Industry Profile: Sales Rep Dave Graves
30 Jun, 2009
Shay: So tell us about yourself?
Dave: Dave Graves, 35. Born and raised in Rockaway New Jersey and currently residing in Denver, Colorado.
Shay: What is your job title?
Dave: Independent Sales Rep.
Shay: What companies do you currently rep for?
Dave: Capita Super Corporation, Union Binding Company, Coal Headwear, 686 Outerwear and Apparel and last but not least Ashbury.
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Shay: What was your first set up?
Dave: A mail ordered Sims halfpipe board with Sims bindings.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Dave: A directional cambered Capita and Union Force bindings.
Shay: What was your first job?
Dave: My first real job was working for the United States Post Office in Denville, New Jersey 07854 straight out of high school.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Dave: Riding with family or friends with good conditions. Riding in areas outside my territory and checking out different scenes.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Dave: The people I live with and the people I work with.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Dave: Wow, 20 years?
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Dave: I’d guess somewhere around 40, give or take.
Shay: What is your role as a rep for those companies?
Dave: To be a regional know it all and help out with sales.
Shay: How many days a year do you travel?
Dave: More days than I snowboard, getting close to 100 days.
Shay: What’s the best way to establish connections/relationships with shops?
Dave: Sell yourself before you sell your brands, have a background in what you are selling, be involved with the companies you rep for and participate in the fun we get to sell.
Shay: Do you spend a lot of time doing demos?
Dave: Not as much as I should. I do about 10 consumer demos in the months of November and December.
Shay: How important are demo’s to the companies you work for?
Dave: We think it’s pretty important for sure.
Shay: Do you have anyone who helps or assists you?
Dave: Yes, my wife Liz works in our office. Santino Bruno works with us seasonally to help out with road work, showing lines, demos, etc. I am also lucky to have good regional riders around that lend a helping hand when needed. This is really appreciated and recognized.
Shay: What do you think the industry should do to welcome and bring in new snowboarders?
Dave: Snowboarding is expensive. I think what Winter Park and Denver did at Ruby Hill is a good way to bring snowboarding out to the kids where it’s so accessible. Reverse camber style boards are perfect for entry level riding, so maybe this can speed up the learning curve? I don’t know.
Shay: What do you see as necessary change for shops to survive in our economy?
Dave: Good question. A good attitude can go a long way. There is not one thing, every business is different and each has it’s own model.
Shay: Prior to repping, what other jobs/companies have you worked at?
Dave: The Wright Life in Fort Collins. I did a year of retail up in Breck before we headed to Utah where I worked at Milosport in SLC. I helped out with Mike Gagliardi too (a rep in the Rockies) helping out with whatever I could.
Shay: What’s your average day like at work?
Dave: My average day is always different. It is one of the things I like most about repping. Office days start early and road days end late.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from repping?
Dave: Traveling for sure, trying to keep up with Gags at SIA, meeting and working with so many awesome people.
Shay: How is working as a rep (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Dave: I love working as a rep. I get to work for myself. Traveling has been the biggest perk for me.
Shay: What experience did you have or attributes before getting the job?
Dave: Retail experience, product knowledge, working with Gags and just listening, trying to soak up as much from him as possible.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Dave: Keeping snowboarding a part of my life and never having to sacrifice it to make a living.
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Dave: 100 days away from my family.
Shay: Since you started in the industry, what’s been the biggest change?
Dave: The online retail business.
Shay: Do you try out other company’s products?
Dave: No thank you.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Dave: December through March
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Dave: Surround yourself with good people and good things will happen.
*Pictures courtesy of Dave Graves