Getting to know our Board Members more in depth through this series has been eye-opening, refreshing and fun! With over 5 years in the industry, Krimson Klover continues to forge ahead in the digital landscape to reach new customers as a small brand. I had the pleasure of catching up with a fellow CU Buff, past flight attendant (who knew?) and overall great person/asset to the industry (and SIA Board), Rhonda Swenson.
Where did you grow up? When/where did your passion for skiing first start?
I grew up in Austin, Texas. My family loved skiing so I went on my first ski trip to New Mexico when I was 10. I’ve been an addict ever since. It’s what inspired me to go to the University of Colorado. And to have a clothing company that was involved in the industry.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in the snow sports industry? Or was the industry always a part of you?
The industry has been a part of me since I was young. I taught skiing all through college and then moved to Vail after College. And after a brief stint as a flight attendant I became a rep in the ski industry. Now I own a knitwear company that sells to the same industry.
How do you see SIA as a resource for your business?
SIA offers so many great resources for small businesses. From logistics to sourcing to marketing and PR just to name a few. And the SIA Market & Research data SIA provides is invaluable. I’m such a fan of Kelly Davis; she’s done an outstanding job. It’s amazing how she can turn data into an interesting story! Not to mention, how useful it is. We definitely need to tap into that resource more going forward.
One of my favorite new additions to the SIA show is “Industry & Intelligence.” A series of great seminars, speakers and parties covering really relevant topics such as state of the industry, social media and my favorite: trends
How long has Krimson Klover been in the industry? How have you seen the industry change?
Krimon Klover has been in the industry since 2009, the first year we were in business. I have had a few prior brands that were in this industry as well. Krimson Klover debuted its first collection at the SIA Snow Show in 2010. So this January will be 6 years. The trade show is a great place for us to showcase our collection, build our brand, network with other companies and really get acquainted with everyone in the industry.
The selling cycle has changed a great deal over the years, as well as the way people buy. We are seeing a greater and greater need to move the selling cycle earlier. And a need to adjust how we bring our products to market and how we get product in front of our buyers.
With all of the big players getting dealers to commit their buy so early, we as a small brand need to be out there early as well in order to get the dollar commitments.
Have these changes influenced how you connect with the consumer?
We are spending a great deal of time searching for effective ways to get our consumers attention. Creating an online brand has become a big priority for us as a small brand. And with the digital landscape changing as rapidly as it is it is a big challenge. Also a fun one. We also strategize with our retailers to create joint programs that appeal to the online consumer.
As we head into the 2015-16 season, what outlook do you have on our industry and your brand? How can we all work together better?
Going into 2016 I have a very optimistic outlook on the future. It is changing rapidly and I feel we are all working hard to change with it, solve our challenges and work to make it a better industry. From the unpredictable weather to the way consumers and buyers shop, it can be challenging. I think it is going to be exciting to watch how this industry moves forward and learns new ways to conduct business. We are so lucky to be in an industry that is as passionate as it is. I think we will all pull together and find a great solution to the challenges at hand. And I look forward to seeing the path we all choose to take!