Questions answered by Hunter Waldron, Global Marketing Manager:
What are the biggest trends shaping the hardgoods market for next year?
Backcountry riding, splitboards, rocker variations, cleaner boot colorways, Boa lacing just to name a few
What is the greatest change affecting your brand since last season?
No one single game changer, but the constant evolution of our products. We are always refining both our products and out sales and marketing programs. We feel we have never been stronger.
How has the market evolved over the last year and how do you see things changing in the years ahead?
To state the obvious, web. Sales, marketing everything is focusing more and more there.
How large are your lines going to be compared to years past? Have you seen customers confused by too many different stories?
We are about the same as last year. We made some tune up in our mix to make sure targets are hit and we are efficient. I definitely feel the market is at a confusing point right now. The rocker confusion is tough on the consumer right now. Our aim is consistency and simplicity in that noise. We have the most consistent and easy to understand Rocker story with our Baseline technology and we plan to stick to that.
With the shifting landscape of production abroad, are you reevaluating where you produce your hardgoods? If so, why?
The product group is always looking at options. Bringing the best quality and features for the dollar is always a part of K2.
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 backcountry and splitboard category is a huge opportunity that we are deep in. K2 has always been a backcountry brand form the beginning and this year's expanded line will help reinforce that. Also Luggage and packs. Our bag department is focused on making the best bags that fit and compliment our hardgoods for the perfect shred travel system.
Are you taking any steps to minimize your environmental impact? If so, what are some of these steps?
We have a number of reduced footprint products in our line. Also there is an greater effect that is coming from general practices and material choices that aren't talked about as much. Choosing recycled content where we can in sidewalls and boot components, right down to keeping an eye on our airtravel amounts. It is those day-to-day carbon hits that aren't directly visible in a product that add up.
What does your company hope to contribute to snowboarding?
Man that is tough. In general we just do what we do and supporting and contributing to snowboarding is a part of that naturally. We are entering into our 25th year and we have had a chance to look back at all the history and goodtimes we have had over the years in this snowboarding industry and world. I feel like the times that we have contributed the most are when we out there having a goodtime making the best products we can and supporting the athletes and consumers the best we can.
What are the biggest forces shaping the changes and developments you've made to your boards?
Athletes. They set the pace and push us to make things better or different. They challenge us to make things lighter or turn better or even whole new board ideas. The Happy Hour is a great example of that.
To what degree are you emphasizing camber shape in your lineup?
We are focused on flat as our most responsive Baseline profile. It strikes the perfect balance of the pop and feedback of camber with the more intentional initiation roll up.
Are you cooking up any new materials or construction techniques?
There is always new things cooking in our R+D facility. Something that gets overlooked sometimes is how considered our splitboard design is. Details like ABS hardware blocks that are built into the core so that all hardware attachment points are anchored in ABD sidewall material, and not drilled into wood like traditional constructions. It is the little things that standout when you are deep in the mountians.
What themes are you seeing for graphics?
More cleaner graphics are popping up. Less all over print and more good color and simple.