What are the biggest trends shaping the hardgoods market for next year? For snowboarding I would say base shapes and the rising popularity of split boards.
What is the greatest change affecting your brand since last season? Skyrocketing demand and meeting the challenges of that demand by producing the highest quality snowboards on the market while committing to keep our manufacturing in the USA and keeping our prices affordable.
How has the market evolved over the last year and how do you see things changing in the years ahead? Buyers are more educated and are not settling for the cheapest options. They understand that higher quality materials result in better performing snowboards. They want to buy from USA brands that support our local economies. In the future I see the rise of micro factories that cater to buyers unique needs.
How has sales forecasting changed for your company? Skyrocketing, our sales and demand for our boards are growing exponentially.
What lessons have you learned with bookings and production for this season and how will you apply those to next? We upgraded our factory to a much larger facility this year in Evergreen, CO. Our location is ideal as we are right off I-70 on the way to most Colorado resorts. We have purchased many new pieces of equipment that allow us to produce boards quicker with the same high quality we demand out of our boards.
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 consider our retailers as our business partners and work with them on providing excellent customer service. They are the front lines of our business and we provide support to help them be successful.
How large are your lines going to be compared to years past? Have you seen customers confused by too many different stories? At OZ we keep our boards simple. We have spent many years developing the perfect board for the majority of our target clientele. If a client wants something out of our lineup we can custom fabricate to their specs.
With the shifting landscape of production abroad, are you reevaluating where you produce your hardgoods? If so, why? Absolutely not! OZ has 100% committed to keeping production here in the USA. If we can't produce boards in the USA with our ingenuity and hardworking employees then we won't make snowboards anymore. I think buyers are realizing that you get what you pay for. Cheap imports will never compare to American hand crafted quality. It is sad to see so much of our industry's production overseas. I think there is a buyer revolt in the works against companies who source their production to other countries.
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, split boards, etc.?) We are focusing on the growing middle generation of snowboarders. Ages 30-50 are getting left behind and yet they make a large portion of the snowboarding community. OZ believes there are many middle aged snowboarders who don't want the glitzy designs that most manufacturers produce. They want a classy low profile high performance board.
What do you anticipate prices doing next season? Remaining the same.
Are you taking any steps to minimize your environmental impact? If so, what are some of these steps? Absolutely. At OZ part of our mission statement is to reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible. We use an epoxy made from bio-renewable materials, we recycle all of our scraps, our factory is wind powered and we use wood veneers for most of our boards. We also offer buyers a $25 credit towards a new snowboard if they drop off their old snowboards at our shop so we can recycle it.
What does your company hope to contribute to snowboarding? Revolutionary designs that make our snowboarders better at what they love to do. We will always be pushing the boundaries of design and progressing board designs.
What are the biggest forces shaping the changes and developments you've made to your boards? The biggest force shaping our boards is our client's needs. We listen to what our riders want and incorporate them into our board designs. As a micro-factory we can make changes to our board lineups instantly.
To what degree are you emphasizing camber shape in your lineup? Camber is huge to us. The recent swing to rocker is just a quick fad that will always have its place for beginner snowboarders. Once new snowboarders gain experience and realize a rocker snowboard doesn't allow them to maximize their performance they will switch to a cambered board.
Are you cooking up any new materials or construction techniques? We use aerospace grade triaxial carbon fiber and Kevlar honeycomb/poplar cores to lighten our boards and make them stronger, lighter and faster.
What themes are you seeing for graphics? We are seeing a rise in the desire for wood veneered snowboards. Wood veneer is a classy look that appeals to all ages and sexes. We want our boards to look good enough that our clients can hang them on the wall as art.