After spending 10,000 HKD on a brand new phone, surely you’d want rugged protection for it too? If you're one of those people who craves reliable protection for their phone, chances are you've heard of OtterBox and LifeProof. The parent company behind these robust protective case brands is Otter Products, but they didn’t start out selling phone accessories. In fact, their journey began in 1998 with the founders building waterproof travel boxes from their home garage in Colorado, USA. When the iPhone was first released in 2007 they saw a business opportunity and, like many innovative entrepreneurs, they took a leap of faith, bringing their engineering know-how to mobile phones.
Following rapid US expansion and after developing a loyal US following, Otter launched in Asia Pacific in 2011, based in Hong Kong. The office has since expanded from a humble 4 at first to over 50 employees today.
The Vanna team recently got a first look at their new Hung Hom headquarters, and talked to some of their employees (or "Otters" as they like to refer to themselves as!). What is it like to work at this multinational company? And more importantly, how is work-life at Otter Products? If you’re as curious as we were, read on!
If the Vanna team had only one word to describe Otter Products' newly renovated office, it would be "breathtaking". When their company were moving office spaces, they took that extra special step to build a better office for their employees. Their office design draws inspiration from their Colorado roots, and also with their collaborative and creative culture in mind.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-designed office! When a company puts employee interaction and comfort at the heart of design, the result is a workforce that clearly is energized by the vibe of their surroundings.
The office features spacious open areas, where Otters can have meetings to discuss and collaborate comfortably away from their desks. There are also quiet corners, where Otters can concentrate without distractions while sitting in cosy chairs. An abundance of formal and informal meeting spaces mean that the Otters are constantly sharing ideas and working closely together.
▲ There are plenty of open areas. . Otters have their own desks, but if you fancy a change of scenery, feel free to work somewhere else!
▲ Located in Hung Hom, Otter Products’ office overlooks the Victoria Harbour. What a beautiful view!
Otter Products' product portfolio spans from rugged coolers, stylish phone cases to sturdy tumblers. However, their primary focus in the APAC region is superior protection for mobile phones and tablets. To be the best in what they do, they need to react to and understand the fast paced tech industry and adapt quickly.
Innovation is not coming up with a new product every day, but coming up with different ways to reach the same goal. - May, Head of Operations at Otter Products
The Head of Operations at Otter Products, May, told us that a lot of the resources are devoted to not just the products themselves, but the manpower behind it.. People from different teams, such as product, marketing, and sales, all have to come together to perfect an all-rounded product launch. It is the emphasis on teamwork that gives Otter Products their competitive edge over others within the industry.
In order for the team to gel, colleagues need to communicate well and have similar goals. The APAC Otters are a tightly-knit community, who believe in getting things done. To ensure that all new members align with the company culture, job interviews at Otter Products are conducted by not only the team that is directly hiring, but other cross-functional teams too.
▲ On their first day, employees are given a card that says “We Grow to Give”, which is the the company’s mission. They also receive a note to remind them to “treat others the way you want to be treated”, which is the company's philosophy.
▲ The Otters were in a meeting during our visit. Charlie, their Managing Director, is explaining the company’s development focus for the upcoming year.
Otter Products understand that it takes more than just an attractive paycheck to retain great talent. This is why they offer an abundance of perks and benefits to their employees, including dedicated support to encourage Otters to grow, both personally and professionally.
Managing Director, Charlie, shared that he enjoys the support for continual education at Otter Products. To apply for this support, you simply need to find something you want to learn. What's more, is that it doesn’t even have to be directly related to your daily job. The most important thing is your desire to continuing to improve yourself.
Every year, all the Otters across all global offices, take a day off work together in order to give back to their local communities. They particularly like to focus on helping young people with entrepreneurship endeavours. In addition to this day, all Otters are entitled to 24 hours of volunteering leave to spend on causes which they are passionate about.
Sean, the Head of Marketing, shared that he highly values an applicants’ communication skills, as effective and efficient teamwork is paramount at Otter Products. When it comes to finding new talents, Sean also looks for a combination of ambition and the ability to continually improve their skills. Otter Products is an established business that is ever-growing, so they are looking for someone who brings both their skills AND their future potential to the table.