Bellicon USA trampoline maker chooses Chicago as its home base: Private Intelligence

Kunhardt is the president and CEO of Chicago-centered Bellicon Usa. It has a connection to Bellicon AG in Switzerland, which Kunhardt founded in 2003 and headed until 2010, when he still left the enterprise to other folks though betting that he could make inroads with a new subsidiary of kinds in the U.S. industry. 

Bellicon is a maker of mini-trampolines, 39- to 54-inch huge round tramps bought mainly to well being clubs in search of a new cardiovascular alternate over and above spinning and pilates for their members. They’re made in Germany with bungee twine underpinnings that deliver buyers uncommonly lengthy intervals of suspension in the air. And they are not affordable, priced at $500 to $1,200 apiece. 

By means of the 2000s, with Kunhardt as CEO, Bellicon grew its product sales about Europe by 10 to 20 % a 12 months. The marketplace was relatively mature, with international locations like Sweden endorsing trampolining for a long time. “We had been accomplishing Alright, and our growth was very manageable,” Kunhardt, who is 54 now, remembers. “But then in 2009 I went to a significant physical fitness trade fair in Dusseldorf and fulfilled a male from Canada who reported flatly that America required our merchandise. Suddenly the likely seemed big, and in 2010 we started marketing in the U.S.”

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Kunhardt remaining Germany to set up the U.S. sales procedure for what he figured would be a a few-12 months task. He experienced predicted to be based mostly in New York or San Francisco, but a quit in Chicago remaining him in enjoy with the city. His spouse and family quickly followed along to settle here in Winnetka, eventually sending all 4 daughters through New Trier. Shortly ample, he found that selecting an American salesforce was no quick matter, and so had to choose on most revenue and promoting chores himself. 

“Mini-trampolines are an awkward merchandise to even describe to a consumer. We had to encourage persons that this was a major way to physical exercise. Even today, we carry on to have an recognition issue,” Kunhardt says. “Everybody is aware of treadmills and stationary bikes and a model name like Peloton. But loads of persons imagine trampolines are a toy for children. We’ve had to do this ourselves.”

He’s creating development while supplying up, for now, on designs to return to Germany, however two of his four daughters have returned to do the job in Europe soon after getting educated at American faculties. Bellicon Usa at the moment employs 12 comprehensive-timers alongside with 80 part-timers in The us, reporting $10 million in sales previous calendar year. That is about one-fourth of the company’s throughout the world $40 million in income. 

“What we need now is more revenue to spend in advertising and marketing and recognition,” Kunhardt states. “We really don’t have the advertising and marketing bucks that a significant name like Peloton has.”

These who try Bellicon vouch for it. Fayth Caruso after owned a training studio in the South Loop and currently is based in Winston-Salem, N.C., as a portion-time producer of Bellicon exercise routine films.

“I considered in trampolines in advance of I very first saw Bellicon,” Caruso says. “But the other brands that I tried held breaking. Then Phil walked in with his merchandise and I stepped on a Bellicon for the 1st time and it was lifetime altering. It is the ideal trampoline on the current market. I put them in my studio in Chicago and all my courses stuffed up and I ran out of house. They were that well-liked.” 

Fitness came by natural means to Kunhardt early on. Born in West Germany, his father was Gert von Kunhardt, a pentathlete who competed at satisfies all over the world by the 1960s. Just after retirement Gert took to advising Germans on how to preserve nutritious life. It was he who very first uncovered Swedish-made tramps in the 1980s. His son Philipp was a competitive center-length runner, but quickly got hooked himself on the mechanics of “rebounding.” 

“Trampolines are quite forgiving and set small strain on the joints, hence restricting joint harm,” Kunhardt states. “Bouncing involves you to use just about all your muscle tissue and has a wonderful result on the cardiovascular technique. People in america are starting to catch on.”

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