malakye sees the waves of the industry as a whole on jobs coming and going, what kind of new positions and skill sets are trending in the market?

Right now the most evident trends in new skills and job opportunities for this market are social media and E-commerce. I think that the most significant potential for people is in E-commerce. More companies go direct every day, and more are preparing to go direct. I don’t see this trend going away which means there is a lot of opportunity in the creation and on-going maintenance of E-commerce programs. Social media is also significant and will continue to be as the science behind it develops.

Q. In your vantage point, you see a vast amount of information in the industry – from companies expanding and growing to layoffs and buy outs of brands. What are some of the hot topics right now in Action Sports?

Without a doubt the hottest topics are consolidation, companies going public, and the lack of new and exciting brands as well as “how can a new brand make it?”

Malakye supporters Seumas Santoro, and Karl Fuhre with Chad Mihalick during OfficeBooyz Sk8 at ASR, Fall 2009

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