Catalyst Snowboards are completely built in Australia making them one of the true little guys in the Southern Hemisphere. So what’s it like for them being located off the typical grid of manufacturers? Here’s their take on some of the issues they’re facing and what they’re doing for snowboarding.
Being a smaller brand and from Australia do you find that it’s more of a struggle to branch out into other countries or are you concentrating primarily on the markets in your vicinity?
Yes to get sales outside Australia is difficult most of the time, without distribution and with a more competitive market in the northern hemisphere it makes it hard to get sales there, that said we have regular sales into North America, Canada etc.
In general we concentrate on business here in Australia and its certainly where our majority of business comes from.
With the general woes of the global economy how has that effected your company in regards to building your product and finding raw materials for production?
The economic situation has made very little difference to us as yet, in fact sales are up this year on last. Since we are only small it may be due to some increased awareness of our product resulting in extra sales. This year our OEM work has been significantly greater than the last few also.
As camber theories have changed with the reverse/rocker revolution are you guys offering up any decks with this? If so how does yours differentiate from the others? Also do you view this anti camber trend as a passing fad or a technical revolution?
At the moment we don’t have anything available in reverse camber/rocker style boards, we are in the process of thinking up some ideas to use sometime this year. Its very hard to say where this trend will go or finish, I think there is a advantage to both styles of board camber, obviously dependant on your riding style
Whom is your ideal target market and what image in snowboarding do you try to attach yourself with?
Our target market is the informed rider looking for a quality hand-built ride, generally advanced riders, but we also provide product for beginners and everyone in between. We offer a customization service, where we build the board to the desired flex of the rider when ordered in advance for no extra cost. We don’t try to portray a image as such, we are more interested in our product, and will let the performance of it do the talking.
I noticed that for every board you make you plant 1 tree. How many Trees have you planted so far and is this part of your companies green initiatives? What are your thoughts on the current trend of companies using green in marketing?
Yes we believe that initiatives like tree planting are the best way to put something back, after all the majority of the snowboard is constructed using wood. We have planted many thousands of trees to date. We would much rather know that our efforts are useful to the local environment than put money into schemes where corporate management controls this, often with no transparency. You only need to look at schemes like windfarms where emission savings are promoted, but on closer inspection it’s found that none in fact exist due to them being backed up by coal 100% of the time. Its important for us to do something we believe in and that works.
My personal opinion of a lot of green marketing today is that its more spin than substance, sure there are some genuine environmentally friendly companies, but a lot of the pay for schemes operated today are not worth the paper their printed on.
Accessibility is the biggest issue in snowboarding right now, are you guys doing anything to get more people involved and keep people involved?
As far as accessibility is concerned we try to offer a high quality product for the same price as what you will pay for a Chinese made board. In Australia the price of a days riding is very expensive compared to just about anywhere else, lift tickets go for around $100 AUD, plus you will have to pay $30 to even get on the hill, unfortunately it doesn’t help the industry progress here as it really limits the numbers who can get involved simply due to the high costs.
In the next five years what levels do you see your company progressing to?
Our company is really just interested in building quality boards and where that leads us in 5 years is any ones guess! But we’d really like to be able to help out young riders and help them progress. Try new ideas in our boards and keep enjoying what we do.
If people get one thing out of what Catalyst Snowboards is doing what would you like that to be?
We’d really like for people to be able to enjoy our product, know they have a quality board under their feet, and get on the snow as often as possible