Age is a very important piece of the snowboarding conversation. The younger generation doesn’t know the history, some of the older generation lives in the past, and then there are those that have sat by maturing at the same rate snowboarding has. When you talk about SIMS Snowboards you get a vast commentary on the brand that talks about it’s history. A history that has a multitude of accolades and pains associated with it.
Recently the brand reverted back to Hilary, Tom Sims wife. This has brought about a change for the brand that has an indelible legacy amongst snowboarders and in snowboarding. Is it good, bad, or just indifferent? Who really knows because that question much like the story of the SIMS brand will garner another multitude of answers, but one thing is for sure there is still passionate people that love snowboarding working there like Marc Vitelli their brand manager.
He was awesome enough to answer these questions about the Back To The Core marketing campaign that is pushing SIMS in a new direction.
Avran: SIMS has had a very tumultuous history and over the last few years the brand itself has seen some ups and downs. With Collective now being dissolved and the brand back in the hands of Hilary, Tom’s wife, how are you guys going to reintroduce the brand in the current marketplace?
Marc Vitelli: We are focused on exposing the core foundation of the brand that Tom established 39 years ago: quality, hand-crafted snowboards made in the USA, specifically at Never Summer Industries in Colorado. This formula, along with a 3 year product warranty, is allowing us to open new specialty doors that haven’t heard from the brand in years. The response has been very positive and supportive and we are excited about the opportunity.
Avran: What hurdles do you foresee in the near future for the brand?
Marc: One of the biggest hurdles is getting the core consumer to believe in the brand again and we understand that this is going to be a process. Strides we’ve made over the past 8 months have already started to accomplish this. Our ‘Back To The Core’ platform and messaging is attracting attention and helping the brand become relevant within the industry again. Once we get product in the shops and support them with on snow demos we will gain more believers.
Avran: With a plethora of factories to choose from why did you decide to go with Never Summer?
Marc: We ultimately chose Never Summer because of their reputation for making the highest quality, performance based snowboards in the world. With Never Summer in place as a manufacturing partner, SIMS has been able to get back into some of the best core shops in the nation. These shops will help SIMS become a relevant brand with the truly passionate snowboarders who we’ve lost over the years.
Avran: How much technology inside The Blade and The Juice will be proprietary to you and how much will be borrowed from Never Summer?
Marc: There is a lot of technology that is specific to SIMS. We aren’t just borrowing what Never Summer has established. We need to keep the two brands distinguished as we aren’t looking to take Never Summer customers. We believe that both of these brands can sustain in this industry.
The Blade and The Juice feature Traditional and Micro cambers respectively with new shapes and profiles that are specific to SIMS. The new ‘modern vintage’ shapes of the Blade and the Juice are inspired by shapes of our past. Both boards also feature authentic graphics re-created by original SIMS Team Rider and Creative Director Scott Clum. This is a very engaging story that all of our shops have been supportive of.
Never Summer additionally provides the expected quality construction and durability that their customers have come to expect. Once all of these elements are combined, we’ve got a solid product to re-introduce the brand to the market with.
Avran: Will we see X-Wedge technology from you guys again?
Marc: Unfortunately not. That technology didn’t gain enough traction for us to continue to support it.
Avran: Do you feel having your boards prices above $500 will deter some people away from buying your boards?
Marc: We don’t feel that board prices being over $500 will deter too many people. We believe that once the consumer understands our focus moving forward that they will support our offering. We will be relying on our shops to help educate their consumer and see the value in supporting SIMS, a brand that has been around for 39 years and has brought manufacturing back home.
Avran: Will you be offering a more price conscious offering in the future? Does this tie into the growth of snowboard collectors and the vintage market?
Marc: At this point we have not had any conversations about offering a price conscious product. We acknowledge and understand the snowboard collectors and the vintage market for snowboards but we are focused on doing what is right for the brand to continue Tom’s legacy. If our new ‘Back To The Core’ product collection becomes coveted among these passionate snowboard collectors, that’s just a bonus.
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