Boardinary – Rider Owned and Operated Online Store

Boardinary is an online rider owned and operated boardsports retailer, run by Aaron White from Bolton in the UK. Aaron started Boardinary as a boardsports blog originally, but after the site gained traction he decided to start selling product too. SOURCE has spoken with Aaron to see how he uses Social Media to keep tabs on his consumer’s wants and needs, for this week’s Retailer Profile.

Please give a brief history of your store including when it was started, who started it, who the owners and key players are.
So boardinary initially came about as a personal blog back in 2011. I’d recently done a season in New Zealand, and at the time was working in a snowboard store. I’ve always had a bit of a nerdy interest in the Internet so I thought a blog would be a perfect place to document all my trips, videos and photos.

After a while the website gained quite a following, and in late 2013, after a failed trip to Vancouver (long story), I decided to go for it and open up a store.

I’ve always had a passion for brands and the ones that truly represent not only snowboarding but the whole boardsport culture and lifestyle, therefore currently we stock a small collection from the likes of Poler Stuff, Makia, Burton, Stance, WeSC and a couple more.

So far it’s been crazy since we started trading, I do everything on my own which is hard for a young father of one (soon to be two). However I have big plans to make boardinary not only a cool place for myself to work, but other people in the community as well.

What are five products you couldn’t live without right now?
If we are talking about myself then I literally couldn’t live without: my Macbook, iPhone, notepad, Nespresso machine and a clean pair of trainers. Boardinary wouldn’t function if I didn’t have those things!

What are your secrets for selling high-end products?
I think it’s hugely important to market the higher price products in the right way; this shows you’re not as commercially driven and really care about the products you’re selling. Ensuring image quality on social media is important, but also trying to give the customer a reason to buy, why should they have it in their life. I have an ethos as an online store not to follow trend of early sales, lower prices etc, as this will diminish the brand name.

Are new lines important to your product mix?
Since we’re quite new to the game its always exciting to get new brands in to assess what our type of customer is. Poler Stuff just landed this summer and has been an instant hit. I think it’s always great to give the consumer variety but not go over the top. We have more lines from the likes of Diamond Supply and Volcom arriving next winter too!

What makes your store different and in what ways does your store excel beyond your competition?
We do sell a lot of similar product to competition, it’s a tough marketplace out there. It’s not easy to flog £60 jumpers these days as there’s so many online retailers that can afford to cut the RRP down straightaway. However I’ve tried to make boardinary a little more than just a snow and skate store. We all have lives outside of the sport that include different interests and I like to think boardinary can cater for that, whether its camping, cycling, surfing or more.

How do you stay in touch with the wants and needs of your customers?
I’m probably just like everybody else when I say social media. It really is the best way to connect with potential consumers and assess what they want. I look at all types of brands’ Instagram profiles every day to see what people are liking and commenting on, this way you can see what’s trending.

What trends do you see upcoming in skate?
Skate’s a tough one, as there are so many brands doing different things now. Since I’ve been involved in the industry I’ve seen the sport go from a minority to hugely commercial with the likes of Nike, Vans and Adidas. I guess a trend in footwear from the old classics to more sporty silhouettes could happen – the ZX Gonz and Nike Free SB are just two examples of that.

If you could go back five years what would you do differently?
Five years ago I was just finishing university and heading out to NZ for a season so I’d probably say not much! Although in all seriousness if I could go back eight years I’d definitely have started boardinary when I was going into university. The amount of spare time and disposable income I had would have allowed me to go at it a lot harder than I can today. Who knows maybe we’d have a bricks a mortar store by now!


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