Now maybe there might be some query to discuss here - after all, its the globally web, the next accessibility others who stay close by perspective, lurkers with dirty specifications, cut-throat competitors, etc. etc.
I applaud the little guy slaving for his craft, its hard dirty dangerous work but no one wants to work like a dog for a pittance, and increasing prosperity is everyone's goal.
But theres got to be a 'hook' for every product, most hand shaped boards are virtually identical, to the buying public.
We all know that boards with a Quiky logo are no better than any other board but their hook or 'point of difference' is the perception that goes with the logo. And so the same for boards with a Bong or Rip Logo.
Or the little guy could pioneer and dominate a style...
Grain has hws
sunova has hi tech compsand
tuflite has business savvy...
it doesn't need to be design or materials or price, but for all the local PUPE boards waiting on the racks, where's the difference for the customers to see?
What makes the little guys boards demand customer attention ?
Telling a 15 year old that the shapers been doing it for 35 years is the ultimate turnoff, ask my teenage sons, they want fresh, new, cutting edge, and they want it all to fall within the strict confinement of what's currently acceptable.
Zero to 5 fins... OK
fish/Simms/ egg / Gemini ...OK
Wood / carbon / epoxy....Ok
Something totally new might be magic but without credibility it will have a limited market, if at all, until it gains market visibility and acceptance and mostly thru online prescence. We've seen people with a product come on Sways trying to use Sways to get traffic to their site, its cheaper than advertising but horribly lame. Or they do a slightly different shape and then try to cultivate the "alternate" image with an attitude...... Yawn. The kids see thru that crap.
But....If youre looking for a big slice of the market, theres no substitute for a big dollar marketing campaign and that's the unavoidable truth.
The little guy, pushing out fantastic handcrafted craft has no chance of getting sales any further than his postcode without a 'hook' that sets his product apart from the rest AND having a big marketing campaign.
Actually , I take offence to the title of this thread . The "little guy" is actually the true giant of surfboard building. ......its where every bit of significant advancement in design , methodology , technology and performance has ALWAYS come from .........the claims by some of these global parasites has become a desparate plea for help........but I think they're already "too far gone" ..(lol).......long live the underground giants !
kayu wrote: Actually , I take offence to the title of this thread . The "little guy" is actually the true giant of surfboard building. ......its where every bit of significant advancement in design , methodology , technology and performance has ALWAYS come from .........the claims by some of these global parasites has become a desparate plea for help........but I think they're already "too far gone" ..(lol).......long live the underground giants !
Maybe the term is an americanism? Over here the term is not an insult, but it means small privately-owned business, as opposed to a large corporation.
There's a certain amount of truth in what everyone is saying here.
For me, I don't agree with the notion that you have to capture market share with large paid ads and pro surfers riding your boards that are within 1/8" of everyone else's glass slippers out there.
Pardon the expression, but it's what I call the whore's market.
To poo poo the niche market is not insightful..... at least in the states, where there is a rich investment being made every day by small time shapers putting out some really diverse and exciting new directions..... not just 'retro' have you.
Contrary to popular belief, and market surveys, not EVERYONE surfing is between the ages of 13 and 25 years of age. Not everyone rides a 'pro board', not everyone wants to surf competitvely or to become famous. I see a lot of young surfers loving experiemnting with all kinds of different designs at Rincon...
If the 'little' guys weren't willing to think outside the box, we never would have had twinnies, quads, Bonzers, V Bottoms, and a host of other ideas come to the forefront.
I don't think those designs came to the forefront soleyl due to big advertisements........... designs prevail BECAUSE THEY WORK.
If you design a "utility" board, meaning something that is a solid design and works for a lot of surfers, you stand a better chance of enjoying more sales. Sales isn't just about making money...... one can look at it as a resource allowing you to experiment a bit more.
The aforementioned is a moot point unless you are willing & disciplined enough to turn it into something that creates momentum.
"Momentum" is a beautiful thing to achieve with a design, but it takes initiative and dedication to maintain.
If a little guy wants to survive and STAY little, and he has something really attractive to the consumenr, than he devlops a formula based similar to what artists have done with 'limited editions'. This works to some degree, but in the surfing world, at least from my experience, not all that well...... the concept is generally used more by bigger, successful manufacturers trying to drive up pricepoint and bottom line profit by creating what's called "urgency" for the consumer to be motivated to purchase.
Going back to the original thread subject, "how can the little guy survive?".................... the little guy survives by making a little money and loving what he makes a lot. For him, it can't really be about money that is going to pay for all his needs and then some......... otherwise, he has to look at what he is doing differently.
It's really as simple as that.
You can't expect to make the same as a guy that is in the trenches pumping out 25 a week every week if you make 3 per month. And, just for the record, the guy that is pumping 25 per week quite likely has just as much "soul" if not more.
Nice writing as usual DEADSHAPER.
I mostly make files these day's however it's momments like this when the little guy feels good!
Misha having his board signed by Ziggy Marley.
Misha is a sander/polisher that plays in a Reggie Band as a Drummer at night.
...I guess that there s different types of what you can call "little guys"...
Misha is a very humble sander/surfer/drummer from Central Mexico.
He did the art work on this board and brought it to Ziggy to sign.
I love it when a little guy has a moment like this.
Pretty cool I believe.
Have a good week!
Maybe we need to define "little"?
A board a day ........... so 365 boards a year?
5 boards a month or 60 boards a year?
1 board every ten years?
Or a guy that does 1200 a year but is 5'6" or shorter?
I remember a business management course I did years ago....It was the universally accepted and statistically proven sytem sanctioned by all western governments. The economics was fine = written bookwork , keeping a proper ledger ,projected profit and loss ,balancing the budget etc etc.......I was at loggerheads with the "sales and marketing" teacher from day 1.....he stated uncompromisingly , that any manufacturer that didn't allocate 25% of their budget to marketing , was doomed to failure......I questioned him , and he said it was a proven fact , that I shouldn't question.....he went on to explain to the class that the prime goal of a salesman , is the ability to sell their product to a targeted demographpic , regardless of whether they needed it , or wanted it.......and a quarter of my annual budget , should be religiously allocated to doing so..............With our governments continueing to churn out cloned robots to run business's , it's no wonder the system has become so sterile........consumers have become very conditioned to accept bullshit , and never question it......