Latitude 64 gets the deal to fly internationally

From a small hobby project in a basement in Bergsbyn - to a company that has become a major industry doing business in the US and all over Europe. Latitude 64 has soared to a position as the world's second largest disc golf manufacturer.
- We pride ourselves on quality in everything we do. It pays off," says Tomas Ekström, co-owner and design and product manager.

Tomas has a history as a disc golfer at world level, including two World Championship gold medals in his career.
- It all started with curiosity. I've always been interested in how different discs flew when I threw. I reviewed discs for the Swedish Frisbee Federation and received a lot of free discs. Then I did a lot of graphics when the computer world came along, and then the step to 3D and CAD wasn't far," Tomas says.

The world patent for the edge design of a disc expired in 2003. By then Tomas was on the course and moving fast with his disc golf buddies Svante Eriksson and Johan Åström.
- Why not try making your own disc? We presented the idea to Innovation Västerbotten and received a grant of SEK 20,000 to make a simple prototype. To be honest, it didn't go well at all. When we produced the finished disc, it looked like a French beret...

Million-dollar production of discs

But shame on the quitter. David Berglund - also with a disc golf background but perhaps more importantly with business knowledge - moved home from Stockholm and joined the gang. In 2005, the quartet formed the company Latitude 64.

Development has brought success. Turnover has increased over the last five years on an impressive scale in millions of SEK: 9-18-32-51-56.
- Our dream was that the four of us could make a living from what had always been our hobby. It happened so fast for us to reach and pass that stage. Today we are 22 employees. We are hiring and aim to be 25 by the fall. I remember how great it felt when we received an order for 15,000 discs from the US. Such an order has become commonplace.

Today, Latitude 64 has an annual disc production of millions. The disc factory at Hedensbyn is currently being expanded with another 1000 square meters, to add to the 2000 existing.
- We are already starting to feel a concern about outgrowing the premises even after the expansion. Skellefteå Industrihus has been a very accommodating partner for us here. I am allergic to people who see problems instead of solutions. When we have needed to grow, we have always been responded to in a very solution-oriented way. This has facilitated our growth and allowed us to focus on product development and business development.

570 products in total

Latitude 64 also produces discs for Finnish partner Westside Disc and American brand Dynamic Disc.
In total, 570 products are made, in four different types of plastics, for players ranging from beginners to world-class.
- We are proud to offer products for everyone. At the same time, we have never backed away from the fact that quality should be felt in everything - the disc should look right, feel right in the hand and fly right regardless of the level of the thrower. This keeps people who buy discs from us coming back, and distributors wanting to continue working with us.

The fast pace of disc production has left little time for reflection. As Tomas puts it:
- We're busy all the time taking care of the day-to-day operations. It's really only once a year that I tend to stop and reflect - when I'm sitting with the accountant. How big can this really get?

Distribution gains through partnerships

Svante Eriksson has the role of sales manager at Latitude 64.
- I've had the easiest position. We've never managed to produce as much as our customers demanded.

Svante points to an important milestone in the development:
- We did the maths and dared to take a chance that it would pay off to go from manufacturing at Iplast to buying our own moulding machine. Iplast was also very fair in the transition and I feel that we generally have a very good business climate in Skellefteå. Then we have scaled up with two more machines, and two more and so on. When the next two machines are delivered in the autumn, the premises will be practically full again...

Svante believes that one key to Latitude 64's ability to scale up its international business is working closely with the Westside Disc and Dynamic Disc brands.
- We are much closer to consumers by being part of that sales organisation. It would have been virtually impossible for us to get into the big markets in the US and Finland if we had been distributing all the way ourselves. Jeremy Rusco who owns Dymamic Disc is also the stereotype of the American dream - for him nothing is impossible from a sales perspective. At the same time, we contribute to them with our strong product perspective. Through that, we pull each other.


Senast uppdaterad:
2 March 2023