How would you describe the current state of the snowboard market?
What big developments, changes, challenges, and/or opportunities are you seeing and how is your brand navigating them?
The snowboarding market is currently strong. Covid changed people’s outlook on activities and forced them outdoors. Skateboarding, surfing, camping, biking, and most other outdoor sports, including snowboarding, saw substantial growth. This gives us the opportunity to welcome new customers into the snowboarding world. With resorts closed, splitboarding gained more popularity, and once the resorts opened, they were busier than ever. Covid also presented challenges with material, supply chains, increased costs, and congested ports. Actions we took were to move up our timelines and add substantial leadtimes to our planning to account for the delays. This resulted in for the most part on time deliveries and contributed to our growth.
Everyone has been affected by raw materials and shipping price increases and transport issues. Have you had to make any significant changes with regards to manufacturing, sourcing, or logistics? Are there any examples you can share of how your business pivoted effectively? Any positive developments with regards to these issues and the changes you’ve made?
The most significant changes we made to adapt to these issues was moving our timelines much earlier than previous years. Whether it be product development, prototyping, or graphics; we tried to be months ahead of schedule to avoid shipping delays. In the end, this turned out to be a positive change because as the transport industry begins to return to normal, we will continue to move forward with our current timelines which leaves us much more room for any possible hurdles or issues that may present themselves
After two years of heavy carry over in the industry and more of a return to normalcy last season, what’s your overall sales and production/inventory strategy for 23/24?
We will still continue to have some carry over models, and our strategy will remain the same as previous years moving into 23/24.
Do you anticipate any shifts in the ratio of e-commerce sales vs. brick-and-mortar sales now that most Covid-19 restrictions are gone?
Covid obviously increased e-commerce drastically. People still enjoy getting out of their homes and supporting brick-and-mortar stores to physically see items they are buying. With that said, e-commerce will continue to grow in our current society since it is time saving, the platforms are more user friendly, and we have two-day and even same-day shipping.
Does your brand have any new developments concerning sustainability and/or how you are positioning any environmental messaging?
Our most important story for 23/24 is our new bio-strap. While we have a number of areas that we have addressed with snowboards, this is the first sustainable initiative for Arbor bindings, and we are excited to bring this to the market. Our new straps on the Cypress and Sequoia are redesigned from the ground up and made from the sustainable source of castor bean oil. We are proud to be leading the way in sustainably sourced binding materials.
In 2022 we replaced the plastic bags inside our binding boxes to a bio-bag. We now have a consolidation warehouse in Dubai, to consolidate Chinese products, Austrian products, and Dubai products, to combine and minimize individual shipments to international distributors. We have also redesigned our binding boxes to fit more per container. Lastly, our older timelines required more airfreight and because we are ahead of our timelines, we can ocean ship which decreases our carbon footprint.
Are you introducing any new innovations in buckles, straps, highbacks, bases baseplates, heelcups, etc.?
Our most important innovation is our new bio-strap on the Cypress and Sequoia.
We also took a deep dive into our binding ladders and made multiple updates. We increased the width to reduce play. We adjusted the angle and depth of the teeth. Decreased the thickness at entry point and updated the curvature. All these updates will reduce the chance of slip and help achieve the tightest fit possible.
Are you using any new materials in your bindings for 23/24? If so, what, and why?
Our most important story for 23/24 is our new bio-strap. This is the first sustainable initiative for Arbor bindings, and we are excited to bring this to the market. Our new straps on the Cypress and Sequoia are redesigned from the ground up and made from the sustainable source of castor bean oil. We are proud to be leading the way in sustainably sourced binding materials.
Any quick entry bindings in your collection for 23/24? Do you see that as the future of snowboard bindings or just as a functional alternative?
At this time, we are not offering quick entry bindings. We see this as a functional alternative.
Any new design or pattern approaches in your 23/24 gear? Any collabs on the line?
We worked with artist Jess Mudgett to create the Cypress Mark Carter Edt which will match his pro model snowboard and splitboard. We also have a artist collab with Samborgini on the Hemlock model that will match our Draft snowboard.
Pricewise, which area of the market do you cater to?
Arbor markets to outdoor enthusiast of all ages who are passionate about snowboarding, the journey that gets them there, quality craftmanship, and caring for the environment along the way. Our customers come from all spectrums of incomes, and we try to offer a full compliment of choices in each price range.
What developments are you seeing with regards to product pricing?
In 22/23 we saw a significant increase in cost of goods. 23/24 continued to increase but started leveling out. We had to increase our prices to adjust for 22/23 but are working to limit price increases for 23/24.
What are your top product marketing stories for next season?
Our most important innovation is our new bio-strap on the Cypress and Sequoia. We are also introducing a new highback and EVA padding on our Hemlock bindings. We are introducing new and improved ladders across the entire Arbor binding line and a new kids binding, The Sapling.