Josh Wright: A Proficient Leader with a Wealth of Industry Experience

Josh Wright is a multi-award winning industrial designer and the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Catalyst. It is a lifestyle accessories brand founded by adventure enthusiasts Josh and June Lai to create innovative products that inspire people to go outside, experience adventure, and connect with nature.

A Passionate Entrepreneur

Josh graduated from the prestigious Art Center College of Design (ACCD) in the U.S. During the early days of his career, Josh designed sports and lifestyle products, including footwear and backpacks for various surf, skate, and snow companies. He also worked with the Coleman Company for six months, where his designs contributed $30 million to the company’s bottom line and 17 years later, the design solutions are still selling. Josh worked at Tumi in New York, designing high-tech carbon-fiber luggage and helping to expand product categories into footwear, wristwatches, and apparel.

Josh Wright
Josh Wright, Co-founder and CEO, Catalyst

“In 2006, I got an amazing opportunity in Hong Kong and spent the next five years working at a world-class design consultancy firm before teaming up with my climbing partner, and now business partner, June Lai to start Catalyst,” asserts Josh. He believes that his tutelage and experience at ACCD was pivotal in shaping his career path. ACCD has also planted the seeds and provided the tools that helped him to start his own company. “We were trained on how to market ourselves, our skills and ultimately independently create our products, license our designs, or run our design consultancy.” He was also guided to find a strong partner with business skills that complemented with design abilities. Josh was working on another startup for a footwear brand when June Lai invited him to join a few meetings with the team. Shortly, they decided to start a venture together.

He goes on to say, a key takeaway from the company was that design is not for the sake of design. There are multiple elements to take into consideration and design is a tool for content and business – a key and integral part of a much larger picture. “I was also taught there are many companies who already have great creatives and design. Going to work for Porsche, Microsoft, Ferrari, or Apple would make very little difference for these brands/companies. Rather, find a company without design and make an impact with your talents and proposed solutions,” asserts Josh.

Motive behind Catalyst

Catalyst is a design and innovation company that has built a brand name and reputation on designing and developing the most high-performance waterproof, drop-proof protective cases for electronic devices for everyday use. The cases are made using the highest technology and are protective and functional. The company aims to fill a critical gap in the market for consumers.

The company’s first product, which is still its flagship product, is the Waterproof case for iPhone. The design and level of protection have evolved significantly since the release of the first case for the iPhone 4. The team launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2010 and released the first waterproof case for the iPhone 4. Starting with one product that was designed to address a personal pain point, today, Catalyst has reached a tipping point where it’s becoming a global household brand name. Its signature cases are 100% waterproof to 3 – 5x more waterproof than any other everyday case on the market and provide 360 protection for the device. Catalyst has developed several unique features and technologies that are proprietary to the brand name and make the company the preferred brand for overall protection.

“We have 100’s of SKUs designed for a full range of Apple products as well as Samsung and Google, and our products are available in over 70 countries and major retailers including Apple, BestBuy, and Target, as well as eight Amazon marketplaces, four official websites through Shopify and WeChat in China,” affirms Josh. The staff and resources have grown to more than 50 employees positioned in their home office in Hong Kong and strategically in various regions around the world.

Future Insights

As an entrepreneur, Integrity and commitment to excellence are at the top of Josh’s list. He started this as a designer who is passionate about designing and making products that brought value to the people. “My goal is to build more leaders and design ideas around me to continue to grow what we do to create more products and brands that bring value to the world,” expresses Josh.

The team just expanded its brand and line of protective products that help enable social distancing in the healthcare market to address and help benefit the critical shortages in PPE caused by the pandemic. Recently, it launched the Total Protection Case for AirPods Pro, which is completely waterproof, cleanable, and can be disinfected against coronavirus using a 70% alcohol solution.

“Now we’ve added products including KN95 Non-NIOSH-Approved Filtering Facepiece Respirators, Catalyst Face Shields, Face Masks, Comfort Extenders, social distancing barriers and more to make sure individuals, officials, front line workers, businesses and communities have enough of what they need to keep everyone safe during the pandemic,” concludes Josh.