Retail Buyers Guide: Cruisers 2018
Brand: Arbor Collective
Interviewee: Nate Shute, Marketing Manager
What are your main price points for next season?
The biggest pricing news for Arbor Skateboards is connected to our new partnership with Absolute Board Co., who will be overseeing distribution globally. This new structure has allowed us to reduce our average retail price in Europe by 20-25%, bringing European retail pricing in line with MSRP in the USA, before taxes.
As before, the Arbor Skateboards line is designed to provide customers a wide range of price points. We create this variety by offering our signature shapes with multiple finishes: die-cut grip, bamboo veneer, standard wood veneer, and premium wood veneer. This staged design strategy allows us to create a “good, better, best, premium” pricing structure that gives customers access the price point and design that’s right for them.
How are you segmenting your cruisers collection?
Our entire line into Series and Collections. Each Series denotes a different category of cruiser shapes: Flagship = drop-through designs, Groundswell = carvers, Foundation = standard cruisers, Crosscut = hybrid shapes, and Legacy = street shapes.
Our Collections pull together some of our best selling shapes from different Series’ to build collaborations with artists or photographers, or tell material and design stories, such as the Bamboo Collection, the New Solstice “women’s specific” Collection, and the new Micron “micro-cruiser” Collection.
How can retailers generate growth and customer interest in cruisers?
By continuing to endorse the reality that a skateboard enhances all aspects of life: travel, daily commutes, getting outdoors, staying healthy, and all aspects of life on the go. The imagery we utilize at Arbor is chosen to show how much fun skateboarding is, but in an interesting and accessible way that makes people want to get out and skate.
What is your collection theme and which stories are you telling to get customers stoked on cruisers with a boardsports flavour?
For more than 20 years Arbor Skateboards’ design and construction have been centred around our use of wood. Arbor is the Latin word for tree, tying the brand directly to this central story, and our pioneering use of unique wood materials.
Today, Arbor continues to build our designs around a range of sustainably sourced woods and bamboo. The whole effort ties back to the heritage of early surfboard design; a time when wood was the dominant material and set the tone for a long-standing tradition of using wood in surf and skate design.
Arbor Collective has also been committed to the protection of forests, since day one. Our focus is the restoration of Hawaii’s native Koa highlands. The Hawaiians invented surfing as early as 800 years ago, on boards made from Koa wood. Through our Returning Roots program, Arbor is giving back to the planet, and to the roots of the surf/skate/snowboard experience. Returning Roots is not just planting trees, we’re rebuilding forests.
Are you noticing an increase in female riders? Are you targeting this segment specifically?
We are definitely seeing a consistent increase in female riders. In response, we turned the design reigns over to the ladies at @arborgirls, who created the new Solstice Collection. This new Women’s Specific offering consists of a range of shapes designed to address all the ways women are out cruising on skateboards.
How are you helping retailers sell your cruisers and educate customers (POS displays, etc.)?
Our new Swing Tags that we’re developing will be on every Skateboard in the Spring, will have all of the relevant product info that will not only be a tool for retailers on the sales floor when talking about specs and components but also be an effective silent salesperson, educating the customers directly.
We are seeing a trend towards shorter longboards and cruisers with longboard constructions (drop-cruisers). Is that a trend you are serving?
We introduced our 27” Pocket Rocket to the line in 2003, building on an established tradition of offering a wide range of lengths to support the incredibly wide variety of push styles that exist out there. We agree that the general trend is shorter, and we are there with a variety of established, tried-and-true mico, mini, and mid-length cruiser shapes. At the same time, we have refined some of our longer cruiser shapes; most notably the Timeless and the Fish, which have been pulled down to 42” and 37” respectively.
What are the most important shapes for 2018?
The Pilsner, which is offered in five different designs, is really dominant right now. The new Hawkshaw mini-pin is coming on fast. The Bogart micro cruiser is rounding out the other shortboards in the line like the Pocket Rocket, Rally, and Sizzler. The Fish and Axis 37/40 are still very Strong, as is the Drop Cruiser.
Which technical features are you the proudest of?
Our wood top-sheets have defined the Arbor Brand since 1995. They not only define the brand’s aesthetic but improve performance and board life. Our new Red Gum top has been a nice addition to the Palisander and Black Walnut offerings.
What are you doing with (eco) materials, colours and graphics?
All of our bamboo and wood, including the hard rock maple plies, are sustainably sourced. We continue to build wheels using a sucrose formula that reduces a percentage of the petroleum-based urethane, with a sugar-based alternative.
Please name and describe your 3 highlight pieces and items that retailers should definitely order.
Arbor’s new distribution structure has allowed us to reduce our average retail price in Europe by 20-25%, bringing European retail pricing in line with MSRP in the USA, before taxes.
The best selling Pilsner shape will now be offered in five different unique designs.
The new women’s specific Solstice Collection is designed by, and for, women who are becoming a much bigger and vocal part of the wide world of skateboarding.