Person being interviewed: Dan McNamara, VP Sales North America, Mervin Mfg & Kyre Malkemes, Snowboard Category Manager, Mervin Mfg
What are the biggest trends shaping the hardgoods market for next year?
Refinement of rocker blends to get to the way snowboards should have been made all along.
What is the greatest change affecting your brand since last season?
The retail landscape is definitely an ever-changing one, but we have strong partners that we look forward to working with for years to come.
How has the market evolved over the last year and how do you see things changing in the years ahead?
Last winter’s lack of snow definitely taught everyone to look at their businesses even closer, and I think that is a good thing. It is easy to get complacent when things are going gangbusters.
How has sales forecasting changed for your company?
We build to demand as we always have. No one can predict the weather and I think a lot of times with forecasting a lot of people try to do that. You need to build what’s sensible and make sure your brand is strong enough to weather any rough patches.
What lessons have you learned with bookings and production for this season and how will you apply those to next?
I think it is more a philosophy than a lesson. We always will look to build to demand.
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?
Each account is different and has unique needs, but we always look to try to build off of past successes to set them up for the future and take and build on their feedback on what they think they need from us to build a strong partnership.
From your perspective, what does it take to create a meaningful relationship with customers? In 2013/2014, what do you think customers will expect from the brands they back?
Bottom line is honesty and coming through with what you say you are going to do. That’s the key to any relationship right?
With the shifting landscape of production abroad, are you reevaluating where you produce your hardgoods? If so, why?
We make all of our boards in the USA in our own factory, we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
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.?)
We’ve seen a lot of increase in our womens business, and our business in backcountry oriented boards and splitboards has been increasing as well. Even in territories without big mountains, people are getting out there and finding their own lines.
What do you anticipate prices doing next season?
I think it depends a lot on the brand but I think things have somewhat stabilized for the time being. Brands are more settling into price points than the reverse happening though.
Are you taking any steps to minimize your environmental impact? If so, what are some of these steps?
We have the World’s most EnvironMental Snowboard Factory. Hands down. What we do and have done since Mike and Pete started the company is because they care about the people building boards and their health. So everything from the resins we use (low VOC), solvents (citrus based), to recycling (nearly 7 tons per month) of everything from core wood and sawdust to base material (sublimated, no toxic top coats) are just part of what happens in our factory.
What are you doing to promote the growth of snowboarding and the next generation of riders (making kids gear, offering educational programs, developing innovative rental offerings, etc.)?
(Amber Stackhouse, Roxy Marketing and Team Manager)
- hold Roxy snow camps in Canada and the US.
- support summer camps (HCSC, Windell’s, and Camp of Champs).
- Roxy Facebook reaches 2.5 million girls world wide
- produce video and photo content that shows inspirational women’s snowboarding of our top athletes, so girl’s out there can see what is possible.
- our Shooting Star video contest supports the core of non-pro snowboarding girls.
- our PR team helps to spread the product out into mainstream media to get more visibility for snow.
- donate boards to The Service Board and Stoked Mentoring.
- support women’s specific nights and events, for instance we are sending product to Transworld for a women’s night where they will screen our videos, and product to Windell’s for their winter snowboard academy.
- support an elite team of female snowboarders that inspire the next generation.
What does your company hope to contribute to snowboarding?
To get more girls and women out on the hill. Make snowboarding feel accessible and inclusive, no matter if you’re a pro or just learning to make your first turns.