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EXCLUSIVE: What Next For Cygnett?

Melbourne based Cygnett has become one of the power players in the accessory market with the Australian Company now carving out International markets in an effort to expand their already extensive reach.

At IFA in Berlin, I caught up with the CEO of Cygnett, Paul Santoro, who wearing his company’s signature distinctive orange, was pressing the flesh with European retailers and carriers on the company’s stand at the big IFA European tech trade show.

He has been the CEO of Cygnett since 2014 and lead substantial growth in multiple countries during the last 8 years.

The tragic death of the founder of Cygnett, Tim Swann, in 2021 raised one question.

What next for the 20-year-old Melbourne-based company.

A cygnet is a young swan and when the company was founded as a start-up and spun out from the Swann Communications family business, run by Tim and his father David Swann, the big question was will they make it and above all was the consumer accessory market the right market to kick starts a new business.

The Cygnett brand name with two t’s was fitting and unique.

The creation of the business was a family affair with Tim’s sisters Sophie Swann and Amie Newling Ward (née Swann) founded the business alongside Tim.

Today, the biggest shareholders in the business are Kim Swann, the wife of Tim Swann, CEO Paul Santoro and long-time business partner of Santoro and a non-executive director of the company, James Roche who purchased stock along with Santoro in 2014.

According to Santoro, Kim Swann is working in the business as an Executive Director, attending key meetings and supporting the future direction for the company.

“Kim is fully committed and engaged in the business,” explains Santoro.

“The business still has a lot of Swann heritage,” he added.

Cygnett employs over 100 staff across in Australia, USA, UK, Europe and China.

Europe is a market where Cygnett is achieving “exceptional growth” according to management.

“We see a lot of opportunities ahead especially in international markets,” added Santoro.

Recently, the business hired a new product director who has embraced Santoro and Swann’s vision for the future including a mandate to have 100% eco-friendly packaging with the elimination of single-use plastics and UV varnish.

Also coming is a new branding campaign, new packaging, and new products.

The business has briefed its long-time agency to ramp up a new look for the 20-year-old company whose orange packaging and crisp clean look can be found at multiple retailers from Costco and Best Buy in the USA, EE and Curry’s in the UK and at the likes of Telstra, Optus, JB Hi Fi, Officeworks, Harvey Norman and The Good Guys in Australia.

“Consumers know our packaging and they trust Cygnett products and brand,” said Santoro.

The number one category at Cygnett is power and connectivity and this is booming according to Cygnett management.

“People are back on the move. They are flying and travelling and we see continued demand for the work at home executive who want to power their notebooks and tablets.”

“Additionally, we’ve launched handy iPad stands that appeals to students, chefs and graphic artists alike as it’s fully adaptable to multiple angles and surfaces,” adds Santoro.

Consumer demand has led to several new power banks being released by Cygnett at IFA 2022 including a ChargeUp Pro Series 25K Laptop model and Boost generation 3.

Also coming are larger power banks and charging stations including new solar-powered models that can be used for camping or in remote environments where power is needed.

The business is also expanding their wireless connectivity range with all their products designed and created in Port Melbourne.

“We are truly an Australian technology business who has a lot of categories under consideration to expand into,” said Santoro.

He singled out products for the Telco market in both Europe and Australia where Cygnett is having a lot of success. Such products are screen protectors, applicators, and a wider range of protective cases.

Santoro said that accessories is a large growth category for retailers and that there is room for additional sales at the time of purchase of a new smartphone, especially when the retailers are selling a premium device.

He said that Telcos are achieving solid attachment rates which creates a lot of opportunity for the CE retailers to upsell across multiple categories from smartphones to PCs and tablets.

“Consumers want to protect their investment in a new device such as a laptop, smartphone and tablet. This creates the opportunity to upsell an accessory to protect their new smartphone with a screen protector or case to protect their investment. Additionally, they can be bundled with a PowerBank and cable so they can stay connected to work, friends, or family,” explained Santoro.

Santoro said that one issue for retailers was device allocation by the likes of Apple. “Retailers have been affected and this creates a kick on effect for retailers selling accessories. We saw this last year in the USA and UK with retailers not getting enough Apple devices,” he added. “We’re here to help consumers protect and charge their device,” said Santoro.

Currently selling in the Middle East, UK, South America, USA, Germany, France and Israel, Santoro believes that there is a lot of “upsides” for Cygnett going forward as demand for accessories grow and as new products are introduced.

The issue for Cygnett and other accessory companies is identifying the opportunity and then being able to move quickly with a new product offering.

“That’s our area of expertise. We’re nimble and are adept at bringing visionary ideas to market. We can identify opportunity and bring sensational products that consumers need and want to market quickly and build brand awareness and loyalty with both retailers and customers alike,” concludes Santoro.

Just like the brand’s vibrant orange hue, the future for Cygnett looks bright.



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