More About Us
This all started because John Beech (the founder) didn't have the money (on a
middle school math teacher's salary) to buy some giant scale servos for a model
he wanted to build. Worse (from Lynn's viewpoint), it wasn't keeping her in the
style, to which she wanted to become accustomed either! Unfortunately, a
second job meant no hobby time and while part-time employment wasn't hard to
find, McJob wages wouldn't cut it so he decided to start his own business.
This entrepreneurial goal (of augmenting his teacher's salary) led to
Genesis Hobby, but we're getting ahead of ourselves because as John
soon learned, the difference between wishing to start a business and actually
starting one is a fair stretch – for pretty much the same reasons ascribed in
Scottish Proverbs, "If wishes were horses beggars would
Anyway, in trying to figure what he wanted to do, John soon hit on the idea
of converting one of his many hobbies into a part time business (figuring then
it wouldn't actually be work). So he turned to the hobby he loved the most,
remote control model airplanes and to this added something he had an interest in
but knew nothing about, video production.
With an idea in hand, next he scraped together his life's savings, sold
everything that wasn't nailed down, and maxed out his credit cards to buy a
professional video camera, editing equipment, etc. He named his new venture
Panache Productions and set about making model airplane videos.
By the way, this engendered deck-to-deck tape editing complete with pre-roll,
time code, and time base correctors. Moreover, this predated digital
computer editing, Twitter, and YouTube – yes, it was the dark ages!
While thinking he'd entered the world of professional video production and
riches would soon follow, it didn't take John long to realize that not only was
his teacher's salary still not keeping him in toys, neither was
Panache! You see, there's a world of difference between making videos
for sale and actually selling commercially viable videos! Thus, he buckled down
to learning the serious business of producing videos folks would actually pay
good money for. Of course, this wouldn't be much of a story if business hadn't
Before too long John realized he had the money to buy the giant scale servos
but hadn't actually gotten around to buying them because his part-time job had
become full-time. Worse, now he didn't have time to fly! Something had to
give and hence, the low-pay and rather thankless job of teaching 8th grade math
fell by the wayside and Panache became his full time occupation.
But change was afoot as one day the phone rings – "Beech, let us be
your exclusive distributor and we'll make you a millionaire!", said the
fellow on the other end of the line (or words to that effect).
Yup, Panache had come to the attention of Great Planes,
the world's largest hobby product distributor. Since money, or the lack thereof
had been the impetus for all this, and thinking how nice being a
millionaire would be, John agreed.
Thus, Panache joined a distinguished group of Great Planes
exclusively distributed products like OS Max, Futaba, and Top
Flite. The fly in the ointment was that successful companies are made up of
smart people and being the sole distributor (and privy to the numbers) soon
led the talented folks at Great Planes to try their hand at making
videos (and videos aren't really that hard to make). Following the launch of
their self-made MonoKote video, it didn't take a genius to see the
handwriting on the wall and John figured it was time to move on.
As it turned out, while they had learned a little about the video business
from John, he in turn had been busy learning a little bit about the hobby
distribution business. Seeing the possibilities in eliminating the middleman and
free to create a new product line, John hit on the idea of a video
magazine. One composed of recurring segment and thus, was born
By focusing on diverse products, combined with his teaching experience, John
soon had another success on his hands and "Why take years to learn what the
pros know?" became a trademark.
Introduced at the 43rd Toledo R/C Expo in the spring of 1997, the
first issue of Modelsport was such a hit that before noon Saturday,
John had sold all he had! By year's end, Modelsport was available in 33
hobby shops, which grew to 95 the following year. Thusly, we
were on our way as a self-distributed product line!
Remarkably popular, the 2-hour long issues feature assorted "how-to" segments
covering a diverse range of subjects including modeling techniques, R/C engines,
radio programming, tips and tricks, flying and trade events, tools,
construction, and new products. Moreover, through serendipity,
Modelsport viewers were often influential, e.g. the movers and shakers in
their clubs so slowly but surely (principally through word of mouth) the dealer
base continued to grow. Before long Modelsport grew to become the
best selling line of videos in the entire of world! Not too bad for a
self-distributed one-trick-pony product line, eh?
Then, while flying to Las Vegas to film the TOC in late 2002, John had a
health scare. 2003 and 2004 were recovery years and his restricted activities
meant only a few issues were released. Aware the misfortune dealt his growing
business could easily have meant its demise, John resolved to diversify beyond
Modelsport. Looking back, and not counting the 11 programs from the
Panache lineup, John has been responsible for 27 more programs under
the ægis of Modelsport, each a minimum of 2-hours in length – an amazing
55-hours of quality television programming available on VHS and/or DVD!
Then, in 2004, when an opportunity to partner with a Korean business on an
R/C model helicopter presented itself – which John saw as squarely within his
wheelhouse because helicopters had long been his special interest in the sport –
he didn't hesitate. However, because of the overwhelming dominance of existing
Chinese products, everyone told him he couldn't possibly succeed. And by
everyone, we mean friends, family, as well as his bean counter, lawyer,
and most importantly, his banker!
Utterly convinced – John spent a year raising capital. Once again this meant
liquidating assets (e.g. selling anything not nailed down), as well as
mortgaging their home, cashing out his 401(k), and even raiding his daughter's
college savings account in preparation for a gutsy leap to a new business.
Finally, with all the chips on the table, he took the plunge and released his
first model, the Tiger 50. Moreover, thumbing his nose at prevailing
opinion (the banker actually said, "While we admire your chutzpah we're
going to pass on making this loan."), John (having looked up chutzpah and
learned it meant audacity in Hebrew) christened his fledgeling new business
Audacity Models (www.audacitymodels.com).
But going head-to-head against the giant Oriental manufacturers, with their
seemingly never ending resourecs and money takes more than pluck. It's also
meant crossing swords with state-sponsored Communist enterprises featuring a
work force earning little more than a $1 a day! Thus, more than a
good product and daring, it's required superb customer service, plus a some
luck. By God's grace we released the Tiger 50 in spring 2005 to
rave reviews – http://www.genesishobby.com/tiger-review.aspx
– but most gratifying to John; an expanding base of satisfied
In the fullnes of time, our tiny American company – genuinely David vs.
Goliath by any measure – has been making solid inroads.
Spring 2008 saw the birth of the Pantera 50, a more capable
model (and euthanasia for the Tiger 50 though parts support continues
to this day). In the spring of 2011 the story was futhered with the
Pantera P6, a further refinement of the Tiger and
Meanwhile, despite starting with a single product line, John reasoned the
600-strong Modelsport dealer base meant we had de facto attained
distributor status. Judging the time was right for an expanded business entity's
focus, in 2004, we de jure re-christened ourselves Genesis
Hobby because it represents a new way of doing business. At heart,
we're remain true to our roots and thus, we're small enough to know you and big
enough to serve you . . . with one goal, to do so we as would like to
be served (were the shoe on the other foot).
While we began in our garage, for a whole we occupied 5000 square feet.
We're now down to just our 3,000 square feet steel warehouse, which at
about $0.85 per square foot is one of the cheapest rates in town. We like
it here. We like it a lot – despite the hurricanes. Case
in point, when Hurricane Charlie blew through in August 2004 and destroyed our
2000 square foot office and video production studio, we hurridly salvaged
our computers, cameras, desks, lighting, and office equipment (literally during
the eye of the storm by the headlights of our cars) and hastily moved
everything back into the garage.
When we learned our insurance didn't cover our 'outbuilding' we were
devastated because it meant we had to eat the entire
loss. Sadly, we learned FEMA wouldn't help either. Thus,
with no choice but to knuckle down, and redouble our efforts we
again set to work. In the meantime, we learned despite government
propaganda to the contrary, banks don't really like to lend to micro-cap
businesses like our. Thus, we have Modelsport in hiatus at
present. However, following what proved to be a disaster for Floridians
everywhere (and our bretheren on the Gulf coast the next year with Katrina) we
still have our health, and each other. That's what's really important.
Meanwhile, when new employees are interviewed, we explain our warehouse
isn't air conditioned. This means it gets to 95°F nearly every day in the
summers, occasionally over 100°F. In the winter it's rarely above 60°F. We
mention this before bringing anyone new aboard because it's sweat and sweat
alike, all for one and one for all, yada, yada. Moreover, John (not so
jokingly) refers to himself as the general manager and janitor because he says
no job is too small. Thus, everyone is expected to lend a hand.
The flip side of working hard is playing hard and thus, we close on weekends.
Moreover, we like to get folks out of here by 5 PM because John figures an
employee who has plans after work is more efficient than one who has no life.
That, and since they want to get home to family and hobbies they work hard
to get the work done on time so they won't have to stay
late. He says, "You shouldn't expect the job to be someone's
life – not if you want to keep them around for a long time."
Anyway, while we had been profitable in 8 of the preceeding 15 years leading
up to the Great Recession, which began in 2007 we're presently just hanging on
like everyone else. Fortunately, we promptly recognized the sitation
and began cutting back on advertising and other expenses, as well
personnel, and R&D because this wasn't our first recession. E.g. we
knew what to do. Unfortunately, it's lasted far longer than any other in our
experience. We're now cash flow neutral, but only because we quickly 'right
sized' to weather this economic storm. That and there are no
top-heavy salaries. Yes, we fret a lot during the slow weeks and
Meanwhile, our mission is to make things that wouldn't be made if we weren't
here; to offer an alternative to 3D-centric helicopters and to promote
a different approach to the sport – where fun and
cameraderie come ahead of chintz and flash or the stress of competiton. At
no time in our history have we made exaggerated claims, caved in to market
pressures to make fragile carbon fiber models, or otherwise veered off our path
of offering pratical, rugged, honest handling model helicopters. It's
who we are.
Smart business-types say a business should be dynamic, flexible, and quick to
change at a moment's notice. However, when we survey the butt-load of me-too
carbon fiber models out of China we wonder who's leading if everybody is?
Frankly, the last thing we're going to do is copy what everybody else is doing.
Interestingly enough, the kind of customers we attract aren't sheeple
As for our competition, the last thing they'll do is introduce a new
fiber-reinforced engineering-plastic side frame model. Moreover, we know the
carbon fiber helis are going to exist, and we hope we can, too. Frankly,
passion, commitment, and belief aside we know plastic side frames will turn
some people off (just as some folks don't like Glock handguns, which use the
same polymer we use in Pantera's side frames).
In fact, some good customers will outgrow us, or won't like the fact we've
chosen to follow the road less taken. Fortunately, enough folks like
our practical approach – or tire of the gaudy Chinese
helicopters – to keep us in business. Anyway, if you'd like to
know more, just ask . . . and if you're just curious to know more
about John himself, click
Genesis Hobby exclusive brands include Audacity Models (www.audacitymodels.com),
and ProModeler (www.promodeler.com).