Industry Profile: Roxy Hardgoods Product Manager Kyre Byram
14 Jul, 2009
Shay: What is your job title?
Kyre: Snowboard Hardgoods Product Manager for Roxy
Shay: What was your first set up?
Kyre: Burton Elite 135 with the slot for a metal fin, of which I was convinced, would have helped me turn (while I was learning) if I would have just had one. Bindings were the crazy old four strap, felt like straight jackets, and boots were regular Sorels (pre ‘snowboard’ Sorels).
Shay: What is your current set up?
Kyre: Depends on the day, I’m always on different product for testing, but most frequently I’ve been riding our Ollie Pop BTX, and on a little deeper days Eminence BTX, with Eminence Bright Edition bindings and Track Lace boots, the black patent sparkly ones.
Kyre at the factory in Washington
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Kyre: No, they’ve always let me do my thing in everything I’ve done.
Shay: What was your first job?
Kyre: Cleaning my friend’s parent’s house and rental properties for $5 per hr, which was a Gold Mine at the time! I Hated the cleaning though.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Kyre: 2-3’ of fresh light Utah powder, early tram at Snowbird with a handful of friends, right when they drop the rope to high Baldy.
May at Snowbird
Shay: Who are your influences?
Kyre: People who follow their passions and take the path that’s right for them, not what the crowd is doing or what they ‘should’ do.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Kyre: Twenty years. Literally.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Kyre: Depends on the year, ~50.
Shay: What is your role at Roxy as the Hardgoods Product Manager?
Kyre: To put it briefly, at the beginning of the design season I lay out the lines: boards, boots and bindings; determining what will change about the lines broadly and then also within each product category and product.
Then, I work with the engineers, designers, developers, artists and factories to get the products created. It’s a lengthy process with a lot of back and forth. Finally in the Fall, hand the products over to the sales team to sell.
In the mean time I also work on media requests that deal specifically with hardgoods and the details of hardgoods, independent product tests, snowboard catalog, give input to our marketing department, and work with our art dept to develop all of our packaging.
Shay: Roxy is the women’s line under Quiksilver, what role do women have in designing and building the brand?
Kyre: Looking at Roxy in the big picture perspective, women are leading the brand at every level from VPs to interns. We also listen to direction from our athletes (Pros, Ams and Groms), take input from product testers, shop owners, buyers and employees, and consumers. It is that input and our team’s vision that makes Roxy what it is. When it comes to the hardgoods lines we have a mix of women and men involved.
SIA 09: Stine Brun-Kjeldass, Erin Comstock, Jessica Dalpiaz, Kyre Byram, Torah Bright, Amber Stackhouse, Alexis Waite,
Shay: How does Roxy cater to women’s needs for snowboarding?
Kyre: Research and product testing focused on women. Women’s products are not a part of our lines, they are our lines. Therefore the way we build up and modify our products are based directly on female feedback and input.
Shay: How long has Roxy been making hardgoods?
Kyre: Actually about seven years, starting very small with one board, two graphics.
Shay: Does Roxy work on technology advances in the hardgoods line?
Kyre: Yes, and we also don’t try to reinvent the wheel when it’s not necessary. We are a part of Mervin Mfg who, are and have been, creating hands down the best board technology the industry has to offer – we don’t need to reinvent that, but take it and modify it for women and our riders and consumers.
Kyre with the 08-09 Roxy Collection
Shay: Will C2 technology be available in Roxy snowboards in the future?
Kyre: Yes! We will absolutely have C2 in the future. And potentially other fantastical inventions from Mervin Manufacturing.
Shay: What do you feel has been the most popular Roxy snowboard?
Kyre: The Ollie Pop. It’s a super fun, poppy board, it’s team driven and this year it’s Banana-Traction. Every year it gets better.
Shay: You gather input on designs/graphics, is that hard work communicating many ideas into one?
Kyre: No. I target each product pretty specifically, which gives the direction and helps to keep everyone in check. Plus I think my specialty is managing the chaos.
Shay: Where are Roxy Snowboards currently produced?
Kyre: All of our high-end boards are made up in Washington at Mervin, the rest were made in Asia. But after some recent changes and decisions made we will be making 90% of our boards in the US!
Shay: What steps are taken to ensure quality and durability with Roxy products?
Kyre: Years of R&D knowledge and tons of testing. On snow testing by team riders, product testers of all ages and myself of course, as well as material and durability testing in the factories. On top of that is the incredible knowledge that the engineers have from doing it since the beginning.
Roxy crew riding at Mammoth. Stephanie Paine (Public Relations Manager), Kyre Byram, Kenna Florie (VP of Marketing), Iris Yen (Director of Communications & PR)
Shay: Prior to Roxy, what other jobs/companies have you worked at?
Kyre: My last job was being a Product Manager for a company that made products that take x-ray and moving x-ray during surgery…great job, but I just had to come back to the snowboard industry, where my heart really is.
Shay: What’s your average day like at work?
Kyre: There are no average days, that’s part of what I love. Every day is different. The only standards are the standards, emails, check the industry news, then jump into whatever current projects are on the top of the list – right now it’s graphics development and line finalization.
Follow up on graphics – review the latest comps. Track down an artist who is lagging. Check with factory regarding development of new molds. Discuss shapes and specs with our engineer. Make sure other factory has received orders and money and are moving fwd on development. Double check delivery dates and that we’re on track. Proof some stickers for packaging. Set up focus groups.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working at Roxy?
Kyre: Going to the big tradeshows with my first collection. SIA and ISPO and presenting to people the lines I poured my heart and soul into developing. The coolest Show and Tell day of my life!
Last year’s sales meeting. We rented beach houses in CA. Usually we have that meeting in the mountains, but last year to save cost we did it in Huntington Beach at (near) Quik/Roxy headquarters. Since many of our (Mervin/Roxy) reps also do outerwear it reduced travel cost significantly. Meetings started at 1 and went later into the evening. So, surf in the morning, hang out breakfast/coffee, then meeting. …we have our priorities straight.
Les Deux Alpes, FR
Shay: How is working for Roxy (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Kyre: Lots of perks. My job in general. Work events are never boring. Roxy clothes! Product testing on 12” mornings. I usually travel a lot and I LOVE that I can be me –In a hoodie and sneakers sitting on the floor of the airport doing pretty heavy work, and I don’t have to be all dressed up or act important like many of the mucky mucks I see in their uptight suits and ties. I create products that make people happy and their lives more fun!
Shay: What experience did you have or attributes to getting the job?
Kyre: Growing up in snowboarding and having a technical approach to what I was riding and why, and how that worked or didn’t. Even when I was younger I would analyze the specs and shapes of products to understand how they would ride.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Kyre: Doing what I love! Even in the most rough and stressful days it’s still my dream job. I get to work with and learn from some of the greatest, most intelligent, innovative, and Fun people I’ve ever known. Some of them I’ve known since I was a kid and never imagined I would end up working with them on a daily basis.
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Kyre: Traveling to a lot of non-snow areas during the season.
Shay: Do you think snowboards will be radically different in 10 years?
Kyre: No, not radically. It will always change and evolve, but we’ll still be surfing the snow.
Shay: Since you started designing snowboards, what’s been the biggest change in snowboards?
Kyre: Technically I am not a product designer, but manager, meaning I work with the designers but I do have my hand in it. The biggest change? That’s easy, BANANA-TRACTION! We’ve had a lot of innovations over the years, but this is a game changer. Banana together with Magne-Traction (= Banana-Traction) enables better and more direct contact with the snow, precision and confidence in all snow conditions, and it’s way more fun. It pops like you cannot believe.
Pete Saari, Mike Olson, Kyre Byram, Greg Hughes, Jeff Kempf, Chris Hardin
Shay: Do you take out other companies snowboards?
Kyre: Of course! Usually the on-snow demos are the best place to ride the most in the shortest amount of time.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Kyre: It’s pretty evenly spread through out the year, unlike most Reps or Sales jobs. One part of the year is developing the product, one smaller part for me is promoting the product – shows, buyers etc and then another part preparing/researching/testing for the next season. The lull in development could be maybe around July and then early January just before the sprint to SIA, but there are no guarantees.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Kyre: Education is helpful, but nothing replaces experience. You can learn all the theory you want, which is beneficial and can give you some great tools, but that’s in no way a substitute for the real deal.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Kyre: Keep at it. If you’re really serious you will find your way in, but you have to have your eyes open regarding what it’s really about. Sure it’s all the sexiness of snowboarding for work, parties, events, relaxed work place etc., but like every job there is a lot of hard work, and many many hours, that go into it behind the scenes.
Shay: Final Thoughts?
Kyre: Live life! Life is too short to be living someone else’s dream.
*Pictures courtesy of Kyre Byram