Up close and personal with Jamie Salter

An in-depth conversation with one of Canada’s most innovative entrepreneurs

Whether or not you are familiar with the name Jamie Salter, you will certainly have heard of his brands and partners. As the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Authentic Brands Group (Authentic), the self-made billionaire, along with a dedicated team of like-minded go-getters, has created a platform that drives the expansion of a portfolio of more than 50 super brands that span the fashion, entertainment, media and lifestyle sectors, including the brands of iconic athletes and celebrities such as David Beckham, Shaquille O’Neal, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali. 

Interview with business maverick Jamie Salter
Entrepreneur Jamie Salter (Courtesy of Jamie Salter)

Born in Toronto, Salter made his start in the 1980s selling windsurfing equipment before trailblazing a bigger opportunity in the then, nascent sport of snowboarding. His instincts were spot-on; he bought a snowboard business for $35,000 and sold it for $5 million four years later. He then founded his own brand, Ride Snowboards, and took it public in 1993. Years later, Salter used his nose for brand value and acquired the estate of Marilyn Monroe and Tapout. It was with the purchase of those iconic properties that Jamie founded Authentic in 2010. Over the last several years at Authentic, Salter has developed a proven track record of purchasing world renowned brands and growing their presence around the world—a formula that has amassed to more than $29 billion in annual retail sales. 

An important part of the formula is Salter’s hands-on approach to dealmaking, which requires him to spend hours per year traveling. “For me, the art of dealmaking is about finding a partner who shares your strategy and vision for the long term. It’s those partnerships, where both sides are genuinely excited to come together, that are the most successful,” Salter says. “Building a relationship with the person or company is incredibly important. In the digital age, it’s easy to call or meet over Zoom, but I fully believe there’s no better way to build a relationship than meeting face-to-face. No matter where a potential partner is in the world, I make it a point to fly to them, break bread and establish a mutual trust, both of which are done best when face-to-face.” 

"I fully believe there’s no better way to build a relationship than meeting face-to-face." Jamie Salter

In addition to using his jet to conduct in-person business around the world, Salter also relies on the long-range aircraft for its ability to land in specific airports. “You can land the Global 6000 in Aspen, and we care about that because the ski and snow markets are important for brands like Spyder and Volcom,” he says. Salter also appreciates the size and versatility of the plane’s galley, which he uses to prepare meals for his guests in flight. “I use the kitchen all the time,” he says. “I’m a chef, that’s sort of my claim to fame. When I’m not working, I love to cook.” 

Salter is always on the hunt for global brands, hyper-focused on his goal to make Authentic the biggest licensing company in the world. As of today, Authentic is on the heels of Disney in the licensing business and ranks number three on the Top 100 Global Licensor list published annually. In the meantime, when he’s not at home at his family cottage in Muskoka, you’re likely to find Salter traveling the world with members of the Authentic team.  “I was in Austria earlier this summer, and the next day I was in France, and the week before that I was in Asia,” he says. “It’s kind of crazy the schedule that I live, but thanks to Bombardier, I am able to enjoy the experience.”  

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