As a designer/builder of one of a kind high quality furniture and cabinets, I fit into your analogy, and I am completely with you on the ethics of buying from micro businesses producing products right in your back yard.
I think this business model (samurai?) harks back to the middle ages or earlier, and it is a hard buck. But it offers the craftsperson the sense of well-being that comes from personally generating an enduring physical object at the end of skillful, honest labor (now a rarity in America). Then, it offers the buyer a semi-unique, high quality product, personalized specs in some cases, and the warm feeling of helping a soul out.
However, the perception of many skiers is that it is just too difficult to learn all the nuances of ski characteristics and durablility, and that high-tech materials and machinery are required to produce a superior ski. Whereas few people doubt that a furnituremaker can pick up the methods of the 19th century and earlier, (thereby actually making a superior table to one made by today's factories), or that good beer can be brewed the OLD way, many people are skeptical that a ski can likewise be made by a small shop. (Elan making indie skis is a model we will disregard here based on your OP).
Maybe you could calm the doubts of the indie doubters by telling us something (no trade secrets necessary) about your materials, machinery, process, R&D, and anything that would illustrate how you make awsome skis. Good luck to you.
BTW, Many indie brands (Praxis is a good example) are very popular here among strong, (mostly) YOUNG skiers. good on them.
counter-intuitive and ironic notes: furniture-making in the hands of mega-large manufacturers has gone steadily downhill for a hundred years, to where their product is disposable crap, a total waste of wood, a destructive, toxic (not green) process on the planet.
Rossignol seems to have wanted some of that indie vibe, using top sheets (Scratch designer series) designed by indie designers and artists.
Originally Posted by ExoticSkis
I like to compare the "indie" ski movement and custom ski builder movement to the micro-brewery movement. ......snip It's kinda like buying your veggies from the small farmstand instead of Whole Foods, or a piece of furniture from a small cabinetmaker instead of "Mega-Furniture Warehouse"...snip
It's the classic case of people wanting to do something their own way and trying to pay their bills by doing something they think is satisfying. Risky, but fun. I'm glad the indie ski makers are popping up all over the place. It feeds the ski junkies' habits.....
Edited by davluri - 5/25/2009 at 04:42 pm GMT