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When to take it to the Next Level?
This might be a make or break decision for many small brands. A brand is the highest achievement you can possibly accomplish in the skateboarding industry. The market is small place and it is cut through when it comes to getting the sales. There is a ton of who you know or who knows you. It is not just who you know it is how much the market is asking for your brand in the first place. Most big distributors won't be just taking your new brand on due to market share. Just think a distributor actually stocks products and has to sell them. Skate shops need to be able to place an order and stock up on products that they sell on a regular basis. Wholesale distributors need to stock product for the skate shops. A big distributor is not going to bring on a product unless they already have skate shops asking for the products. This can be extremely confusing to distributors and they are also having to take bringing on new brands seriously. Just think if you are a brand and want distributors to buy your product maybe all you have to do is start working with skate shops and persuade them to start asking for your brand at the distributor level. If enough skate shops are asking a big distributor if they have a brand in stock maybe the distributor will start thinking that they may need to start stocking that brands products because skate shops are asking fo it. There are hidden secrets in this blog and all of them are here to help others be successful in this market. I have dedicated my life to skateboards and have seen what the market has been doing for over 30 years. There are ways into tricking the market into buying your new brand. It is not out of your grasp and can be obtained with the right person by your side. For myself I am not the one to be starting a brand because the time consuming task of manufacturing a skateboard. It is really rare to almost impossible for a skateboard manufacturer to be making their own brand. I have seen big brands like Zero Skateboards invest into making their own decks only to see it being sold back to the person that sold it to them. I have seen American skateboard factories in the US spring up and close shop. I have seen how the most successful brands just focus on promoting and adding new products to their brand only to make it a billion dollar heavy hitter. Buying and selling skateboard products is the real money maker. As a skateboard manufacturer I know a thing or two about who makes the money in the industry. Why are there so many brands and so few manufacturers? Let me tell you that it is because of the had labor that is involved with manufacturing any product. Most products in your house or even under your feet when riding your skateboard is not made in the USA. It is clearly marked to show where it is made but not skateboards. It is extremely rare to see a MADE IN USA on a skateboard. Most American made skateboard manufacturers are doing it because they love what made skateboards great. I remember when all the brands were made in America and who was making them at the time. I witnessed skateboards from on the big brands going out the door of a California Skateboard Factory.
Supply And Demand
This is something that I know something about. It is almost self explanatory due to the nature in itself. Don't be fooled about this topic it can make or break your new skateboard brand. If you are wanting to make your brand go to the next level you will be dependent upon your skateboard manufacturer. If your skateboard manufacturer is willing to back your supply and demand you are as good as gold. If you abuse your relationship with your manufacturer it can break you. Tread lightly with your suppliers because without your suppliers you cannot fill the demand. Don't get discouraged because most manufacturers will want to help you grow your brand but there is only so much a manufacturer can take. Even us as a manufacturer we have our suppliers and have seen first hand what can make or break a supply chain. For years I have always had in my frame of mind to take good care of my suppliers of raw materials. This is the same approach a brand needs to take about their deck manufacturer. If my shipments of raw materials were giving me problems I would keep it to myself and deal with it in a way that would keep a good relationship with my supplier. Bringing up my problems with my raw materials to my suppliers on a regular basis would just make them not to want to do further transactions. This is just something that was in the back of my mind. I have had plenty of shipments that I had to make do with what I was given to me and make it the best I can in order to make my customers happy. Then one year some other skateboard manufacturer called me up and wanted to see if I would sell any veneer to them or go in on a shipment of wood with them. Of corse I had to ask the other company why and they fessed up that they were complaining to their raw wood supplier on a regular basis. This struck a chord in my mind so I started digging further and found out that their supplier started raising their prices and telling the skateboard manufacturer that it was going to take longer for their next order. That skateboard manufacturer is no longer making skateboards. This just does not happen to manufacturers but it can also happen to a skateboard brand. The best thing about being a skateboard brand is that you can buy a deck for a fixed price and sell it for more then you paid for it. With Manufacturing this is not the case. There is so many variables when it comes to manufacturing a product. Labor expenses and waste of materials will never give a fixed income with a good forecast of how to grow the company. Making a skateboard brand is where the money is at in the skateboard industry. Buy low sell high and win big. It is up to you on how you grow your brand but let me pass down a wealth of knowledge about sticking to a good supplier because without a good supplier there will be no brand. You are almost at the will of the manufacturer that is where some brands make even bigger mistakes. If you can't supply your demand you feel like you need to make it yourself and that is where the money starts to drain. The brand is now subject to material and labor loss not to mention if a product is not manufactured at the correct pace at a consistent level of quality then further loss is taken. Time is money and the space required to make skateboards cost money and it is taking to long to make a run of decks then the cost per deck just goes up with the rent and utility expenses.
You may think that if you have a huge following on instagram, twitter or facebook you will have instant sales and glory. These outlets are extremely useful and will help you grow beyond your wildest dreams. This is a monster in its own and needs to be taken well care of. I have seen companies with Millions and hundreds of thousands of followers take a wack at the skateboard industry. It sometimes takes more then just having a large following. The most successful social media companies that are in the skateboard industry have already been in the industry before social media existed. Starting from scratch is extremely hard in this industry on social media even if you have built up your followers into the millions. What this does is build brand awareness that will lead to sales outside of the social media. The real world is in the streets at the skate shops where skaters can touch and feel the deck before spending their hard earned money on a deck. If they are a follower and have seen your brand on social media while in a skate shop they will feel good about buying your deck. It goes back to you having your decks already in the skate shop to getting that sale. You need to work close with your local skate shops to build your brand to the next level. One shop at a time is all it takes to build your brand awareness. There are many good ways to get your decks in a skate shop and knowing first had what was sold in the shop I was working at was up to the owner. At times I would meed reps from other brands that were carried at the shop and one of the reps came in on a regular and I started pushing their product over other top brands just because the guy was cool. I am sure you can find a guy that works in a skate shop to be stoked on your brand and push your decks over other brands just because you take care of him. I am sure you can use your imagination but some skater working at a skate shop has you walk in with a bunch of decks and he gets hooked up by you I would expect he would be pushing your product over others. One more way of building followers to your advantage in the real world outside of social online media.