One of snowboarding’s finest rider owned and operated entities, ROME SDS has been acquired by the Nidecker Group in a move that sees the Vermont-based brand’s European operation shift to Amsterdam to join forces with Low Pressure Studio (Bataleon, Lobster, Switchback), who were also recently acquired by Nidecker.
As one of the original rider driven brands, Rome has been at the forefront of progression for nearly two decades and while their R&D and design staying in Vermont, USA, operations will shift to the newly created hub in Amsterdam. We spoke to Rome Co-Founder Josh Reid to get his take on the move, and where he sees the brand in the future.
To hear from Low Pressure Studio’s Dennis Dusseldorp, for his take on the Nidecker acquisition, follow this link. Interview by SOURCE Editor, Harry Mitchell Thompson.
Could you tell us your perspective on the deal? Why Low Pressure Studio and Nidecker? Why now?
You know the Rome brand pretty well after hanging with us a few times at the Lodge. For the Rome brand and who we are, the Nidecker brothers and the Low Pressure Studio are a super good fit. We’ve been pretty opinionated since we started 17 years ago about the fact that we believe that snowboard companies should be owned by snowboarders. Whenever we wheat pasted this idea in resort towns and retail zones, we meant it; it’s a value for us that will never change. With Henry, Xavier, Cedric and their father’s history, Rome is able to continue this mission of having snowboarders in control of snowboarding. The guys at Low Pressure Studio come much from where we come from. Driven by passion for snowboarding and innovating products. For us, this is necessary to progressing the fun of snowboarding, which at the end of the day, is what it is all about.
As for timing, Rome has been independent and self-sufficient for the last 17 years. This has been great for getting us to this point, but with independence comes certain restraints on investment. In planning our future over the last couple of years, we have felt that Rome is at a point where we have wanted the right partner or partners to work with us to drive the brand to the next level. Whether it is an accelerated timeline on technologies that we want to introduce, the development of a new approach to selling, or a more aggressive marketing initiative, our goal has been to find a partner looking to assist Rome in these things.
Does the move help you to target Europe, or any other regions specifically or is this just a good move globally?
It’s for sure a good move globally and for sure Low Pressure Studio can assist with our growth in Europe given their strong position there and we can help their brands in the USA where we are more familiar and rooted. But, as you know, we’ve been deeply involved in European snowboarding directly for a decade and much more so than most other US companies and so this partnership can help us strengthen the things we do well in Europe and work with us to change directions in areas where they have a more effective approach.
Could you explain the front and back end changes/advantages that you expect integrating with Low Pressure Studio will bring?
We expect to benefit greatly on the sourcing side (due to the connection with Nidecker group) of things where all the brands within can gain a collective advantage that can strengthen margins and therefore allow for a more forward-looking approach to product, sales and marketing investments. We also look forward to collaborating with other strong minds in snowboarding to strategically plan what the right next steps are in the evolution of the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate.
How will Rome staff in Europe change?
Several of our key staff in Europe is stoked to move to the Low Pressure Studio HQ in Amsterdam. Phil (Kammerer, EMEA Sales & Marketing Mgr) will continue to lead the charge on the sales and marketing fronts for Europe and customer/dealer service will continue to be run by Manuela (Mayer).
Will your distributor operation change in Europe?
Our fundamental approach is going to stay the same for now. We’ll continue to sell directly to most of the European markets and use distributors for the select regions that we currently do. So no change of approach is on the cards at this time. But as always, we’ll be looking at our sales channels to determine where we are succeeding and where we might need to take a different approach.
What’s the story you’re telling retailers and distributors?
The same one we are telling you here. The Rome brand and the Rome crew are going to stay true to who we are, and now we’ve partnered with like-minded snowboarders to help us power-up Rome to push our evolution forward.