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Ivan Karol from Prelog is the only one in the world who produces self-adhesive camouflage fabric for military purposes


Ivan Karol from Prelog is the only one in the world who produces self-adhesive camouflage fabric for military purposes

21/10/2018 11:45 Tatjana Barat

Ivan Karol from Prelog has been catching the attention of numerous media lately. In addition to being the project manager of Čakovec Čateks, he developed the GEARSKIN project, making his company the only one in the world to produce self-adhesive camouflage cloth, which is mainly used by the military.

As he says to himself, he is not at all flattered by the fancy names and titles often referred to by entrepreneurs today as CEOs or start-ups, but jokingly calls himself an innovative business firefighter who has to "invent" every day a way to put out some fire in the business companies whose product has turned the camouflage industry upside down.

Experience as the best teacher

Although he is only in his early thirties, Ivan has a wealth of business experience behind him. While still a student, he temporarily worked as a computer science teacher in elementary school, after which he completed several jobs in the IT industry, design, marketing, and so today he reached the military industry. All these experiences were invaluable to him in starting his story today. - In a nutshell, I was able to observe micro and macro economic impacts on the businesses of various companies from different niches. With each client, I literally had to learn the specifics of their industry, I had to get into their shoes, get to know their customers, the trends that drive their customers and convert them into customers / customers, the triggers of customer acquisition. Honestly, to this day, I've "slipped into" so many other people's shoes that I would fill up the average shoe store - says Ivan.

He adds that this is what forced him to learn how to think methodically and analytically, how to rationalize, how to prioritize, and how to never stop learning.

The world's only such camouflage solution

With that in mind, he decided to try out at Moj zaba Start, a competition organized by Zagrebačka banka and choose the best innovative entrepreneurial ideas. Ivan, with his idea, was one of three award winning startups.

- The idea was the ultimate camouflage solution, the only one in the world, and starting a company is a logical sequence to commercialize and monetize this product. The point was clear, GEARSKIN ™ has been receiving tremendous attention and market interest from the very beginning, and we have made the solutions offered up until then almost inferior - notes this entrepreneur.

It is a self-adhesive material that the military can use on any piece of equipment, but it is equally applicable to hobbyists, such as those who play paintball. His company is the only company in the world to offer such a product and method of camouflage military equipment in a safe, certified manner with top quality and is the fastest way to apply effective camouflage.

Ivan is also aware of the importance of partners, which he always emphasizes.

- These are companies Čateks dd, Sestan Busch and hopefully soon HS Produkt. With their support, the community of providers of military equipment of the Republic of Croatia provides us with support. Out of Croatia, we have many business partners, the most important to us are ActInBlack Luxembourg companies, RedWolf Hong Kong, there are several large German companies with whom we develop accessories for Bundeswehr military equipment, and companies from the United States, with the help of which we are making an increasing breakthrough on this extremely important market - notes Ivan.

As many as 90 percent of the products are exported abroad and have a sales network of distributors on all inhabited continents. They also adapt to the needs of each market to satisfy all users.

- Consumers of our product are varied - from hobbyists, military simulation players, to special units of France, sniper school of Great Britain, German Bundeswehr, Croatian police and various branches of the US military. We are particularly proud to say that our product is used by one of the most elite units of the US Army, DELTA FORCE.

Vision is crucial to success

Since he built his entrepreneurial story from scratch, he also faced obstacles of a financial and purchasing nature. Today, his company has more than 130 products and only a year ago had 28. But he adds that he has no recipe for success.

- I can summarize my story into this: eyewitnesses and renunciations in almost every aspect of life. Also, fixed plans in today's dynamic business environment are not completely reliable. Very soon, your plan will cry out for revision at the very first hurdle, which means lost time. Start working and thinking fluidly, identifying your niche trends, knowing where you are today versus where you want to be, and moving on. You have enough vision and stubborn dedication - advises Ivan. But when she receives positive feedback from all of her clients, she knows it was all worth it. Learning, new challenges and stepping into fields where no one has left their mark is what continues to motivate him in every new work day.

He also appreciates all the acquaintances around the world that this job has enabled him to do, although, as he admits, he has forgotten what his spare time is with regular work and entrepreneurship. Still, he spends those moments with his family, piloting FPV drones or engaging in airsoft, a realistic simulation of combat operations.
He plans to continue in the same direction.

- I love what I do, I am satisfied and that is why I see myself in the future. But in a business like this, it's hard to predict tomorrow so I'm not trying to be Nostradamus myself. Enjoying the moment without burdens and getting the positive out of everything is the best plan - Ivan Karol concludes.

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