Retail Buyers Guide: Staff Sales Handbook: Snowboards 17/18
Key product focus:
We continue this year with our flagship (and only) board The Algernon – an all-mountain freeride board.
Construction. Using any new inserts / edge tech / cores / sidewalls / glue /wood types / metals / bases / other materials?
Last year we initiated a zero discount philosophy and a commitment to only change our product line when merited by a technical approach and/or construction advancement in the R&D process. During this time, we’ve been able to collect a wealth of information from customers and Loaded ambassadors that has helped shape our current explorations. We believe that in order to effectively support shops, we should avoid yearly graphic changes and overproducing. This inherently influences how we develop new product, but when we come to market with something new we expect it to have a significant impact to the board sports industry.
Where will you build your boards, any changes? What makes this production facility the best solution for you?
We build our boards with Ernie DeLost right here in sunny California. He builds our skate lineup as well which influences what we do in snow and vice versa. The beauty of producing in the US, not to mention in Southern California, is we can prototype and ride within days – a luxury we continue to respect.
Needless to say, this allows us to forego the challenges of working off of pre-books and we remain engaged throughout the entire process.
Where is the pricepoint that’s working best right now? Right on top, at the bottom, or somewhere in-between?Our pricing remains the same as last year. As mentioned earlier, we feel this promotes a healthier and more sustainable industry. We are likely at the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to pricing, but feel it fair given our distribution model, the quality of our product, and commitment to local manufacture.
How long is your warranty, anything new here?
Loaded offers a limited lifetime warranty on every skateboard and snowboard we produce. We build our boards to last.
We’re seeing a lot of small, grassroots snowboard brands getting traction again. How does this affect you brand, marketing & position?
I’m not so sure we aren’t one of those grassroots brands. I’d say we’d welcome that designation and support fresh ideas coming from garages, sheds and other shady digs that might stoke the creative process.
What inspires your topsheet & base aesthetics?
We let the materials speak for themselves with understated branding. We simply try to curate how the materials relate to one another both functionally and aesthetically.
Shops are asking for a two-year product life cycle to help sell boards on price longer. Any thoughts on this, or featuring any carryover boards in the line?
This is an interesting thought. It’s somewhat counter to what we feel we should be providing as a hard good brand – the highest quality experience and products. Quality correlates to product durability. Our goal always is to share the passion we’ve put into our products; less in a product life-cycle kind of way and more to understand the experience had while using our products.
We believe that product lifecycle should be determined by the ability to provide a new, more advanced experience. Changing graphics to have a yearly board leads to overproduction and general devaluation of snowboarding. A 2 year product lifecycle is a step in the right direction although even two years is an artificial construct. Product lifecycle should primarily be driven by significant performance innovations.
Doing splitboards? What are you doing to push this segment forward?
We’ve had a few riders split their Algernon the old-fashioned way. It makes for an ideal splitboard with its solid bamboo core.