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 snowboard market has become very competitive and especially in German-speaking countries, inflation and the decline in purchasing power are putting pressure on demand. Silbaerg is therefore focusing more and more on the niche in the high-price segment and is focusing on B2C via its own webshop. We are currently looking for partners for North America and Japan to place the concept there as well.
Another mainstay are customized snowboards, i.e. we can adapt the complete shape, flex and design to the individual customer’s wishes. However, this only works in the premium niche.
Following overall price increase, any positive developments with regards to manufacturing, sourcing, or logistics and the changes you’ve made? Are there any examples you can share of how your business pivoted effectively? What developments are you seeing with regards to product pricing?
Thanks to direct sales and the premium segment, we are currently able to cope very well with price increases. In addition, we are currently conducting a great deal of research in the area of semi-finished fiber products in order to reduce waste and recycle fiber waste. This significantly improves the carbon footprint of our snowboards and splitboards and helps to compensate for the price increases. In addition, we research with different universities and companies in Europe in the field of sustainability to get our processes greener.
Is e-commerce sales still strong since most brands have been put a lot of effort in physical retail?
E-commerce accounts for about 90% of our sales and is our full focus. We will expand this area even more and are currently working on concepts for integrating online stores from specialist retailers into our e-commerce concept.
Past last winter and the lack of snow in Europe, what’s your overall sales and production/inventory strategy for 24/25?
We are entering the 2024/25 season with caution and would rather be sold out than have to clear the warehouse via discounts.
What trends or developments are you seeing with regards to board construction, shapes, and general innovation? How is this shaping your 24/25 range?
Sustainability is one of our main topics and we have already won several awards for Winter 2024. The topics here are the reduction of carbon fiber waste in production and the use of natural fibers such as hemp.
Because of the very good mechanical properties of carbon fibers, our focus is very much in this area. Unfortunately, the performance of a snowboard made of carbon fibers cannot be achieved with glass or natural fibers. For this reason we have optimized the production of carbon fiber semi-finished products in such a way that we have hardly any fiber waste and recycle this waste for other silbaerg products. As a result, our carbon snowboards with bio-based epoxy resins currently have a slightly lower C02 footprint than boards with natural fibers. As soon as we can increase the organic content in the resin to over 50%, the snowboards with natural fibers will have a better C02 footprint.
We will start with the first snowboards made of hemp fiber in the 2023/24 season, although the material costs are currently extremely high (even higher than for carbon fiber). But, we just want to learn a lot here quickly to have the best material mix in our snowboards in the future. The short supply chains for hemp fibers are absolutely perfect. The fibers we currently use grow 50 km away from our location. In 2024/25 we will further expand the range with natural fibers.
Anything new concerning sustainability and related product or construction you would like to highlight?
Patented A.L.D.-tech.® Hemp and still A.L.D.-tech® pro Carbon
Are you using any new materials in your hardware for 24/25? If so, what and why? We’re interested in anything new in inserts / edges / cores / sidewalls / glue / resin/ wood types / base material / top sheet / etc. here.
Natural-Fibers as Hemp and recyceled carbon non-woven with bio-based epoxy resin.
Any new design or pattern approaches in your 24/25 gear? Any collabs on the line?
A new Powder and Carving shape with A.L.D.-tech® pro Carbon and A.L.D.-tech® Hemp.We’re very fast in developing and open for collab requests!
Are you planning to focus on a special product range or type of customers? What’s your newest range?
More customizing in the premium range.
What is your top product marketing story for next season?
Shreddomat and the Powder-Carving-Shape with A.L.D.-tech® pro Carbon will be the main and best product. Beside this we will pay very close attention to natural fibers.