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Best bankrupt?

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Flyboy
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Re: Best bankrupt?

Postby Flyboy » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:47 am

I have not had any experience with Best bars from those years ... but it seems like every time I log into kiteforum somebody is complaining about one brand or another. As my daughter weighs (considerably) less than 170 lbs, I hope she won't have any problems with her bar!
As the company expanded, our controlling investor’ priorities shifted and a new management team was hired. I never got involved into the finance or management of the company and had little to say at the time but the dwindling bottom line became the most important thing and the bean counters stepped in, attempting to control not only the business but also the design and development of our products. This was catastrophic and their involvement led to poor quality and failed designs resulting in a collapse of the sales. Although touting his Harvard degree and proclaiming to be the only one qualified enough to manage a company of that size, the new CEO proved to bring about the collapse of Best Kiteboarding from a $21 million a year of sales to less than $4 million last year.
MP kitesurf brand never took off?

I have no idea about what has really happened in the kitesurf market as a whole, or Best in particular ... but just guessing: Best was able to flourish in the early years as sales expanded, but possibly wasn't profitable, so the "beancounters" stepped in. A pretty typical development arc. The industry matures, competition increases & gradually sales drop off while profitability doesn't improve.

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Re: Best bankrupt?

Postby TomW » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:45 pm

When the market is growing, there's always unaware new consumers, as it matures there are knowledgeable customers who demand a better product. And one little quality error has huge impact. Customers turn away forever.

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Re: Best bankrupt?

Postby Toby » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:50 pm

I think in the beginning they made a loss, which changed when they got more market shares...like 2007. With the Waroo 2008 they had great success, many around.
Value of the company was really high.

Then "smart" Bank people got involved to make the company more valuable...then some sneaky stuff happened and things went down. Making it a premium brand killed it.

If the original people stayed I assume Best would be top 3 if not 1.

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Re: Best bankrupt?

Postby Flyboy » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:22 am

TomW wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:45 pm
When the market is growing, there's always unaware new consumers, as it matures there are knowledgeable customers who demand a better product. And one little quality error has huge impact. Customers turn away forever.
Really?

1) I'm not sure there was anything wrong with Best's early product line. In fact, I've been perfectly happy with all the Best kites I've owned, except the 2010 Nemesis, which was crap.
2) ALL the kite companies have made flawed products at what point or another. It doesn't seem to have had a lasting effect on their market.
3) Knowledgeable customers? Honestly, there's such a weird mixture of advertising hype, misinformation & badmouthing out there (all amply in evidence on kiteforum) that I'm not really sure what a "knowledgeable customer" actually means.
Making it a premium brand killed it.
Certainly there was a move from "direct sales" to a more conventional distributor system, which started to make Best products more expensive. But maybe the early "success" was only a success in terms of sales, but not in terms of profitability?

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Re: Best bankrupt?

Postby foilonfoil » Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:00 am

The reality is that all the kite companies are competing for a piece of the same marketshare. The kiteboarding market has reached a plateau for the last few years with no change in sight - If kite companies want to maintain/grow market share, they have few options available - Move into other sales specialities, change marketing/distribution methodologies, or just be really good at what you do in a very specific vertical.

Kiting is an awesome sport but has a steep learning curve and time commitment that can be hard for new kiters to overcome. IMO many similarities with other demanding sports such as Scuba Diving and Para Gliding/Hang Gliding and follow on retention rates after initial training.

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Re: Best bankrupt?

Postby Flyboy » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:43 pm

foilonfoil wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:00 am
The reality is that all the kite companies are competing for a piece of the same marketshare. The kiteboarding market has reached a plateau for the last few years with no change in sight - If kite companies want to maintain/grow market share, they have few options available - Move into other sales specialities, change marketing/distribution methodologies, or just be really good at what you do in a very specific vertical.
This is what I believe to be the bottom line. The obvious precedent is the history of windsurfing. Windsurfing exploded onto the scene in the 1980's. It grew much quicker than kitesurfing & was much more popular in its heyday than kitesurfing ever became. Lots of companies attempted to exploit that popularity, but windsurfing had already peaked by the late '80's & then began a gradual decline. Most of the companies went out of business, or shifted their focus to other areas.

When kiting came along in the early 00's, there were pioneering companies, like Wipika, but the companies that have survived successfully over the longer term are those that already had an established business model from windsurfing, like Naish, North, Cabrinha (Pryde). The smaller companies have a tenuous existence based on low overhead, a dedicated staff, & brand image/loyalty. Best had early success based on those elements, plus the significant price advantage of a direct sales business model. When Best tried to move into the "premium" brand arena they lost their early advantages without being able to truly consolidate their status as a premium brand. Without a firm underpinning as a "big company" & growing sales, the company became less & less attractive as a pure business proposition, & without a dedicated staff there was no impetus to keep it running on a "subsistence" level.

This is all speculation on my part, but it's what sounds like it would make sense to me.


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