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What Does it Take To Start a Ski Company??

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Well I can definitely tell you what it takes :)

 

Hey guys, my name is Jim. My friend Ryan and I started a small ski apparel company called “Ski Till I Die” which is something we have always dreamed of, and now are trying to make our reality. Check out our website www.skitillidie.com

 

In order to help our company grow we launched a “Kickstarter” campaign, which for those of you who don’t know is a way to raise money for a project that you’re truly passionate about, hence our company :)

 

Please check out our video http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2026809859/the-ski-till-i-die-project-launch, We want our company to grow by skiers, for skiers, not become a corporate company that doesn’t care about its core, the love of skiing. We didn’t name the company “Ski Till I Die” for nothing, we truly believe that is the way we will live our lives! If you can’t contribute it’s cool, if anything give me your feedback on our t-shirt designs. I’d love to hear from you guys, any suggestions on designs, want to be sponsored? Have an idea that you want to see a ski company do? Let me know! PM me or respond to this thread.. PS will give you some cool stuff :) 

post #2 of 24

Do you guys sell skis, or just clothes?

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Right now its just clothes, no skis yet, we're starting with t-shirts and hoodies, then once we get some money performance apparel, and then go from there.. Where in upstate New York are you located?

post #4 of 24

I know I should just shut up and let this go but.....

 

So let me get this straight.  You have this dream, that you are very passionate about.  But $8 grand stands in your way.

 

So instead of washing dishing, mowing lawns, showing some work ethic and doing what ever you have to earn it, you have decided instead to post a 3 minute video blog talking about your ski experiences, and beg for the money.

 

I simply dont get it.  If you really beleived in this, you could make $8000 in a few weeks easy.  Sure you would be tired, and it would be work....but hey so is running a real business.

 

PS: for the record lots of companies do what you are.  Big brands like Billabong, and lots of little shops too.

 

 

 

But hey, if you can scrounge up $8000 from doing nothing, all the power to you.  Good luck with it.

post #5 of 24

"till" is spelled wrong (until, with one "l")

 

and maybe your passion should start with building skis, rather than screenprinting...

 

are they at least organic cotton or are you just another grenade knockoff?

post #6 of 24



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by splitter View Post

"till" is spelled wrong (until, with one "l")

 

and maybe your passion should start with building skis, rather than screenprinting...

 

are they at least organic cotton or are you just another grenade knockoff?


Somtimes you just gotta play the hand your dealt.  biggrin.gif
 

 

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

@skidude72, yes I agree, and that is why I do work full-time, my partner is the one in the video,  8 grand does not not stand in my way, nothing does actually, but 8 grand will definitely help :) Kickstarter campaigns help companies/projects get off their feet, it's successful for a reason, because it works. And yes of course there are other companies that do what we do, but there where also other companies that did what Billabong and Hurley did before they were Billabong and Hurley. Hurley started by selling t-shirts on the beach, so you have to start somewhere :) Anyway, you don't have to donate if you don't want to  obviously, however if you would like to consult for us, I would love your input, so far so good! I can't do skis "yet" as you need sufficient capital to do so, hence the kickstarter campaign.

post #8 of 24

It sounds like you have the desire but starting with T-shirts is a tough sell unless you have some actual product to show people on your site. I don't see any products??? You also need a strong "brand-able" name, time, a lot of time / sweat equity, a viable (and large enough) market for your product. Brand apparel as a startup needs to be grass roots. The closest recent example I can think of is HillBilly Brand http://www.hillbillybrand.com. They have a large potential market, went on an extensive tour of country concerts, fairs, etc. were on Shark Tank (TV show) and are still clawing their way up.

 

Your Kickstarter may be a bit premature. Crowdfunding is tough before you have an actual "crowd". I think it's best to have a bit of traction and at least some following first. You may have to actually give away quite a bit of product first (at events, etc.).

 

Take Devin Montgomery for example. I was an early "backer" (pre Kickstarter) of his so I followed his progression. Devin took two years or so just researching and learning how to actually build his product and another year in actual product development. He gained some following on the backpackinglight forum where I had seen his early posts when it was just an idea. http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=7456 He then took pre-orders on his blog (he had actual product photos and demo) and delivered his first run, meanwhile someone stole his product idea (no patent!) and started selling it on the very website he had posted his product ideas on. He didn't do Kickstarter until he had a bit of a following and when he did he got $60,000 in a month. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1763800459/backcountry-boiler-hot-water-from-found-fuel He did all of this while in Law school. Check out his story on his site. It is a great example of passion and hard work that reaps rewards. http://www.theboilerwerks.com


Edited by MattL - 6/24/11 at 7:53am
post #9 of 24

Ski till I die has contacted Epicski about working with us as a supporter or sponsor.  We would like to welcome Jim to the site, and hope the best for your business.

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

I know I should just shut up and let this go but.....

 

So let me get this straight.  You have this dream, that you are very passionate about.  But $8 grand stands in your way.

 

So instead of washing dishing, mowing lawns, showing some work ethic and doing what ever you have to earn it, you have decided instead to post a 3 minute video blog talking about your ski experiences, and beg for the money.

 

I simply dont get it.  If you really beleived in this, you could make $8000 in a few weeks easy.  Sure you would be tired, and it would be work....but hey so is running a real business.

 

PS: for the record lots of companies do what you are.  Big brands like Billabong, and lots of little shops too.

 

 

 

But hey, if you can scrounge up $8000 from doing nothing, all the power to you.  Good luck with it.



Oh shut up. $8k is a lot of money there, Daddy Warbucks.  A few weeks?  Are you selling heroin or subprime mortgages or something???  I bought a hoodie from these guys when they came out to Magic this year and they all seemed nice, and even made sure to take time to get turns in like good skiers.  I like my hoodie- it's nice and bright so gapers don't plow into me and I get compliments on it all the time on the hill. 

 

I'll give 'em props for chasing the dream if nothing else.  You have to start somewhere!  Keep up the good work guys.   

 

 

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hey Skidude72 -  (From Ryan, the other partner) I get it... you think I'm trying to take the easy way home. Not the case man, not the case at all. I left a career, lost the girl I loved, and I've been 'homeless' since October. This is all after sinking $15K into it already. But thats what it takes to start a company. Sacrifice. $8,000 might not seem like a lot, but it's going to be enough to get me through this next season and help take the brand to the next level - or at least I hope so. And life is expensive, and life is tough - so finding money from odd jobs doesn't cut it sometimes... hence Kickstarter. I hope you can understand that. See you on the mountain - cheers

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by splitter View Post

"till" is spelled wrong (until, with one "l")


I was going to post a similar reply (albeit a much more smug one) till I actually did a quick check on dictionary.com: 

 

 

 

till

1   [til] dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif Show IPA
preposition
1.
up to the time of; until: to fight till death.
2.
before (used in negative constructions): He did not come till today.
3.
near or at a specified time: till evening.
EXPAND
conjunction
6.
to  the time that or when; until.
7.
before (used in negative constructions).
 
Usage note

Till 1  and until  are both old in the language and are interchangeable as both prepositions and conjunctions: It rained till  (or until nearly midnight. The savannah remained brown and lifeless until  (or till the rains began.  Till  is not a shortened form of until  and is not spelled 'till. 'Til  is usually considered spelling error, though widely used in advertising: Open 'til ten. 

 

 

 

So stid, you're in the right by keeping your name as is!

 

I'm curious - what's the goal of the company? Is it to sell clothes with ski logos on them? Is it supposed to be a New York skiing thing? 


Edited by Metaphor_ - 7/4/11 at 12:19am
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hey Metaphor,

 

Thanks for the update on the "till", its good to see you can use it both ways :) 

 

The goals of the company, thats a good question, right now we are just a t-shirt and apparel company because we are in the beginning stages of growing our brand. We do all of the work DIY, so t-shirts and hoodies etc. are low cost and a goodway to start getting your brand out there. Once we are able to pick up some steam we would like to move on to performance apparel as we have some killer ideas, that are not only cool, but functional, but that probably is a season or so away. We ideally would like to become known throughout the U.S., and then the world, but as you know that will take some time, so being we are on the east coast will start there.. one day at a time you know...Where are you located? Any interest in helping out a small Ski Company, we're working on bringing on ambassadors and giving out some free product, and as we grow, you can grow.. just a thought, thanks for reaching out to us, and check out our website with our updated product images.. 

 

Thanks,

 

Jim 

post #14 of 24

Hi, my name is Elliott and I'm 16 years old. I live in northern Maryland and my dream is to be a sponsored freestyle skier. Also, I really want to start a ski company that specializes in skis and apparel. What I would like to know is what it takes to be sponsored by your company. And, what do you guys look for in a skier that you'd like to sponsor. I would be so honored to be sponsored by your company. The thing is that I'm a beginner freestyle skier. Please get back to me at your convenience.

 

My email is skiers.win@gmail.com and please tell me everything I need to know. I am confident that I can earn your sponsorship and to eventually start my company soon.        

                                                                                          Elliott L.     12-20-2012

post #15 of 24

Selling sweatshirts is not being a ski company (or even a start)

 

 

You'd have to be selling SKIS. Who would make them for you, who would test them, who would distribute, promote or even want them?

 

 

Did I miss something?


Edited by Rossi Smash - 12/20/12 at 12:13pm
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

I know I should just shut up and let this go but.....

 

So let me get this straight.  You have this dream, that you are very passionate about.  But $8 grand stands in your way.

 

So instead of washing dishing, mowing lawns, showing some work ethic and doing what ever you have to earn it, you have decided instead to post a 3 minute video blog talking about your ski experiences, and beg for the money.

 

I simply dont get it.  If you really beleived in this, you could make $8000 in a few weeks easy.  Sure you would be tired, and it would be work....but hey so is running a real business.

 

PS: for the record lots of companies do what you are.  Big brands like Billabong, and lots of little shops too.

 

 

 

But hey, if you can scrounge up $8000 from doing nothing, all the power to you.  Good luck with it.


You really don't understand much about crowd-sourced funding, do you? Every company needs start-up money; this is just a new way of finding it. They're not "begging for money," they're guaranteeing a certain level of sales to fund a production run and get things off the ground. Meanwhile, they're testing the market to see if people like their product. Look at the pledges - most of them involve getting something (although $35 is kind of steep for a T-shirt, especially for what should be an early bird-special price), so it's not like charity at all. Don't like what they're offering? Don't pledge anything, pretty simple. If they don't hit their target, no one pays a dime. If they do, then they get their money and start churning out shirts.

 

Other companies put together a presentation and look for real-life investors; Kickstarter just leverages the reach of the Internet in connecting entrepreneurs and investors. WTF mows lawns to start a T-shirt business? And, sure, it's definitely that easy to make $8 grand in a few weeks. That must be why the average income is in the six figures rolleyes.gif

 

At least if you're going to disparage someone, know what you're talking about. Just because you don't like or understand it, doesn't mean it's not legitimate.

 

Personally I don't think a ski T-shirt company is that original or necessary of an idea, so I won't pledge any money. It doesn't mean others don't disagree with me, though.

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by splitter View Post

"till" is spelled wrong (until, with one "l")

 

and maybe your passion should start with building skis, rather than screenprinting...

 

are they at least organic cotton or are you just another grenade knockoff?


Because companies always use perfect spelling and grammar in their names? It's definitely catchier with "till".

 

I do agree with the second part, though - If you really intend to build skis, build skis. Make good skis and the T-shirts will practically sell themselves. I can't say I'd be too excited to buy skis from a T-shirt company, on the other hand.

post #18 of 24

Hi!

 

I think Hurley and Billabong are bad examples to use. First off, Bob Hurley (one of the founders of Hurley) was a premier surfboard shaper in so cal in the early 80's and actually was the first to license the US rights ($$$) to the then up and coming australian company Billabong. He formed Billabong USA in 1983. After growing Billabong USA to a worth of almost 70 million or so the rights were up for renewal and they instead (he and a group including co-workers from Billabong USA) decided to form Hurley International in 1998. Along the way they got celebrity endorsements (mainly in the music industry) and sponsored celebrities and professionals. Nike purchased Hurley Int. in 2002 for an undisclosed amount. $$$$. 

 

Point is, it takes a lot of work, time and money and people to make it big. Don't believe a lot of the myths out there. 

 

But, there are quite a few companies that start Grassroots and make it. It can happen. (people do win the lottery sometimes). 

 

The world is very competitive nowadays. You and your partners need to be amazing and passionate at what you do. You need to be creative but realistic and hard working but also work smartly. 

 

Want to build SKIs? Check this company, it's quite new http://www.wagnerskis.com Awesome products

 

regarding clothing eh well. http://rollingout.com/music/10-hip-hop-clothing-lines-that-failed-miserably/6/


Edited by MuchosPixels - 12/20/12 at 12:18pm
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post


Because companies always use perfect spelling and grammar in their names? It's definitely catchier with "till".

 

I do agree with the second part, though - If you really intend to build skis, build skis. Make good skis and the T-shirts will practically sell themselves. I can't say I'd be too excited to buy skis from a T-shirt company, on the other hand.

 

I love that people think that they can go build a press and  make (useful) skis.

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post

 

I love that people think that they can go build a press and  make (useful) skis.


I'm not sure if that's aimed at me or the OP, but either way, the explosion of small, independent companies argues that you can indeed design useful (and marketable) skis. And they don't really have to build them, as they can find an existing manufacturer to build their models.

 

When did Epic become the place for skier's dreams to come to die?

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuchosPixels View Post

 

Want to build SKIs? Check this company, it's quite new http://www.wagnerskis.com Awesome products

 

 

Weird example to use in a post about bad examples. Wagner does something completely differently thanks to the fact that it was founded by an engineer with experience designing custom sports equipment. Not really a model that anyone else can simply mimic. Also, it's not all that new.

post #22 of 24

Post a thread about starting a ski company and all the business experts come out. rolleyes.gif

 

Where exactly are you guys located in the east? Also the site seems to be down at the moment so I can't view any products.

 

Just a suggestion but if you guys were to make posters and distribute them at college campuses, especially those with large ski communities, the company name would spread pretty fast. Every college kid is looking for a new poster to stick on the wall in your dorm and by reading your mission statement on the website it seems like something a lot of young people could get behind. 

post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post

 

I love that people think that they can go build a press and  make (useful) skis.


Explain with real reason beyond your curmudgeonly attitude why anyone with reasonable intelligence and a good work ethic cannot do this.

post #24 of 24

Want to know how to make a small fortune in the ski industry?    Start with a large one...

 

 

BTW - Did any of you look at the time stamps on these posts?  This thread was from 18 months ago, the STID website appears to be abandoned, and the OP hasn't been on EpicSki since July 2011.  Their last blog post was in Feb.  I think the company likely failed and/or is on hold, probably pending funding.  

 

As for Skiman1 (Elliot), get some coaching, enter some comps, get some wins, then start looking for sponsors.  Try to find an older, former competitor who can act as a mentor and get you connected.  As for getting sponsorship with STID, per the above note, forget about it, they're gone or at least not positioned to sponsor anyone.  To get sponsored though, you primarily need to establish yourself as an 'elite' skier in your discipline.  You need natural talent, guts, and lots of coaching and practice.  Good luck, young man!


Edited by GoldMember - 12/20/12 at 1:37pm
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