Questions answered by CEO Reggie Charles:
What are the biggest trends shaping the hardgoods market for next year?
At HS we have tried to focus on our core customer and not chase trends so much. Luckily, it seems like Rocker Camber Technology is the hot ticket again this year. We are proud to offer Never Summer’s patented RC Tech on the entire line of High Society boards again this year.
What is the greatest change affecting your brand since last season?
Last year was our biggest growth year so far in the history of our brand. Working with new retailers while keeping our existing ones stocked and happy was hard to adjust to but I feel like we did a solid job and everyone is happy with the results.
How has the market evolved over the last year and how do you see things changing in the years ahead?
It seems like more customers know what they want when they walk in the doors of the shops these days. They are more educated and we think it's a good thing since our products are more technical and not price point. I don’t see this changing since information is so easy to find on any and all products available in the market.
How has sales forecasting changed for your company?
We have been working with Marty and the Sales Guys team for over a year now and anyone that knows Marty knows he loves to sales forecast. You have to ask him!
How are you working with retailers to help ensure strong margins, the right amount of product in the marketplace, and terms that set them up for success?
We have worked really hard over the past few years on working with the right strategic retail partners. We have been lucky to sell out of stock early the last few seasons and since the products are not available at every online site the retailers that do have them in stock can sell for top dollar and at a good margin. Working closely with the shop kids and managers to answer all questions about the gear and company has helped them pass along the story of HS to which customers have been responding really well.
How large are your lines going to be compared to years past? Have you seen customers confused by too many different stories?
Our lineup is not much bigger this year. The main thing that I think sets HS apart from other brands is our streamlined approach to our lines. Our line is tight, easy to buy and easy to sell. We make one Big mountain board, one freeride board, one parkboard and one womens board. They all have the latest technology, are the most durable in the industry and this simple, easy sales pitch is what makes HS sell.
With the shifting landscape of production abroad, are you reevaluating where you produce your hardgoods? If so, why?
No. We are proud to be one of the few brands made in the USA.
What opportunities do you see for growing hardgoods sales? Please explain. (Are you increasing your focus on kids, women, core retailers, chains, rental sales, internet sales, entry-level products, splitboards, etc.?)
The HS line is not getting much bigger in terms of hardgoods. Over the next 12 months we plan on pushing our international business and adding more of the top accounts in the US.
What do you anticipate prices doing next season?
Costs are going up on everything, transportation, materials, labor etc so I think that pricing will increase some on hardgoods. We are working closely with our partners to keep this at a manageable level for ourselves and customers.
What does your company hope to contribute to snowboarding?
Our goal has always been to make the best freeride snowboards available. By offering customers boards that they can ride year after year after year without losing any performance we feel we contribute value and quality to our customers. Our artwork is also something we take pride in, giving the riders something different.
What are the biggest forces shaping the changes and developments you've made to your boards?
The feedback last season was very positive. For this reason we have not changed too much on this year's line – small improvements to materials here and there but that's about it. Our dealers and end customers all tell us not to change a thing.
To what degree are you emphasizing camber shape in your lineup?
We are lucky to have access to Never Summers RC Tech on our boards. Anyone that has ridden a board with this knows how well it performs in all conditions. It's a big selling point for us and matched with our layups and models gives the customer a ride unlike any other.
Are you cooking up any new materials or construction techniques?
What themes are you seeing for graphics?
We have been working with the same team of artists for the last few years and I think our line has a nice range of color and look.