TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) ―Diego Zambon, general manager for KASK, a high-end Italian helmet brand, said the company is looking toward Asia and, he predicted, sales of its KASK line could equal or surpass its sales in Europe within a decade.
This is Zambon’s first year exhibiting at the Taipei Cycle Show and, so far, he’s pleased with the reception the brand is getting from potential Asian distributors. “North America is important, but considering the Asian economy cycling has become like golf in the 1980’s. Consumers with money want to go cycling,” he said.
But its Italian-made helmets and its unique fitting system are positioned at the upper end of the helmet category with prices ranging from $100 to $350.
KASK, founded in 2004, has seen its reputation skyrocket as pro cyclists like Bradley Wiggins, 2012’s Tour de France riding for Team Sky, have donned its helmets giving KASK a significant marketing boost among consumers.
In the U.S. market, KASK closed its cycling division in Charlotte, North Carolina, and announced in January that Highway Two, with offices in Laguna Beach, California, would be its exclusive distributor in the U.S. and Canada. The North Carolina office would continue to handle distribution of its industrial helmets and other products.
Zambon said that Highway Two’s focus on high-end brands like Continental, Fizik, Selle Royal, Brooks, Abus and Crank Brother’s line of accessories was a good match for the company.
“We were looking for a company with a high-end line of products. So we’re really happy to have a partner like them. They are well staffed and have two warehouses,” he said, helping smooth its distribution in the North American market.
Still, there was some confusion among retailers when the transition was announced, he added. Zambon acknowledges that the North American market is highly competitive and the company faces stiff competition from Giro, Bell, Specialized and others.
But, he said, once dealers put on the helmet and get a feel for its unique fitting system they will stock them. “The only formula we have for selling our helmets is to try them on,” he said.