Burton Realigns Snowboard Brands
October 25, 2012 1:14 pm
Burlington, VT - At a company-wide meeting held this week at its Burlington headquarters, Burton Snowboards announced that its senior management team has elected to alter the structure of Burton owned brands and discontinue several of those brands to refocus the company’s efforts.
“Burton has experienced several years of income growth since the recession and paid out bonuses to employees over the last two years,” said Burton Founder and CEO, Jake Burton. “That said, the economy has a voice of its own that we all have to listen to, and the message is clear: do what you do best and focus purely on it. In our case, that means to narrow our focus to the sport and lifestyle that got us here – snowboarding.”
Burton’s current family of brands includes Analog, Gravis, RED, anon, Foursquare, Forum, Special Blend, Channel Islands and, of course, Burton. During a company-wide meeting held this week at the company’s headquarters in Vermont, explained the new structure and how it will allow Burton to move forward.
Over the next year, Analog will return to its roots of being a pure snowboarding brand based at its original home in Burlington, Vermont. Analog has a deep heritage in snowboarding from the day when Burton Chief Creative Officer Greg Dacyshyn and the late team rider Jeffy Anderson gave birth to the brand in Burlington, and as such, will revert back to being a winter-only brand.
Burton’s Gravis brand will ultimately move its headquarters to Tokyo, Japan and moving forward will be solely distributed in Asian markets selling lifestyle shoes and bags. Gravis was established in 1998 as the company’s first independent lifestyle brand, and since then, Asia has been by far its most successful region. As a result, Gravis will now focus purely on this market and opportunity.
Say goodbye to Forum Snowboards (photo: Forum Snowboards)
Further, in a move that Burton has been planning for several years, the company will also start developing protective headwear under the anon brand name. Burton will continue to offer its RED helmets on a limited basis, but the bulk of helmet and optics product lines will be combined under the anon brand.
Burton also announced that the company will transition out of its Program brands (Foursquare, Forum and Special Blend), which were purchased in 2004. Burton has supported these brands for eight years and will continue to support them over the next year through warranty service, dealer support, marketing and inventory. The company will exit out of The Program brands in winter 2014, in order to better focus on and invest in Burton.
Finally, Channel Islands, which was acquired by Burton in 2006, will be unaffected by this brand realignment and will continue to design, develop and manufacture surf hardgoods products in Carpinteria, Calif.
“We will continue to support Channel Islands in its endeavor to make the best surfboards in the world and Gravis in its new home in Japan, but when you walk through the front door here in Burlington, Vermont, it will be all snowboarding and snowboarding lifestyle all the time – driven by the Burton, Analog and anon brands,” Jake Burton said.
He went on to share that one of the key factors that led senior management to these decisions includes the success of Burton’s entry into the apparel and bag/pack business on a year-round basis, which has grown significantly in all seasons. The message Burton has taken from the marketplace is that for long-term success, this is the direction that the company should be pursuing, along with its core hardgoods and outerwear business.
Increasing the company’s focus on Burton has also been demonstrated by recent significant investments in its headquarters and infrastructure. These include the acquisition of the building next door to its Burlington headquarters where the company not only built Craig’s, a new 10,000-square-foot R&D and prototype facility named for the late Craig Kelly, but also Area 13, a 6,000-square-foot Burton/anon/Analog wholesale showroom.
“I take full responsibility for the decisions that led to the creation (or acquisitions) of these ancillary brands, and I similarly am the individual ultimately responsible for the decision to realign and focus more purely on what made this company from the start,” Burton said. “Clearly, the most difficult aspect of this decision and transition is the people affected. The employees and team riders associated with these brands have poured their guts into making it happen. Their level of commitment has been extraordinary, and we will do everything we can to help support them through this transition.
“There is never a good time for moves like this, and we could have delayed the announcement,” Burton added, “but it isn’t our style to perpetuate a myth. Clearly this transition will pose challenges along the way, but in the long run, everyone will see the results of our commitment to our core business.”