the bigger glass shops are empty or super slow.
4 big ones have closed now this year.
lost is getting more and more boards from Vietnam.
Sharp Eye just added some Thai models.
Shops and most consumers no longer care where boards are made.
More us makers are getting booted in favor of GSI, SA, Chili, Firewire etc.
the niche manufacturers are safe. but the rest is a rocky road.
"Get out of the library and into the lab"
...hello Aquaglassing, the same thing is happening in most countries.
"I got some RTM fins in my choice of colors for 40% of what I would pay for a comparable so called "American" product, that probably isn't made in USA anyway."
Thanks for another realistic lesson in 'Business Reality 101.' Alibaba or Aliexpress can be your friend if you know what to look for. Many 'American' companies are forever looking for the least expensive source for their own products and that source is often located overseas.
Famous rich guy Warren Buffett has referred to business concepts like "Durable competitive advantage" and "Economic Moat." He has said that LABOR, as commonly employed in factory settings, offers NO competitive advantage. Anyone running a business in the US that employs factory workers in a manufacturing process is sure to experience competition from competitors outsourcing product.
Whether or not the overseas production offers an unfair business advantage is really the heart of the issue. If a guy can, as you point out, purchase product overseas for a whole lot less and still manage to get nearly full price retailing it over here, more power to him. Isn't that what business is all about?
ive seen a fair amount of the bootleg fusions in production US boards. So it seems some people are going the road to cutting corners to make up some of the loss especially because those plugs are sub par.
The fins ive seen are really hit and miss as well
I'm not trying to argue the pluses or minuses of any specific companies but I'd go so far as to say that many companies worldwide, including Australian companies, source their products from the cheapest available manufacturers, sometimes at the expense of their own domestic manufacturers.
Last I checked, FCS fins (under the banner of an Australian company) were being made in the USA.
FCS, like many outfits, has been bought and sold a couple of times and is now under a completely different corporate umbrella. At some point, it's not unusual for new corporate bosses to start pinching pennies any way they can... especially when their corporate share price takes a hit. http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/surfstitch-mystery--haunted-by-gho...
Too bad. It's been a dream of mine to work, in some capacity, in the boardbuilding industry. Guess that's not such a good idea anymore.
<p>Standup paddleboarding is sweeping the lineup.</p>
"Too bad. It's been a dream of mine to work, in some capacity, in the boardbuilding industry. Guess that's not such a good idea anymore."
- That would be correct. Not only would you be banging heads against cheap offshore labor, you would be hard pressed to be a legit board manufacturer against all the cheats that never report taxable income. You might ask "well, isn't it American to cheat on your taxes?"
If you can find legitimate expenses to avoid paying them, fine, but the blatant stuff I've seen coupled with a sense of entitlement kinda makes me wanna puke. A cheat is a cheat, and it reminds me of when Lance Armstrong was interviewed by Oprah after his fall from fame & glory. He said something similar to 'I looked up cheat in the dictionary and it was defined as someone looking for an advantage to win.'
....... he went on to justify himself stating that the sport of cycling was so intensely competitive, as has all sports become.... and yadda, yadda, yadda.
Ok. so Lance has his own take on it...... just like X amount of surfers I know that feel they have carte blanche in undermining any legitimate domestic (or foreign for that matter) board manufacturers. It was Rusty that once said the biggest detriment to making a living in the surfboard industry is the "bro deal".
Some guys just don't get, or are willing to accept, what "cost" is.
"Cost" is Materials & Labor needed to produce a product...... in this case a surfboard. So when guys get their noses bent out of shape becuz they aren't getting a stupidly low price, they are basically saying "I want it for as close to nothing as possible, and I don't give a sh-t if it comes at the expense of the guys making it.
Well, how about I ask that same guy if he is willing to cut HIS paycheck to be a bro to someone else?
Earlier when I wrote about what good fundamental business is, that demands a sound business plan and an INCENTIVE aka "profit" at the end of the line....... whether you are in manufacturing, retailing, or even repping (representing a manufacturer) for that matter..... if there is no REWARD, as in paycheck, then why are you even bothering to work at it?
Yes, at the end of the day, one can justify the corporate guys hauling containers in of cheap product, ANY product, and the consumer will lap it up in droves..... esp. if it is a GOOD product for a cheap price. That's free enterprise and competition, and protection for domestic goods thru tariffs is exercised by some countries, but not all.
It still boggles my mind how people continue to insist there isn't enough surfboard work in the United States, Australia, Hawaii, and many other countries when there are MILLIONS of surfers............ where are all those surfboards coming from?
If you grow large, you best not get "top heavy" with too many fat cats drawing huge paychecks...... if you're small, you're probably not doing enough to ever call it making a living and I doubt you are reporting any of it. If you are somewhere in between, you are an endangered species or have figured out what amount of sales you need to capture to make a living that is acceptable to you and you continue to do it because you are passionate about it.
It will be easier to achieve that if you aren't married, don't have a family, don't own a house, don't have a dog. cat, canary or goldfish.
That's pretty much the bottom line.
...not to repeat myself but that perception problem with the bro deals is augmented with the use of the machine. These pro surfers use them then almost all the surfers behind go that way (or try)
They do not interact with a real boardbuilder or shaper in most cases so they perceive the final product as something that you can buy (or get) in whatever place at a budget cost and no matter the labor (due to is done by the machine) and do not care where was produced.
SO when they have a chat with a shaper, they just are on top of their ponies... looking at you like just a poor guy doing just artisan boards..."not great boards like the ones that I can have for free or at minimum cost"
THAT is for what these glassing factories are shut down; their customers are those so they do not have anymore business.
The small factories doing those retro boards, or longboards like Waterman s guild are doing ok because their customers are other.
BUT that only works in California; in Aussie land and Japan is too small, in Brazil is just closing and opening factories in the last 30 years due to they only have those first types of customers mentioned; in the other countries we are struggling; some times is ok sometimes do not.
The power of the perception is what is all about; in couple of months another "international shaper" will be here "doing" (aka the machine) his stuff and of course all will be there buying those boards...I have blanks in the same container that is arriving to provide the feed for this guy and others.
You can say, well do your way etc; again this is not California, where there are people in different niches, lots of them; there in San Diego you have the mecca of longboards; do you not find any other place with that (only in Shonan near Tokyo) so if I decide that this is my niche, I just starve due to not enough customers...
There's definitely lots of truth in what you say..... and as Acqua G. stated, the niche guys are doing ok..... not good...... ok. And yes, California is fortunate compared to other areas, even over Hawaii, which is very unique and the mythical mecca of it all.
Hawai'i is also an island chain that is the furthest from any continent in the world. My wife, a retired flight attendant, told me there is what they call "the point of no return" when you fly to Hawaii.... she said "it's known as that because you cannot get back with the fuel you have if something happens". I imagine it's all related to tail & headwinds and such. Obviously the airlines don't want travelers to have ever heard the term. The point is, any island based manufacturer is faced with expensive import of materials as well as the expense of shipping from such a remote place....... it's not competitive and never will be.
Some of what has happened with the niche market is developing specific 'looks' that are achieved in the glassing process, colored hotcoats and sanding that give the boards a unique look. That different look is vital to cultivating more business....... you've seen them.... Almond, McCallum, Lovelace, and other such boards that are being marketed in an alternative manner to attract that niche customer base. Those looks are not immediately privy to mass production methods, although if there is enough incentive, just about any attempt to being different will come under fire and compromised.
The one thing that keeps someone coming back to the same manufacturer is customer service. This is something that is difficult for cheap offshore companies to adequately satisfy a discerning customer that (still) desires interaction with the builder. The big corporate companies offer deep lines of models on every kind of surfboard known to man, and they have apps and websites that allow you to 'build your own custom', but it's still not the same thing, and if you go into one of those sites and build a custom, you will blow your mind how fast the price piles up into what you are seeking.
I have stated that i am very fortunate in having a very high number of repeat customers & quiver builders. A lot of those customers were on Firewires, Merrick M-13's, Rusty's, Lost and Beckers..... among other brands. They told me the reason they are repeatedly buying from me is because I am receptive to their needs, help them determine what will be best for them from what I currently make, and if they need something different, I will make it custom for them while assuring good quality at a fair price with quick delivery. I receive many inquiries and lots of questions from people all over the world, and when a customer apologizes for asking so many questions, I tell them not to say they are sorry for wanting to receive good customer service........ that it may be dead somewhere else, but that isn't the case with me. I'm a manufacturer coming from a retail background that went to college. If you treat your customers like gold, they will tell their friends and/or let them ride what you have made them...... word of mouth and representing you by allowing a friend to try their board is more powerful than any paid advertisement or pro endorsement out there....... word of mouth is the ultimate "influencer".
So at the end of the day there are the Nordstroms & the Wal Marts...... and then you have Amazon, that is hell bent & fixated on taking over the world.
News at 11.
Make way for the Mc Surf Shop. The corporate surf shop is coming. I can see it coming. Kelly might lead the charge on this one. They will be little mini malls for all things surf. Big inventories of “surfer” brands. Must have back to school be cool look like a surfer clothing. All the best boards made by lost, CSI and a few others. Your local shaper will for he most part be locked out. Your production won’t be enough to meet the demands of our 25 shops. We demand a 90 days net. If your Boards don’t sell, you must drop the price so we can unload them at steeper discounts.
Oh and we will have a lock on internet sales. Some kid needs a new wet suit order it off our web page delivered to his or her local “ McShop. “ try it on in the shop if it’s a fit it’s sold if not buy another size shipping is free. While you wait check out our new stomp pads. 7 out of ten Pros use it. Take a look at the new Boards , the Jefferson airship will ad 2.3 feet to your airs ! Best Board ever of doing Flying batwing heal side reverse air. Flip and head dip. It’s a McShop exclusive. Hugo Duff the top rated Surfer from Idaho designed it.
Yes this is the future some privet equity firm is already at work. Loans to the big Board Builders , making deals with all the big clothing companies. Factories across Asia are gearing up. China predicts a shortage of Child labor in 5 years. They plan to stop executing degenerates to make up for the shortage. McShop the only place to buy your surfer life style. We mean it. We have your on line profile if you buy from someone else we will know.
This future is brought to you by unsalted wavepool country clubs combing to a very upper class gated community near you.
According to Mikki Dora Malibu went to the Dogs in 1964. The Chumash Indians will tell you it was 1664.