From Bandages to King of the Slopes
Harald Quecke and Evelyn Grosse fought for life after a serious accident. But misfortune brought about a business idea: tights and shorts that help with pain. The idea could help thousands of people.
April 27, 2007 is a day Evelyn Grosse and Harald Quecke will never forget. Heading into the weekend, they were in route to the Alps to ski and crossed through the Via Mala where they hit a patch of freshly fallen snow and lost control. Harald Quecke drove straight into an oncoming car. “They have had horrible luck, “ said a doctor a few weeks later, who was overseeing their injuries at the hospital.
Almost everything was broken: wrists, shoulders, ribs, sacrum, vertebrae and the pelvis. There were also internal injuries, and in one operation Quecke was close to heart and lung failure. For twelve days he lay in a coma. “Bad luck?” No, Queck said to the doctor. “I’m lucky I’m still alive."
Slowly, the two fought back to life and now 50 and 51, are entrepreneurs. They boast an online store, the support of a successful entrepreneur in America and the will to succeed. In the years after the accident the two have learned how to be patient and tenacious. They believe in themselves and their product.
The Product that can help thousands of people
What they have to offer could help thousands of people. There are tights and shorts to help all kinds of injuries. “I can ski for hours,” says Grosse, whose pelvis was smashed. Quecke adds, “Skiers can go for days without getting sore when wearing our tights.” Although he still has pain and permanent damage, Quecke has been able to ski the Schwabe while wearing the pants. His right leg remains numb from the knee down and he cannot control his ankle. When in rehab, he and his therapist made a bet if he would ever walk again. With the urge of an ambitious recreational athlete he won the bet and is able to ski again.
Are the tights life changing? Quecke and other passionate skiers who have worn the tights have already experienced their incredible abilities. But he and Grosse are careful in describing the tights, because the subject of health is particular sensitive in Germany. Anything that is construed as a false promise can be expensive if proven untrue. This explains why the online shop reads like an excerpt from an anatomical textbook.
The product goes by the name Opedix and through a special combination of fabrics acts to properly align the muscles and joints of the wearer to reduce pain and fatigue.
These tights were born from yet another tale of misfortune. Kim Gustafson, who is in his early 50’s, worked as a ski instructor in Vail, CO. Years earlier he fell off a ladder and the old injury was still plaguing him. After five knee operations he was able to ski again, but only with a knee brace. He thought there must be a better way and brought together orthopedic surgeons and biomechanic specialists to the same table to develop a product that helps the knee return to a natural position. Opedix was born. Gustafson planned to sell the tights and the researchers would collect a cut in return for further research.
19 million skiers in German speaking countries
"I sat in Vail at the edge of the slope when I could not ski and read this story in the New York Times ," says Harald Quecke, reminiscing about the Colorado holiday in 2009 when he first learned of Opedix. Gustafson had transformed his handicap into a success." There are 19 million skiers in the German-speaking countries. Even if only one percent of them is injured, that’s still a lot of skiers, “ deduces Quecke, who who once sold ads for a newspaper and worked as an independent sales representative for a telephone company. For him, Opedix was more than just a product. Gustafson was convinced the technology worked, although he had not originally planned an expansion into Europe. Recently, Grosse and Quecke became an authorized distributor of Opedix.
Grosse and Quecke drive from ski lifts to sport hotels and golf courses to promote Opedix. Lo and behold, the traffic to the website continues to increase rapidly. Soon after they began promoting Opedix there were large orders for the tights.
Full time jobs are unsuitable
The two talk of their previous jobs: Grosse worked in a service office as the assistant of Prince Berhard of Baden for twenty years. Quecke was in the advertising industry. Following the accident, neither could hold a full time job with the amount of treatments needed each week. They do not want to rely solely on the help of others, so have sold many belongings to help with the cost of the treatment.
They know it is difficult to start a business, but nothing compares to the difficulties of the Spring of 2007. After the accident, they were in different clinics and had no news of the other. “We had only known each other a few weeks.” recalls Grosse. Having a partner gives you a will to live. Quecke felt responsible for his then ten year old daughter, but Grosse had no one.
The first battle they fought together was in rehab. In the following two and a half years they were together day and night, completing physiotherapy and motivating each other. “We are fighters by nature,” says Grosse. “It was inconceivable for me to never be able to walk again.” For Quecke, entrepreneurial success gives him a piece of restitution for Grosse because there is one thing he sure of, “I was to blame for the accident.”
(This is the English translation of this German article. To review the original article, please click here.)