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Preemptive strike against Trump tariffs benefits Light & Motion

Published October 2, 2019

MARINA, Calif. (BRAIN) — When Light & Motion saw rising tariffs on the horizon in the U.S.-China trade war, it was as clear as day what had to be done.

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With some parts of its lights assembled in China, Light & Motion moved that production segment to the Philippines about nine months ago.

"We're not being impacted about what's going on with the tariffs, but we know our retailers are," said Tom Brady, vice president of marketing for Light & Motion.

Most bicycle lights were subjected to a 10% tariff after Sept. 1.

In addition, the company that began 30 years ago as a dive-light manufacturer said it has improved retailer margins by 5-10%, depending on their order volume. "We're trying to do what we can to support the dealer," Brady said. "The great thing about our company is that we are diversified. Bikes are a percentage of our business; dive is a percentage of our business; camera lights are a percentage of our business. We have the ability to weather that (tariff)."

Light & Motion has more than 2,000 dealers in North America, not including those buying from QBP, which is its exclusive distributor. Brady said the company has made an increased effort to keep online pricing consistent by activating an online MAP monitoring service.

Brady, who joined Light & Motion about six months ago, said the company is increasing digital media support and public relations to better promote its bike lights and drive more consumer demand. "It's something we haven't done a lot of as a company," he said.

Along those lines, Light & Motion recently partnered with ultra-endurance professional bike racer Rebecca Rush and her causes, including the gravel race Rebecca's Private Idaho. Equally important, Brady said, Light & Motion benefits from her increased input into product development.

"She's the benchmark," Brady said. "If we can make stuff work for Rebecca, it can work for anyone. We were an informal supplier of lights for her, and now we're making it official and getting more involved in her programs. We're going to partner with her more instead of just providing her lights."

Brady said future Light & Motion product development will focus on extending light power for multiple nights, "either with our power or augmenting it with portable battery power. We want to stretch what people can do on their bikes. People are pushing the envelope on unsupported rides and bikepacking where they are out literally in the middle of nowhere for days on end. They have no access to charging capabilities, and they need their lights charged. But they also have a phone; they have a Garmin that needs to be charged. It all gets back to Rebecca and what she's doing."

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