SALT LAKE CITY (BRAIN) — Cycling apparel company Craft plans to offer consumers a 30-day guarantee on base layers and jerseys, a bold step for Huub Valkenburg, the company’s CEO. But he’s confident that once cyclists wear Craft’s cycling apparel, few will ask for their money back.
Valkenburg said Craft base layers, in particular, help ventilate heat in the summer and regulate body heat in the winter. The program is part of the company’s strategy to help retailers better understand the technical advantage that its apparel offers consumers.
In addition, the Boston company will enter the custom apparel market so dealers can order custom-imprinted apparel for their store or customers. “We want to help IBDs expand their business,” said Valkenburg, whose Boston operation also distributes Karhu Nordic skis and footwear.
Craft is just one of many companies at Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market with multi-channel distribution. Here’s is a highlight of what several companies are saying about the market:
Thule’s Fred Clark said trends in automotive design and record car sales have had Thule designers rethinking roof racks, hitch racks and boxes. While car sales are booming, many vehicles consumers are buying are shrinking. That has forced Thule to shorten rooftop bike racks so trunk lids and hatchbacks don’t slam into protruding rails. For many of its rooftop products that has meant moving the mounts farther forward. And many smaller vehicles now have 1 ¼-inch hitch mounts.
“We’re making our hitch-mounts lighter and with more ground clearance,” he said.
Light & Motion, the Monterey, California-based manufacturer of high-end lighting systems, has slowly been building a reputation in the outdoor market for its high-lumen lighting systems like its Seca 2000, a $599 headlamp for caving, climbing and night skiing. It can also be set up for use with a bicycle helmet.
All its systems are rechargeable using a micro-USB cable. The company, which began building lights for scuba divers, manufactures its all-metal bodies in an old factory in downtown Monterey, said Ryan White.
And, as in year’s past, Light & Motion will host a factory party during the Bicycle Leadership Conference and IBD Summit held in April in conjunction with Sea Otter.
- REI occupies a unique niche in the cycling and outdoor market. Over the years it has built its Novara line of bikes, apparel and accessories into a strong competitor for IBDs in both the bike and outdoor markets.
At Winter Market, the cooperative has a meeting room set aside to showcase new products for media. Among several are its Novara-branded tubes. Instead of tubes in boxes, the tubes are cleverly shrink-wrapped, lowering packaging costs and making it easy to slip them into a jersey pocket, said Courtney Coe, a company spokeswoman.The shrink-wrap is biodegradable.
REI also offered the media a peek at its new fall commuter apparel line. Highlights include plaid shirts for men and women with 3M reflective threads woven into the material—seen only when light hits them at night. For women, a knee-length quilted coat, the Biltmoore Jacket, uses Primaloft insulation for warmth while riding in the fall.