What are the major trends in the snow safety market?
For several years, we have seen a rapid increase in interest in off-road tourism, more and more people are fleeing crowded resorts to find peace in untouched areas. Last year’s pandemic additionally forced this behavior, closed lifts favored the development of backcountry touring. People going to the mountains are more and more educated and aware of the dangers, which is why the growing interest in snowsafety products is growing, but on the other hand, the covid situation in which it is not known if and when lifts will be opened, but which are still used by a huge number of people also driving off-piste, discourages from stocking up on any equipment or postponing the purchase to the last minute.
What do customers expect from their snow safety equipment?
In the part of this segment in which we are present at the moment – avalanche airbags, customers want to use products that are primarily reliable, comfortable to use, comfortable to wear and, importantly, at the same time specialized – dedicated, but at the same time possible to use in various usage scenarios – universal. In the case of a backpack, such a parameter is its volume – and equipment, depending on whether we are riding in powder close to the ski lifts in the resort, or whether we are going on a full-day or even longer backcountry trip on skis or splits. This is what we focused on in our product – the AEROSIZE Vest ONE, also adding increased safety in any situation. We have separated the avalanche cushion system from the backpack by placing it in an independent vest, which allows the user to remain in the continuous protection of the avalanche vest even after removing the backpack when you need to remove the probe, shovel or sandwiches. In addition, we moved the weight of the system from the back to the chest and shoulders, as in the runners’ vests there is a place for water bottles in the front, which significantly improves the comfort of running, i.e. in our case, the comfort of skiing or snowboarding, etc. This independence and versatility are a solution that is especially liked by special groups of users who can use their own specialized backpacks – such as mountain rescuers who remain under constant protection during the action, mountain photographers using backpacks for photo equipment or practicing speed flying. In summary: versatility, convenience and increased safety.
What were your biggest sellers in FW21 / 22? Why?
In the first year of production of our vests (due to the problems related to the pandemic, we obtained the certificate for the finished product only in January 2021). Late start in an uncertain time resulted in the highest sales being achieved through the online self-sales channel.
Where do you expect the biggest growth for FW22/23?
We see a growing interest in an independent avalanche protection solution, which is our vest, in several market segments: among freeriders, ski touring & splitboarding as well as among snowmobile riders and professional users such as mountain rescuers.
How are you segmenting your snow safety products and what are the main price points in each segment?
AEROSIZE Vest ONE is a product that redefines the avalanche airbags product category. We have expanded the existing “avalanche backpacks” on the market with a completely independent backpack solution – but at the same time giving the possibility of using it with practically any backpack. The avalanche vests from several manufacturers existing on the market so far are in fact firmly built on the body – both in the front and, most importantly, on the back – with, among others, gas cylinders and forming a “micro-backpack”. We call our product the first compact vest – because it gives the user the choice with which backpack he can use our vest. His favorite, size tailored to the needs of a given day – this has not been done so far.
Observing the price spread of the main producers of avalanche backpacks between gas systems (cheaper, but with the need to buy additional cartridges – relatively expensive in carbon) and more expensive, electrically powered, refilled, in a way “for free” and in an easy and cost-effective way, we also rank between these two levels . What’s more, we always offer a set of cartridges for at least 2 or more (in higher sets) pillow firings at the price of the vest. So our price is the price of a complete ready to go avalanche cushion kit, no extra pay for the cartridge. For an additional cost, which is the price of the cartridge, especially in the carbon version, we can, for example, buy a very good touring or freeriding backpack of our favorite, any brand! So, for the price of an avalanche backpack and a cartridge, we have any lightweight backpack, vest and cartridges for 2 blasts of the pillow.
What are the most important technologies / features in your FW22 / 23 avalanche backpacks? Which one sets you apart from other brands?
We are focusing on working on the further development of the system in the next generation, but it will not see the light of day in FW 22/23 yet. We plan to implement another revolutionary technology, but it’s too early to discover the details. Our avalanche airbag is the only solution with a hybrid design – which opens up further possibilities in developing functionalities not available in other avalanche airbag systems. Since we focus on a different construction of the airbag itself, the type of its drive: gas or electric will become a secondary issue in the future, giving the user the option to choose the drive (as in cars) – this is what we strive for.
What are the most important technologies / features in your other avalanche equipment (shovel, probe, transceiver) for FW22 / 23?
Our company was founded to develop a new avalanche airbag system. We see a place on the market to present new solutions of other avalanche equipment as a complement to our vest.
Do you offer any other products in the snow safety category besides the traditional avalanche safety products?
AEROSIZE has created a new product category: standalone compact vest with possibilty to wear together with almost any backpack – which in itself already goes beyond the traditional avalanche safety products. But we are at the beginning of the road as a new manufacturer and we are already working on new products that will also be related to avalanche safety.
How are you helping retailers to sell this category?
We want our product to be able not only to buy, but also to test / rent at selected points – FW22 / 23 we will show how the test system is developed.
Did the restrictions at resorts last year impact the sell-through of the FW21 / 22 collection? If so, how have you addressed this issue?
As a new brand, we are just developing the sales network – that’s why we flexibly adapted to the external situation – but the novelty effect worked and we managed to sell the assumed amount of FW21 / 22 collection.
Have you had problems with the supply of FW21 / 22 product? If so, how have you addressed this issue, and will this result in changes to your FW22 / 23 sell-in?
From the very beginning, we assumed that we would like to have strict independent control throughout the entire production process and carry it out on our own on the spot – in Poland, and the main raw materials (such as fabrics) come from European producers. Our assumption of “Made In EU” during the supply market problems has allowed us to be more resistant to external turmoil, which we hope will also work in 2022.
Please name and describe in about 60 words your 3 key products for FW 22/23 collection.
Our first, but revolutionary product – the compact independent vest AEROSIZE Vest ONE. The only avalanche protection solution on the market that can be used with any backpack. Visually refreshed for FW 22/23 collection with also new color variants and the possibility of individual personalization.