Your brand: Slash By GiGi
Name & role of person answering: Gigi Rüf, Founder & Owner
What big developments, changes, challenges, and/or opportunities are you seeing and how is your brand navigating them?
Just as seasons change and the snowboard industry ebbs and flows, we’re adapting to provide solutions to the evolving landscape. We’ve been dabbling with carry-over models for the past few seasons, assigning more mellow graphics to a board we want to give retailers more time to sell. We’ve also had success with limited capsule releases and because creativity and freshness are the bedrock upon which Slash By GiGi stands, we’re evolving how we come to market with our products.
We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re just coming to the market to meet our customers with products they want and when they need them.
Married to creativity and freshness is exclusivity and originality. We’re learning how to capitalise on being a small independent snowboard brand and we’ll be delivering lots more limited runs of snowboards and apparel products through collabs with team riders, friends of the brand and other creatives in our sphere.
Does your brand have any new developments concerning sustainability and/or how you are positioning any environmental messaging?
We make everything as close to home as we can, in Poland and Tunisia. These are relatively short routes with collective deliveries by truck. We’ve removed the clear varnish used purely to beautify the board’s surface. So you’ll see we now work with a matte finish. This reduces the toxins and microplastics exfoliated through the repeated sanding of clear varnish.
Making snowboards sure ain’t the cleanest industry on earth, but we do what we can to prolong the lifetime of our snowboards. Working in collaboration with our friends at Happy Snag, we feed them old/faulty Slash boards and they take the good bits and bring them back to life for some binding-less fun on snow. Each item is totally unique, full of life, character and fun.
Any new design or pattern approaches in your 23/24 gear? Any collabs in the line?
We have a totally new collection, with fresh graphics. Stepping out from behind the computer screen, our graphic designer Bugz and friend of the brand Jakob liberated a vacant atelier next to their Innsbruck office space, rolled up their sleeves and got freestyle with the paint tins. This is apARTment 23, a studio’s wall splattered with paint symbolising our brand’s energy, passion and creativity.
What product range or offerings are you focusing on the most for 23/24 and what aspects of the market are getting the most interest?
We are a brand stemming from freestyle roots. So every board in the line is designed from that bedrock. We continue with our two splitboards (Vertical Split & Brainstorm), both split versions of their solid namesake.
Sitting firmly in the freestyle category we have the Happy Place & Spectrum boards, with the ATV (still the best all mountain board in the world!) very much the cornerstone of the line and a fine all-mountain freestyle board. The Brainstorm straddles the line from freestyle to all mountain, while veering towards the backcountry with its directional twin shape and cam-rock in its nose. Our Freeride category is made of the Straight, Vertical & Portal; all with their own nuances designed to make them go like shit off a shovel in the deep stuff. Not forgetting out kids board, the Splash which is gaining great traction from our squadron of young Slashers.
Are you placing any focus on entry-level products? If so, why and how does this compare to previous years? What is your assessment of the youth market?
Our Slash Splash squadron has grown legs over the past few seasons, with many young shredders opting for our tried and tested combo of twin-shape and soft, simple flex. Nothing’s worse than catching an edge, and when learning it can be savage enough to make a young punk reach for the skis. Not with Slash… we’ve got rockered tips to minimise edge catch and I’ve workshopped this extensively with my boys Jona & Oskar. If you’re kid’s approaching their teens, make sure to check out the Happy Place, which now starts at 135cm.
Pricewise, which area of the market do you cater to?
My aim is to make snowboarding as accessible as possible and that’s what you’ll find with our pricing.