B$Z: Specialty Retailers and Brands Thrive with New Business Model
Specialty Retailers and Brands Thrive with New Business Model
Today, the outdoor, snow, and action sports industries face no shortage of struggles. With a shaky economy, consumers migrating to online retailers, and markets saturated with product, the retail landscape has changed radically in the past decade. Despite these challenges, retailers and brands are thriving with a new business model. This model provides retailers with specialty products that offer greater margins and greater profits. For brands, it offers a cost-effective, results-driven solution for managing sales and distribution.
No Middleman Means More Profit
Marty Carrigan and his team at Sales Guys are on a mission: they want to help you make money.
As a full service sales, marketing, and distribution agency, they’ve developed a reputation for providing specialty retailers with specialty products that sell. They’ve also developed a reputation as the pioneers of this new business model.
By eliminating the middleman, Sales Guys aids retailers and brands in maximizing profits. Christoper Heise, Principal at The Board Room in Boise, explains that “You work directly with Sales Guys and the brands and products they distribute, which then equates to more margin and more money in your pockets.” Founder Marty Carrigan emphasizes that “the average margin for the specialty products that Sales Guys represents exceeds sixty percent.” Carrigan and his team further magnify these profits through an expansive network of partners. As High Society cofounder Reggie Charles notes, “They have been able to show our brand to a large amount of accounts in a short period of time.”
In addition to offering increased margins and an extensive network of brands and retailers, Sales Guys provides partners with comprehensive sales support. Christy Sports COO Keith Liefer asserts that “Developing a working partnership with sales representatives is a key element to our success. Sales Guys has always exceeded our expectations with product support, training, and overall product sell through.”
Partnerships Take Sales to the Next Level
Brands also turn to Sales Guys for its proven ability to grow sales. Denny Hanson, founder of the Apex Sports Group, notes that “Using Sales Guys has allowed me to have a highly experienced marketing professional as a part of the Apex team at a reasonable cost during our startup period. This approach has been extremely effective . . .” Although the company began offering its ski boots just two years ago, they can now be found in over fifty premier specialty shops across the globe. Icelantic founder Ben Anderson offers, “We are a newer ski company with good sales growth, but felt like we needed to assess and create a little more structure around our sales program.” After meeting with Sales Guys, Anderson “felt like it was a perfect fit so we decided to go for it . . . Not only do they have great connections but also know what it takes to both sell skis and support the shops to have great sell through.”
Specialty Products are Essential for Specialty Retailers
“Without specialty products, we are no different from the big box or department store channel,” notes Ira Rosh of Paragon Sports. “If you aren’t carrying specialty products, how can you be a specialty retailer?” asks Heise. “It’s important these days to separate yourself from the masses. We are at a point in time when the majority of products made are of high quality, though many specialty retailers just keep on selling the same old stuff without being open to new ideas and products.” After all, notes SIA President David Ingemie, the greatest challenge brands and retailers face is “Staying relevant.” According to Heise, Sales Guys understands this and is committed to “working with us to design a good story on the wall and a solid offering for our customers without loading us up with products that we don’t necessarily need.”
Enduring Partnerships Mean Enduring Profits
For over twenty-five years, Carrigan and Sales Guys have been building relationships, contacts, and experience. Yet Carrigan emphasizes that “Every brand is unique” and “Every project is tailored specifically to that brand, which creates an intimate relationship with the brand, which then creates an intimate relationship with the retailer, which builds equity.” High Society’s Reggie Charles explains that “the Sales Guys team takes the time to learn what is important to us as a brand and grow sales from there. By knowing the ins and outs of our product line, they take the time and effort to call on the specific shops that will be a good fit.” Jon Jeunette, Senior Divisional Merchandise Manager for Specialty Sports Ventures offers, “Marty and his crew have been great to work with. They’re continuously thinking outside the box on sales programs, advertising opportunities, and whatever we need to be successful at our business. He is always presenting great opportunities to us to make better margins and move our business to the next level.”
“Product success requires personal contact with everyone involved: the manufacturer, retail buyers, store managers, sales associates, and the consumer,” notes Leifer. “Sales Guys has developed a system that engages all of these key components.” Jeunette adds, “Sales Guys not only looks out for the retailer but also makes sure it’s a win for the supplier. As we know, it only works if both the retailer and supplier can profit. It’s always about partnership with Sales Guys.”
Going Global without the Overhead
Businesses across the globe rely on Sales Guys for accessing new markets. According to Deeluxe and Dachstein CEO Klaus Brandstätter, Sales Guys has played a crucial role in securing the brands’ success in North America. He asserts that Sales Guys “is a very strong asset to somebody who wants to enter a difficult market.” This asset, notes Brandstätter, “is very cost effective.” Deeluxe Marketing Manager Matthieu Perez explains that Sales Guys “knows us and what we can provide. They transferred our vision and aim overseas, taking care of U.S. particularities. For the brand visibility, we work together in order to provide the right image and story . . . they believe in our products so they are able to sell.”
Sales Guys has also been instrumental in bringing North American and European brands to key markets in Asia. Murasaki’s Takashi Kosugi states that “Sales Guys knows very well how business in Japan proceeds” and has been able to fill the retailer’s shelves with brands that are “always fresh.”
Passion Drives Performance
“We eat, breathe, and sleep winter, outdoor, and action sports. We care about what we sell and work hard to make sure we bring profitable lines to our retail partners,” states Jerome Boulay, a marketing and sales expert at Sales Guys. “Our passion makes us specialists.” Josh Burch, the Buying Director at Zumiez for men’s and youth clothing, footwear, and skate and snow hardgoods, has seen this passion in action while riding with the Sales Guys team at the resorts and backcountry of Colorado each year. He notes that, “Marty has a great personality and it rubs off on everyone around him. He is always looking to make sure everyone is having a great time.” According to its partners, the passion that drives Sales Guys is contagious.
During a trip to Europe with Sales Guys, Jay Moore of World Boards experienced this passion firsthand. He explains that with Sales Guys, “I was invited to Austria and got to tour the design house of Deeluxe and meet the Euro design team and nuts and bolts guys.” After attending a banked slalom hosted by Deeluxe, Moore realized that the Sales Guys team “understands the importance of community in the scene. They are stoked and ready to work,” Moore asserts. “I see a desire to please in their eyes.”
Taking Action Means Making Money
Simply put, brands and retailers are finding that a partnership with Sales Guys translates into greater profits. Heise encourages prospective partners to “Talk to these guys and see what they’re all about. They are well rounded, well respected individuals in the snow sports industry who want to make you more money.” Leifer offers, “My suggestion to retailers that are considering carrying products that are represented by Sales Guys is simple: give them an opportunity to demonstrate their exceptional skills. Discuss your specific needs and judge them on your success. You won’t be disappointed.”