Hey Dave, here are my quesitons. You can send it back to me to my email account if you want (email@example.com). I also sent this as an attachment. But I am not sure how the facebook is. And I will totally meet you at Mead street if you go! Thanks so much for all your help. I totally owe you a beer. This doesn't have to be a dissertation, you can just jot it down. Your the best!
1. What companies did you base your company off of (in terms of a revenue model, operating model, working capital, and investment model, gross margin model). If you don’t know specifically, just tell me what companies you admire and kind of based your company on.
Ski companies I admire: DPS, Flylow, Patagonia
I based my company on my previous Landscape Architecture firm. Do exactly the opposite! A bottom up approach to business and not a hierarchal system. We want to expose everyone to ideas and increase feedback loops to help evolve the idea. I look at it as less of a company and more of an idea or a construct right now.
2. What companies do you not admire in your field, and did not want to base your company like (i.e. when you talk about that ski on your blog. You call it XXXXXXXX XXX.
I don’t appreciate companies that hide behind marketing and words. Companies like Ski Logic that showcases themselves as a Breckenridge Colorado company and hides the fact they manufacture in China. Companies that claim environmental angles when they do not consider overall life cycle assessment. Jusy be real, fail and take responsibility etc
3. How do you gage the success of your company thus far. (what data do you look at)….is it based on skis sold, businesses touched, etc.
Success is gaged by happiness. I know it is a cliché. I work backwards form that. Right now I have never been happier living with doubt. Feels right everyday. The money keeps coming somehow, the rent gets paid etc. I am so motivated to keep moving this “Brand” forward.
4. If you can just describe how the money side of your business goes. I got it from the business model that you are funding this yourself (which is awesome). If you can give me any more insight on that….it would be great!) Please don’t give me specific financial details. Just describe the process to the extent you feel comfortable.
Money seems to find me, I never asked anyone for it. The work was presented and a few investors bought into the “idea”. Skiers are passionate people, I learned that my friends are passionate about the sport and are confident in me to design, construct and produce a product. I had no savings but did leverage unemployment after I was laid off. So the State made it possible really..
5. Can you describe the importance of your relationships with people/clients/vendors/suppliers and how it is important to your business
I always use the term we when I talk about Grace Skis. I believe no person ever does anything solo. We are always being manipulated, motivated and supported in some way. I am fortunate to be able to leverage my 10 years competing on skis, 4 years of product design education, 3 years of landscape Architecture education. I have friends that started out in the ski world ahead of me and they have flipped their respective coattails out for me. My friend is my lawyer, my sister is my accountant, my coffee shop is my office..
6. What channels are you pursuing. From your business model, I gleamed that you are trying to get into retail stores (bent gate…any others?). It also looks like you aspire to have a workshop type studio type deal where people can have a hands on experience with their skis (which by the way, I think is really cool). It seems like there is some internet sales?
We will pursue retail when the time comes. There is no doubt the direct sales market looks appealing but it isn’t a solid growth strategy. We want our Brand to be pulled first then we will let the retailers push it. We will build the “community” and then let that demographic demand from the retailers.
7. Can you explain the cycling side of things and how it fits into your thinking.
Cycling is simply a seasonal crossover for marketing. The Grace demographic is also a cycling demographic. One in the same. Our logo ‘G” is tilted at 23.5 degrees to represent the tilt of the earth, thus the seasons. We hope to grow the brand into a year round culture so cycling and climbing is a good avenue for that.
8. How has your business evolved since you dreamed it up? What changed? What hasn’t? why?
Grace is always evolving. The dream started 5 years ago when I printed some t-shirts on a silk screen in my kitchen. Made a logo and passed out the shirts to friends. I gauged response by those shirts years back. The response was raised eyebrows and “you should do it” remarks. My Landscape architecture notes had ski designs in all the margins..my head was always into it. The evolution is in the community that is growing, responding supporting etc.
9. What do you feel is the real value of your company (to your customers). I think I know, but just want to give you a chance to expand.
The value of Grace is in its belief in being real. Being simple.
10. Do you have any key partners? Who are they? Why?
My parents. It took them awhile to get on the bandwagon as my track record for follow through is not perfect, but they are on board now! We are working with Flylow as they clothe the Grace demographic, and Patrick Van Den Broek is helping with Web design and selling the passion. He has executed to no end and really put effort into making this idea a viable brand. firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Can you describe your ideal client (I also think I know from your business plan – just want to hear it again).
Me 22 years ago.