We had the good fortune of connecting with Phil Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phil, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are several factors behind the success of Malo’o. • Great Products • Awesome Prices • Outdoor Adventurer Attitude • Responsiveness. Responsiveness is one I’ll further discuss here. Amazon has shaped today’s consumer commerce environment in the USA, and before then, it was Nordstrom. Consumers today expect fast delivery, free returns, and someone available all the time. These are high bars to meet. Since I first founded Malo’o, we have put a premium on customer service, specifically responsiveness. We respond to every email, web, or social inquiry within 24 hours, most of the time within 12 hours. We can’t ship everything in one day or take returns on a whim, but we also don’t charge people $100 / year for the pleasure of shopping with us. We’ve found that if you respond quickly, in a friendly manner, that people appreciate it, especially in the COVID days.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I graduated from the University of San Diego and went to work for Motorola. Over the next 14 years, I had an opportunity to work worldwide, lastly as VP of Northern Asia. From there, I went on to be President of Dell Computer Asia and then into entrepreneurship. After leaving Dell, Asia 360: The Culture of Building Business in Asia was published. My first startup was NetCel360 based in Hong Kong. We eventually sold this to Malaysia’s largest tech company, so we decided to move back to the States. After a couple more startups and exits, I founded Malo’o. Malo’o was founded with a mission to help outdoor enthusiasts do more of what they love to do. Which meant developing gear I was excited about and would use. Leading organizations in unique cultures in different parts of the world is a tremendous learning experience. Being an entrepreneur is also a huge learning experience. It’s not easy. It’s challenging and rewarding. Through the years, in my corporate and personal life, in this country and many others, I’ve learned: • Listen first • Be respectful of the local language, culture, and people • Always deal fairly and honestly • Passion, enthusiasm, and hard work are good things • Thank GOD for your opportunities.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d start by taking them surfing at Swamis. If it’s a week-long trip, we have time to hit many of San Diego’s best spots and probably include Trestles. I’m not much of a nightlife person, so I’ll leave that to others. Surfing, visiting with friends, a BBQ or two would be a great time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have had the pleasure of having many influential people in my life. I worked for some great leaders in my corporate life: Terry Jaron and Ron Greenwell at Motorola, Michael Dell, and Mort Topfer at Dell Computer. But I need to dedicate this to my wife, Sophie. She has traveled the world with me over the last 20+ years, helped raise my kids, and always encouraged me to do what I want to do.
All are Malo’o Assets