It was a bit of a long weekend as we played catch up on our channel research and interviews but in the end we managed to have 22 conversations with individuals involved in kite sales and reached out to many more that we hope to hear back from. Most of our findings confirmed our hypotheses, but we also learned a lot and made some great contacts who should be helpful moving forward and have offered to connect us with others in the industry. The main key findings from our interviews are summarized below:
- The kite surfing market is highly competitive, there are a LOT of small brands vying for customer attention and retailer shelf space
- At least in the bay area, kite channels are highly political, with certain retailers creating agreements to only sell particular brands, etc.
- For kite companies selling through retailers margins are tough, between 20-40% at the high end. Consequently, many kite companies are moving to direct, online sales
- There are some international brands like Slingshot and Cabrinha, but for the most part companies deal locally
- Most brick and mortar retailers also offer kitesurfing lessons. Instructors recommend whatever the store sells, which influences new kiter purchasing
- Industry reviews and brand reputation are key
- Manufacturing is the number one cost in kites, and the more bells and whistles you add the higher the price point so this is something we will need to look into more as we start considering what our supply chain will look like