When you’re next watching an international field hockey match, chances are the goalies are wearing protective gear made by OBO, a Palmerston North company.
Dedicated to safe-keeping, OBO provides 60% of the world market for field hockey goalies. OBO is sold in 61 countries world-wide.
“About half of the national hockey teams in the world use our products,” says OBO Managing Director Simon Barnett who, for the record, doesn’t even play the sport! “We saw a niche in the market and went for it. We do nothing else but make gear for goalies. “
OBO put their market leadership down to a unique product and customer focus. The “OBO foam” used in their gear has a tighter cell structure that wears slowly and thermo-bonding technology produces three-dimensional products that are stronger and enable the wearer to move more freely. For example, leg guards are pre-moulded to fit the leg and are shaped to reflect the way the body moves.
“Our gear has performance and protective qualities no other gear can hope to have,” says Simon.
“We involve goal keepers in several countries to provide ideas and to test prototypes as we develop equipment. Because goal keepers do the development work, our products are based on real needs. We also use professional product designers to put the finishing touches on our gear, so it not only works well, it looks great too!”
OBO has recently been selected by Industry New Zealand for its Fast Forward programme which supports high growth potential businesses.
Simon Barnett says the assistance from Industry New Zealand and Technology New Zealad has been invaluable in maintaining the company’s momentum as it moves into the global cricket market.
“It has enabled us to do a really good job in developing and testing our products and to access outside expertise when required.”