Pete Saari, VP of marketing:
How are you working with retailers to help ensure strong margins?
We try to build high performance products that feature progressive technologies and beautiful art that consumers find appealing and are willing to pay full retail price for. We don’t over produce so we are not dumping product in the market place every year. We try to protect our dealers as much as possible with clean stable distribution. Our reps work with shops to and encourage retailers to order what they think they can sell with an awareness that re-order product may not be available.
How do you see the hardgoods marketplace evolving next year?
We see more and more reverse camber boards in the market place many of which infringe on the Banana Technology patent that is currently pending.
What are the biggest changes you've made to your hardgoods business model in the last year?
We are not going to be making any major changes. We build high end high performance snowboards for specialty shop retailers. All our boards are handcrafted near Canada in the USA at Mervin Manufacturing.
What opportunities do you see for hardgoods sales?
Banana Technology with Magnetraction make snowboards more fun, higher performance and are easier to ride. We see more opportunity for growth in all categories with this Patent Pending technology. We have been filling in some size and widths with in our existing lines…We are adding a Lib Skate Banana kids line because some of our kids want to ride Libs. Banana tech can be ridden shorter than traditional boards so we are adding a few shorter wide sizes in the skate banana series. We have added and refined some of our high end products…Mike Olsons all Basalt no fiberglass “Horsepower Construction” has been refined and is used in the Banana Magic and a new high end Travis Rice Series. We have added our new Columbian Gold wood cores and Basalt to several lines including the Skunk Apes, TRS and Dark series.
What are price points doing?
We are not seeing any big changes in our price points other than the Cygnus X1 is getting more expensive because Mike Olson handbuilds them and it takes a long time.
Must have, new technologies have been about the only things selling at full ticket. What are you introducing that shop staff can demonstrate to customers and convince them that they have to have?
The Banana Tech with Magnetraction and C2 BTX Power Banana technology we introduced to the industry are still very important for us. We have added quite a few subtle refinements to these technologies. Our new Horsepower Construction, Basalt fiber and Columbian Gold ultralight farmed eco wood are exciting materials that add strength, reduce weight, and improve ride and performance and fun.
What's your philosophy on camber these days
Camber, when applied properly and combined with Banana Tech rocker between your feet, is your good friend.
We believe in snowboard specific geometries. Magneraction, Banana Tech, C2 Banana Tech. Snowboards are ridden with two feet sideways inputting control into one board. Our C2 BTX Power Bananas feature camber from the traditional nose contact to the inserts, “banana tech” rocker between your feet camber from the back inserts to the traditional tail contact. The rocker between your feet transfers pressure and control to the area between your feet adding control and edgegrip where you underfoot at your balance points where need it most. The rocker between feet is also naturally bent in the arc you need to turn your snowboard and allows incredible carving and provides float in powder and broken snow. The cambers at each end bring the tip and tail subtly back into the turning equation and add end to end stability and pop.
Camber is a great tool to spread a load. It works great when applied properly…flat bed trucks are a great example. Traditional tip to tail camber is a ski geometry borrowed and misapplied to snowboards. It was designed to work with one pressure point (your boot) inputing control into one ski. Traditional camber on a snowboard is inefficient leaves a dead unpressureable area between your feed and is difficult to ride.
Any new materials or construction technologies?
Volcanic Basalt Fiber is exciting. We have been using it for a decade under the name “Golden Fleece” but now we are moving it deeper into our lines and the Banana Magic and T Rice Horsepower Series feature all Basalt construction (no fiberglass). Basalt is cool because it is 92% stronger than traditional fiberglass…this allows you to either make a board of the same weight stronger or make lighter board strong. Basalt is cool because it doesn’t have any chemical additives that many fibeglasses use to help with wet out. Basalt is cool because it is naturally damp and smooth riding and has tons of pop and return.
Columbian Gold farmed eco wood. This new wood is fast growing light, strong, bonds great and has tons of return and pop. The Mervin wood shop has worked with lots of nice long fibered farmed woods but this new one is the best ever…it truly is natures fiberglass.
BEANs bio Polymer non petrolium based top material is still exciting.
Basalt, BEANs and Columbian gold in various combinations can be found on many models in the Lib line…the supreme combination of these three ultra-high tech materials is what creates our new Horsepower construction built into the Banana Magic and Travis Rice Horsepower Series.
What themes are you seeing for graphics?
Beautiful art done by snowboarders seems to make us feel good.