Rome SDS’ Marketing Manager Matt Stillman has spoken to SOURCE about the lay of the land now the brand has been under the Low Pressure Studios umbrella for 1.5 years. We speak with Matt about the shared synergies and how great snowboarding minds are coming together to create improved tech.
Now that things have settled down please tell us about Rome’s new global setup?
Now that the dust has settled on the acquisition of Rome, we’re certainly looking like a diversified global crew. First things first, the Vermont office is still home to the brand. We handle all marketing, product development and a host of administrative duties out of the Waterbury, VT headquarters. The Low Pressure Studio office in Amsterdam handles sales, warranty servicing and logistics for Rome’s European interests. One of the bigger changes for us overall was the additional resource of the Seattle LPS office. They now handle finances, warranty, warehouse relations and some logistics out of that office. But overall, it’s been a strong addition to have a physical presence on the West Coast.
Tell us about the key personnel in the management team
Key personnel looks something like this: Dennis Dusseldorp is the Director of Low Pressure Studio, Dennis has been beyond involved and integral with helping forge the new relationship and helping iron out all details, big and small. Dan Sullivan is our Global Sales Director, while Rubby Kiebert is the Sales Manager for the European market.
Justin Frappier is the PM for boots and bindings internally. Michael Paddock, our Art Director has stepped into a board development role, overseeing the line’s development, graphics and shaping philosophy; working directly with Antoine Postaire, who is the board PM for the LPS group of brands.
I am the Marketing Manager, Team Manager and omnipotent narrator, overseeing Rome’s interests in those respective realms.
What are the best things about working with the Nidecker/Low Pressure Group?
The best part hands down, is the shared passion for snowboarding. We’re so globally diversified but the universal passion for boarding is huge. The Nidecker/ LPS crew helps bring a very savvy business mindset to the table. There are a lot of shared synergies on the back-end, as far as ordering, logistics and planning goes. The incorporation of Elastic, a new sales and reordering tool, is a great example of one of the new platforms Rome is able to take advantage of going forward.
Have you used any technology from other brands within the group for any products?
Up to this point (January 2020), Rome has not yet incorporated any technologies from the other brands. We have some plans in the works with shared tech, but at this point AuxTech (a Rome-first) is being utilised by some of the other brands in bindings straps. We have been fortunate enough to use some of the extensive knowledge that Dennis and Antoine have about 3D shaping to help create our new Diamond 3D. This is Rome’s new iteration of 3D shaping that is distinctly different from 3BT in that it’s a wider, flat section in the middle of the board, and features more angular 3D curve, which creates a more responsive ride that is more stable at high speeds.
Has joining the group helped further define Rome’s DNA?
Since joining the group, we have certainly taken a good look at who we are as a brand, where we came from, what we stand for and how we want to create products. The ink was barely dry on the 19/20 catalogue when we went back to the drawing board for the new 20/21 line, which really begot some great discussion on Rome’s identity and what a Rome product really is.
What are the biggest opportunities for the brand?
Right now, I think all of the 20/21 line is a huge opportunity for Rome as a brand to get back to the more attitude-driven agenda we used to be so known for. The biggest category opportunity for us continues to be bindings; we’ve got so much more tech than most folks understand. With the overhauled FullWrap platform, we have a really diversified product offering at different price tiers– truly something for everyone. The same can safely be said about the boot collection, with four boot families all available in three lacing styles (traditional lace, hybrid lace and BOA). Finding the right boot just got a whole lot easier.
Which European countries are most successful for Rome and why?
Germany was the largest overall sales volume of any one country last season, thanks in no small part to the hard work of our young rep, Max Schulz. He is such a motivated and diligent rep, it doesn’t hurt that he also rips on hill!
We also got a serious injection of energy with the addition of the Square Melon Agency and Rich Jonas’ hard work and can-do attitude.
Please tell us about this year’s line
Tabernac, talk about a loaded question. I’ll do my best to keep it brief, but keep this headline in mind, “In a stab or be stabbed world, we just sharped the knife.”
For the 20/21 board line, we went back to the drawing board like never before. Since moving all board production to SWS, we had an incredibly unique opportunity to examine how we defined the categories, what went under the hood, and how we wanted a Rome board to ride. Our shaping philosophy is that a Rome board will always be a responsive, versatile ride that does way more than what it seems to – based on its specs. Highlights include the new Stale Collection which features the new Stale Crewzer, the StaleFish and Stale Mod. We expanded the Ravine family to include the Ravine Select, a juiced up big brother to the Ravine, and the new Women’s Ravine as well. We’re really jazzed on the fully overhauled Artifact which is back to its positive cambered roots with a spicy new play on nose and tail rise.
We probably sent the most time collectively going over the new board line. From early discussions in Austria riding some pretty awesome snow, vetting those ideas at The Lodge in Canada, to actually getting prototypes on snow at Mammoth in July, this year was a really exciting process for us.
In the binding world, we overhauled our FullWrap platform. Meaning it’s lighter, more responsive and burlier than ever. This can be found on the all new Cleaver, refreshed 390 Boss and D.O.D. bindings. Parlaying off the success of our ProGrip toe strap built with AuxTech, we are beyond hyped to unveil the new ProFlex ankle strap, built with that same exciting AuxTech pattern. Responsive, hyper-adjustable and always focused on riding-centric tech, the 20/21 Rome binding line is lights out.
One of the bigger organisational successes, is our new boot line. Meaning it makes so much more sense than it ever has before. This started with taking a hard look at the price points, styles and tech that were working industry wide and trying to figure out how we could fit into this mix. The result is four unique families of boots, all available in three lacing styles. For us, a great boot doesn’t have to be crazy firm. Plenty of riders want a softer flexing boot that can still hold up to 100 day plus seasons. Durability, reliability and comfort are the biggest factors for us the boot category. We quite literally put our best foot forward for the 20/21 season and we’re stoked to see the response.