Retail Buyers Guide: Impact Vests 2020
Brand: Jobe Sports
Interviewee: William Doornekamp, B2B Marketer
Are you designing crash jackets for a wake market segment? Or is the same design being sold over the whole market. Which market is giving you the most growth? Which market is giving you the most direction in terms of the design and look of your crash jackets?
Jobe jackets are sold throughout the entire watersports market and you’ll find them in multiple kinds of stores. Whether it’s a big surf shop, a core cable shop, a boating dealer or a schandlery store, you can find Jobe everywhere. But our growth and majority is focussed on the boating side of wake and watersports. This is also the market we focus on most when it comes down to design.
What style is your brand aiming for, what is the process of determining what your crash jackets look like?
We divide this in 2 ways; Jobe entry model vests have a look which is timeless and has an emphasis on safety. These have bright colours, making it easy to spot someone on the water. Our high-end line is more a “Sports meets Luxury” look, these are less bright and have a cleaner look. This makes the high-end range more stylish, which fits the end consumer for these products as well.
What trends are you seeing in terms of fit, feel and protection in your crash jackets. What do you think your customers want and what has worked well for you in terms or fit, feel, protection? For example, do end users want a thicker more protected crash jacket at a wake park (as they fall onto solid features at 20mph) or do people want as flexible as possible?
The trend we see is definitely safety! That might sound weird talking about life jackets, but safety is heavily underrated. Last year we already saw regulations being stricter, which was why we chose to beef up every vest to 50 newtons. While there are still a lot of vests on the market which are 25 newtons. This just doesn’t live up to the safety norms.. SO for this season we kept on building on this and added a D-ring on every vest, also for safety purposes of course.
What technology or materials are you using in your crash jackets to give you a unique selling point?
It depends on which vest you want from Jobe Sports but there are 3 things which definitely separate us from the pack. First are our entry level vests, nothing special really but it’s a great quality product for a low price. These simple neoprene vests are a bang for your buck and that’s what the consumer wants!
Second is our “Perfect Fit” technology which we came up with together with the research institute TNO. This has led to a collaboration which creates a perfect and snug fit, no matter the body type! Perfect Fit is a technology which we only use in our high-end vests.
Last is Mix&Match, we as a brand, do it all! Jobe Sports makes wakeboards, ski’s, surfboards, SUP boards, towables and more! Which is why it is key to have matching products, so you can buy a board in the shop but find a matching vest/wetsuit/helmet as well! We’ve seen that dealers who buy in on these colour schemes, have a better sell-through as well. No one wants to buy products that don’t match right? It’s something that is happening in every market, so why not in watersports.
How do your team riders influence your soft good offering? Do they have signature soft goods, do they help with design, do they suggest ideas to you?
Our team riders don’t have a pro-model line and at the moment we don’t intend to start with this. However, we do use their feedback when they give us any. Since we have an in-house development team, adjustments are easily made and fast, so we can really move quickly if they have important feedback.
Please name and describe your 3 highlight pieces and items that retailers should definitely order.
Fragment Vest Men
Competitive vests are back with the Fragment! This high-end vest has the comp vest look and fit but a 50 Newton buoyancy. A vest for the rider who wants to look good and ride without a care in the world! Now in 2 colourways for men.
Fragment Vest Women
Competitive vests are back with the Fragment! This high-end vest has the comp vest look and fit but a 50 Newton buoyancy. A vest for the rider who wants to look good and ride without a care in the world! Now in 2 colourways for women.
Our Unify Vests have been a hit since they launched, being a clean looking vest with all the safety capabilities you would want in a vest. Combine this with the “Perfect Fit” technology and you’ve got yourself a good-looking vest which lives up to its expectations!