Companies come and companies go that’s how it has been since the beginning of capitalism. Much like the theory of Darwinism the strong are there to survive while the weak die. Snowboarding isn’t any different, it’s not special, it doesn’t get a free pass from this. Think about how many brands you have seen come and go. Hell think about how many companies have cut whole divisions whether it be outerwear, bindings, or accessories. There’s a reason for it.
Snowboarding and the snowboard industry is a lot like being in the cool kids club to many people. Image is key, especially when establishing presence and market share. After all the proverbial pie isn’t that big and we can only sustain so much with the limited amount of participants we have. Being in the precarious position I’m in with being a member of the industry, the media, and most importantly a snowboarder (not someone that snowboards but that’s another topic for another time) I get to see how and what brands do that both works and doesn’t.
Some of you might remember back to when I pointed out new up and coming brand Nope. Snowboards and their lack of understanding social media back in November. It showcased in my opinion a humorous situation where a simple question exploded across the blogosphere not painting a solid picture of them. Well alas history has been doomed to repeat itself as they’re once again not making themselves look good. I could beat a dead horse not getting a point across or I could direct this open letter to the founders of the brand in hopes that they would fully understand how they come across to people that share a lot of the ideals as myself about snowboarding. Below you will find my open letter to them and believe me I will send this to them once it has been posted.
I know you’re fully excited about your new career path as the owner of a snowboard company. Your level of stoke is the same as countless others that have decided to enter into the exciting venture of launching a snowboard company. No one can take that away from you in any way shape or form and more power to you for starting a brand. I know how difficult it is to do this and make it relevant to the world while conveying what your beliefs are. But here in lies the problem, your level of enthusiasm and stoke seems to cloud your judgement on making calls that are good for you, your brand, and above all else snowboarding.
I know you probably feel I’m a hater, what with me writing an article about how you blew it when I posed one simple question about your brand. I know you feel I have my head up the industries ass and hate the small guy. I know you probably will view this as some sort of attack on the company you have created which is your child. Trust me when I say this is not that but a letter to open your eyes to the way myself and countless others in the ‘core’ of snowboarding view you and your brand. You have to understand that before you, we were here. Before you created your brand, we were here. Before you addressed us, we were here. You see we and I mean that in the collective sense as snowboarders were here. We have seen brands come and go. We have lived through trends, marketing pitches, tech whether it works or not, and countless other things. What you are projecting about your brand is something we have all seen before.
Here’s where the problem is as we sit back and watch how you have come into snowboarding. Your message has been rather hypocritical. You say you’re pro American and want to keep jobs in this country. Yet you drive a BMW which as near as I can tell does not have any factories in this country compared to the likes of the automakers of Detroit which as you may know are truly American made products. * Upon further inspection it seems BMW does manufacturer here but still the image of BMW does not bring together American made products. I will quote this directly off your website, ” At NOPE, we’re not “smoking” anything, we don’t cry and yell like some less-informed companies, or tell our sport’s founders to “F*&K off” in major magazines. Not our style. Our consumers are smarter than that. We just state the facts and we let you decide. Do you want to put your money down for products that were moved overseas for nothing less then greed? We say NOPE.” Yet if you go to your Facebook and follow your continuous spouting on your statuses and picture posts it is full of contempt and hate towards bigger companies. Do you see what I’m saying it seems rather hypocritical to spout this. Hell how you treated me alone for posing one simple question is hypocritical of this. When do I get to be unbanned from leaving comments? It’s great that other people can tag me in them and all but I would like to contribute to the social part of social media.
I understand that you and your partner Jonell fully cashed in your 401k’s to take 500k and form this brand. I know you have a seven year plan to make it all happen. But trust me when I say we see through you. You are as transparent as a pane of glass to those of us you are marketing too. You can spin it in whatever direction you want but we see through you. The comments on Yobeat in your Next for Nope campaign show just how people feel about you. We’ve seen contests like this before, perhaps you have heard of Liquid Boardwear? Just because you can buy riders doesn’t mean anything to us. Just because you can give out free boards, promo clothing, stickers, etc. etc. does not mean you are winning loyalty either. People love free stuff. Trust me from personal experience you can surround yourself with people that are takers of what you give for free and they will tell you how awesome you are but they are not your friends or even your fans.
I see you’re looking at a 12,000 square foot facility to house 10k worth of boards. I have heard a rumor you are starting your own production facility. I hope you understand that 10k of boards is highly advantageous for a brand that has less than 1% market share. Kudos for going all in but when your current business model is to sell direct and you only make 99 of each graphic or model that poses the question of how many SKU’s are you adding to the line?
Speaking of selling direct why is it you are not in any core shops? I fully understand not being in Epic Boards as the owner is fucking crazy, but you have two of the oldest and greatest representations of core shops right down the hill in Salt Lake. You’re pro American jobs yet this industry keeps killing off the retail sector of our industry. Is this more hyperbole or will we see you supporting core shops verse the selling direct method? This goes back to the point I made about being hypocritical.
Like any company with a tech story you are proud of that. Awesome, technological innovation drives this industry and without thinking outside the box we would have stagnation. But like the photo and the claim above makes I can’t help but question you. We know your boards are pressed by the Monson factory and therefore you are nothing more than an OEM brand utilizing catalog shapes and technology. This means you do not own your factory unless Ryan sold you his factory and you are now part owner, but this would be a wild guess on my part. We see you saying that you’re doing all these custom boards for bikini, booze, and tech companies. But it’s not you, we know that it’s the Monson factory and you’re just taking the credit. Sure you’re probably getting that account for them but it’s not you it’s them. You’re just the middle man. How much tech is Nope. Snowboard specific and not a product of this other facilities R&D which as someone that is a huge tech head can tell you is borrowed from countless other brands. Also I would be careful how you word your camber profiling like that as there are patents that you could be infringing on. Also to answer your question if you’re serious about putting your board up against others I’m running a little board review test called The Best Good Platinum Test Award Picks, there’s always room for you in it. Feel free to email me about the details.
I’m sure there’s other points I’m missing with this and I could make them, but this letter is getting long winded. As a long time snowboarder and someone that sees this industry and the players in it for what they are I hope you see where myself and countless others are coming from. We’ve seen it before and we’ll probably see it again. Also one final suggestion before you post on any social media outlet or make any claims please think it through before you talk. As much as we love bullshit we’re sick of putting our boots on.
Founder of Angrysnowboarder.com