The Nidecker Group has acquired Flow Snowboarding from Flow Sports and SOURCE has spoken with the group’s Chief Marketing Officer and Brand Manager for Nidecker and now Flow, Thierry Kunz to find out more details.
Please explain the key attractions of Flow to Nidecker.
Flow has been connected with Nidecker since day one as Shiro Trading (owner of Pryde Group and Flow sport) distributed Nidecker in the 90s. Nidecker and Flow also used the same patent on the back entry system.
But what ultimately led to Nidecker’s acquisition of Flow, was that Flow complements our brand portfolio nicely and also runs with a similar strategy to the Nidecker brand.
And Flow fits with Nidecker on all levels; product-wise thanks to the binding category with the speed entry system and boots. Whereas Nidecker is known for its snowboards and Flow for its boots and bindings, both brands make all three categories and can now complement each other in these segments. It works distribution-wise as Flow is stronger in certain regions and Nidecker in others, so now both brands can work together to build upon this.
How does Flow fit into the portfolio of brands in the Nidecker group?
Our goal is to cater for all types of consumer; from the most core to the occasional enthusiast participant and from the big mountain rider to the freestyler or on-piste carver. So for us it was important to make sure that we integrated a brand that targets a certain profile of consumer. And for Flow the target is clearly the occasional enthusiast participant, which is the same as for the Nidecker brand, but in a different way.
Please tell us about the new management team at Flow.
Acquisitions are never easy when it comes to organisational changes, especially when one company is based in California and the other in Switzerland. So we are currently in a transition period, but what I can tell you is that I will manage the brand starting from now. How it will be finalized is still to be sorted, but we expect the transition to be complete by the end of the season.
What opportunities do you see in the beginner and also the older market?
We’re interested in all participants, but are focusing on two things: First of all, carving because it’s what most people like to do and it talks to every demographic – now it’s cool to carve on the piste and I’m sure that a lot of snowboarders who switched to skiing, thinking snowboarding was dead, will return thinking that it’s cool again. And the second focus is beginners, because except for Burton, no other brand speaks to the beginner in their marketing.
At Nidecker we create a lot of tools to make sure that beginners select the right product (because it’s not just a question of price point) and that they are perfectly set up on the board. We’ve done a lot of research to find an easy and clear way to know your stance, your angles and what board you should ride depending on your weight, shoe size, level and the type of riding you want to do. All of these tools are of no use to core brands, but for us they are the basics of snowboarding and I think that more that two thirds of snowboarders aren’t set up on their board correctly or they don’t have the board they should have. And it’s without this service that people are buying from online retailers and receive a board or pair of bindings at home without the knowledge of how to mount everything properly. For us this is massively important, otherwise it’s like playing a guitar whilst wearing a pair of boxing gloves.
How will you use Flow technology across the group?
Flow is a company full of very interesting technology and for us it’s important to create bridges between brands when it’s useful. We are integrating two pairs of bindings and one boot with Flow technology. But we have also implemented a strap, which was developed two years ago for Now Bindings on the Nidecker Carbon two strap binding. So yes it’s important to combine technology, but each brand takes the lead and exclusivity for the launch of each technology.
How does the Nidecker group see the future for the rental market?
The rental market is another big subject for us. I believe that rental will increase drastically in the future. But for us it’s not just a question of price, it’s a question of the system and Flow will help us with not just the product, but everything else that comes along with that. We are working to revolutionize the rental market.