Hailing from Concord, New Hampshire, Matt Jagemann got his start in the action sports industry nearly 15 years ago, working his way up as a shop kid, manger and eventually a buyer. Soon thereafter, Jagemann took his first job as a sales rep and the rest is history.
“From there, I just started building my business with brands that I had interest in and believed in,” says Jagemann. “I could never work for a brand for which I did not have a genuine interest in. That’s just not my style, and that may be one contributor to the success of the business.”
As owner of White Flag Sales, Jagemann and his crew represent some of the most well-recognized brands in the business, including Burton Snowboards, RED Protection, Anon Optics, Forum Snowboards, Special Blend, and Foursquare Outerwear throughout his territory of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachussetts, and Connecticut. This year, Jagemann’s hard work payed off when he was named TransWorld Business New England Sales Rep Of the Year, and his dedication to the job seems to be even more strong today than ever.
“Snowboarding has always been about fun, and being able to be surrounded by others who share the passion for the sport is an absolute dream,” says Jagemann. “Not only am I fortunate to be surrounded by passionate, driven individuals, I am also fortunate to be employed by the best snowboarding brands in the industry.”
We sat down with Jagemann to find out what makes him tick and his outlook on the industry.
What is most rewarding about working as a rep in this industry?
The most rewarding thing about working with the brands and retailers is a great question. There are many, but there is definitely one that stands out. I genuinely want to see both retailer and the brands succeed. It’s a partnership. When it all comes down to it with the retailer and brand relationship. Both need to succeed and be profitable in these economic times. If I can be a part of their success, then I have succeeded as their sales rep. I consider that success a goal. I challenge myself and team to reach that goal, which is always a motivator.
What is your philosophy on your role?
Relationships are a base of business. You need them and you need to know how to keep that fine line of friendship and business always intact and secure. I have been working this zone for an extended amount of time and I consider my current account base almost extended family. We all look out for each other. I try my hardest to not let them down. I never raise myself above my retailers, as they are the life source of my income. Without the shops in the world, what good are sales reps? Right? What good is a company without shops to support the sport? Support and Service have been long standing ideals for the agency. Work hard, do whatever it takes, within reason, to not only support the company and retailers, but also snowboarding’s future.
Why do you retailers nominated White Flag?
Well, as stated above, when the outside economic conditions influence the industry, I believe that shop involvement and integration will hold the key to success. A true committed agency is supportive of its account base and snowboarding. Helping out shops be successful and being on point with exactly what they need to be successful is crucial during these times. Over the past years I believe shops respect what the agency has built. New England is family. The industry is small and we all need to coexist. White Flag has succeeded in keeping a high level of customer service, a commitment to not only our brands but to progressing snowboarding in the zone. We are integrated in the local scene and damn proud of it. Deep down we are all a bunch of snowboarders who love what we do and our shops share in our excitement.
What motivates you to excel at what you do?
I do believe we all here at White Flag have a great grasp of the shop life. We have all worked in shops for many years and I have actually had the chance to start and own a shop. I have experienced a lot of what it takes to start and run a business and taken what I have learned and applied it to my sales agency and my crew. It’s this common understanding of Rep Agency/Company/Retailer which has aided in the success of this current role.
Highlights and challenges?
The obvious highlight from 2010 is the recent acquiring of Burton, RED, and Anon. Who would have thought it? This was an absolute dream come true for my crew and me. My first board was Burton Elite 140. Burton as a brand was a major influence in sparking my snowboard interest. To be now involved with the reason I started snowboarding and to be a part of such a heritage driven brand is just amazing.
Core accounts had a tough year. I consider core shops the blood of snowboarding. Snowboarding is a culture. You start snowboarding, you hang out at your local shop and hang with the staff and talk tech and videos, you travel and ride with your friends to escape that “reality of life” and to experience fun. Specialty needs the attention now. The world is a much smaller place and the informational resources are now at every click. There are many ideas you can offer up to help these accounts. Participating in local events, working in the shop for a day, implementing sales contests, etc. There are many ideas. These are a few for now; I can’t give you all our secrets!
Predictions for 2011?
The tide is going to turn. The economy will get better, but it won’t be a quick one. As much as we all want it to be quick, it will take some time to recover. I would keep fighting and staying true to one’s business. But I am completely optimistic for the near future.
Would you like to add anything else we haven’t discussed?
My success does not come down to a solo effort. I share my success with my stores. They have supported me throughout the years. Huge thanks goes out to my brands for their support along with giving me the opportunity to sell the best products in the snowboard industry. A thanks goes out to, of course, my stellar sales crew for just killing it and sharing their passion for snowboarding with the territory and me. Lastly, snowboarding for being the absolute funnest sport around.