Industry Profile: YES Sales Manager Chad Perrin
29 Sep, 2009
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Chad: I am a happy husband and father of 2 children, blessed to be living the dream and living in Bellingham WA, proud to call Mt Baker my home. I absolutely love snowboarding and I have made a life out of working in the shred industry. I am a fan of hiking lines at Mt Baker and love the Pacific Northwest and the natural terrain and riding we have here, we are very lucky to call this our backyard.
Shay: What is your job title?
Chad: US Sales Manager/Axe Swinger YES.NOWBOARD
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, what opened up more opportunities for you?
Chad: A actually started in retail (The Erie Sport Store) and was selling snowboards and skis, then when the boom really hit in the early 90’s our store focused on buying more snowboards and I was riding every night after work, practicing all the tricks in the vids and doing well in contests. The local K2 rep at the time (Jeff Clark) got me hooked up on K2 Snowboards, then I got hooked up with Swag, Dragon and Vans – after that I knew that I wanted to spend my life in this industry and did not care what capacity it was in, I just wanted to eat, sleep and breathe shred. I then moved to VT and worked with Dave Dutton at getting Out of Bound Snowboard Shop off the ground. At that time I was the eastern rep for 686, XXX snowboard wax and Option. Then I was offered the job as TM for Option and in April of 97 I moved to Bellingham WA to work side by side with Byron Seegers. I learned so much since then and can say it has been a fun road and I feel extremely lucky to be working in this industry to this day.
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Chad: Of course, I was just a skater turned snowboarder that had dreams of traveling the globe in search of pow like Damian Sanders and Steve Graham did in Snowboarders In Exile – I wanted to live that life. My parents saw that video and thought I was unrealistic, then I just started following my dreams and here I am. My parents supported me once they saw how hard I had worked and how happy I was, and bottom line, happiness is all that mattered to them, if I was happy they were supportive.
Shay: What was your first set up?
Chad: A Sims 1610 Blade that I purchased from Dick West BMX in Erie PA
Shay: What is your current set up?
Chad: The YES 158 with Camrock
Shay: What was your first job?
Chad: I worked in the rental shop at a small ski hill in Edinboro PA called Mt Pleasant. 2 T-bars and one old Sno Cat and barely any snow making – we had a blast working there, pretty lax job.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Chad: These days with my schedule and family priorities, any day I can get out and ride is a great day. I am into the spirit of just going to the hill and snowboarding. I love pow days but I am not upset if I do not get pow every day as just being lucky enough to be on the hill and with friends is plenty of fun for me.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Chad: Ok there are a lot , these are more people who both are an influence and have helped me out during my career: Rick Shimpeno, HW Smith, Dan Calhoun, Todd Denlinger, Adam Longnecker, Damian Sanders, Steve Graham, Palmer, Seoane, Zellers, Salasnek,Pretzel Hetzel, Szabo, Ranquet, Craig Kelly (RIP) Luke Edgar, Brett Turner, Lisa Hudson, Chuy Reyna, Jim Spinello, The Weber’s, Jono Zacharias, Mike West, Doug Sumi, Byron Seegers, Grant Wellington, Geoff Power, Michel Turcot, Maxx vonMarbod, Mark Steacy, Greg McMillan, Walter Froese, John Colvin, Jamie Collins, Brandon Thomas, George Cant, Luke Elburn, Tim Daigle, Michelle Astephen, Beth Spooner, Jason Kennett, Johnny Q, Chris Adams, Justin McMullen, Matt Cadieux, Galen Armstrong, Marion Counsel, Elias Caston, Stephen Jay, Aaron MacDonald, Dennis Regan, Kavan Cronin, the entire Option Factory crew, Peter & Tony Lefroy, Dave Randall, Mark Strang, Richard Lapierre, Louis L’amoureux, Shawn Sweetnam, Erick Schade, Steve Ogden, Derek Appleton, Eric Wallis, Tim Direux, Mike Bishop, Ray Lang (RIP), Zach Bingham, Steve Scherck, Kevin Martin, Ralph Palladino, Armin Bauer, Helge Zirkl, Andy Blumberg, Leah (Stassen) Crane, Kurt Hoy, Justin Cobb, Charlie Anderson, Rob Campbell, Nick Hamilton, Jeff Galbraith, Matt Wibby, Jessie Lu Galbraith, Pat Bridges, Kyle Kennedy, E-Tree, Kevin Sansalone, Joni Makinen, Patrick McCarthy, Travis Williams, Andrew Hardingham, Scotty Goodale, Jordan Mendenhall, Carsten Bahnsen, Ezra Jacobsen, Steven Brown, Ben Bogart, Paul Gonzales, Yuho Sekihara, Luke Wynen, Jason Chatfield, Jay Nelson, Scott Newsome, Paul Nelson, Max Jenke, Rob Dow, Jacob Macintire, Devun Walsh, Mike & Nick Ennen, Chioke Stuckey, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Alex Gavin, Martin Rasinger, Ryan Davis, Jaako Seppala, Leanne Pelosi, Jeff Keenan, MFM, Todd Hahn, Ninja, Mark “Skip” Taylor, Shawn Taylor, Keith Wilson, Holly Anderson, John (Johan) Malkoski, Bob Gundram, George Kleckner, Jered Gallegos, Dan Stanilonis, Kevin Royce, Styk, Mavis, Greg Keeling, Sparky Williams, Chuck Mason, Jon Hokett, Jay and Tara Dacek, Brusven, Dan Macnamara, Anthony Scaturro, Johnny West, Sam Herrbach, Robert Rumph, Mark Liscak, Jeff Stephenson, Eric Luthardt, Adam Sharp, Chris Dunham, Donny Denton, Kevin Addy, Terry Howells, Fred Hartray, Tim Brennan, Brad Haverky, The Cliffords, Kurt Schuman, Chris Copley, Rob Cloupe, Rob McClennand, Dave Dutton, Jay Rosenbaum, Eric Webster, Mike Olsen, Peter Saari, Greg Todds (RIP), Jeff Pensiero, Jeff Harbaugh, Scott Serfas, Mike Yoshida, Josh Thompson, Stan Evans, Dylan Hart, Tim Zimmerman (man times over), Scott Rouse, Dave Wray, Greg Hughes, John Laing, Lando, Peter Line, Kurt Jenson, Kelly Dole, Eddie King, Jesse Burtner, Mike Thienes, Johnny Martens, Tarek Huseveld, Donkee (RIP), Gunther (RIP), The Howats, The DeBari family, George Dobis (RIP) and the Dobis Family, Jane Mauser, Mike and Casey Stamm, Marcel Dolak, Mark Bender, Jon Long, Pierre Minhondo, Mike and Waide at Standard Films, Carlo Wien, Jon Scarth, Dano Pendygrasse, Russell Dalby, Jeff Patterson, Geoff Andruik, Sarah Blythe, Annie Gagne, Brian Harris, Paul Wisniewski, Joe Rosell, Scott Hooey, Josh King, Steven Goodell, David Tran, Chris Glancy, John Brandow, Chris Thompson, John Logic, Kevin Walsh, Todd Jacobson, Luke Fryer, Jynn Hintz Romano, Micah Barrett, Jim Bob Hume, Josh Burch, Gorio, Vin Quennville, Neil Brusseau, Greg Brusseau, Chris Tretwold, Jay Moore, Josh Roberts, Benny Pelligrino, Guido Sylvestri, INNATE crew, Hoss Almassy, my wife Heather, My Son Preston, my daughter Giselle, my family and friend. Sorry if I missed you – MIKEY PETERSON RIP
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Chad: 22 years
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Chad: Not enough, but hopefully more this year as I have recovered from my ankle injury and on snow demos will allow me to ride a little more. I am hoping for 40 days plus!
Shay: Earlier this summer you stepped down as General Manager at Monument Snowboards, what were the reasons behind leaving the brand?
Chad: MNMNT is one of those rare brands that are focused on the art/collector scene, the scene that is into all the limited edition Nike shoes and what not. I felt that at the end of the day that was not who I was and nor was it my scene. I felt like I was not the best fit for the brand and decided in order for me to move on I just needed to step down in hopes that the brand could find someone more into that scene. I love the brand and what it is about but it just came down to personal connection to that type of brand and I did not feel connected to the brand so I just admitted to myself that I am not the cool art guy they need to help move the brand forward, so I made what I feel was the best move for the brand and myself. I think the brand is going to do well and look forward to what Chris and Dave will come up with in the years to come.
Shay: You’ve worked with a variety of snowboard companies, is it difficult to transition from another company?
Chad: Yes and no. The language and overall dynamic is always there, and all the rhetoric is the same, the main difference is management style and personalities. You are just switching to a new director and cast so you just have to adjust to their way of doing business and communicating. Some companies are more organized than others, but you just get into the rhythm and make and impact. The trick is to go with your eyes open and then the acclimation process is usually pretty smooth.
Shay: What is your role at YES Snowboards?
Chad: My focus is 2 sided, I am the US sales manager for YES. I work with the Nidecker team in Switzerland in conjunction with the YES team of DCP, Romain, JP and Tadashi to make sure the brand, its strategy, Its products and marketing message are supported and delivered consistently at retail here in the US. I have been championed to grow the business here in the USA and assist in other areas when needed. My primary focus is hiring and managing our US rep force and growing the brand through key retailers in each territory.
Shay: Who are the people behind YES Snowboards?
Chad: DCP, Romain, JP Solberg, Tadashi Fuse, & Nidecker is the production and sales support for the YES brand.
Shay: Why did you want to work for YES?
Chad: The team surely helped, with a roster of strong names getting behind a new brand all at once, well that is a strong message and I saw the potential this brand holds for the future. I also like what YES is about at the core, the riders really want to support the independent retailers in each territory and grow from that standpoint, it is more organic in approach and more intimate when you are starting out and that is how you lay the foundation for long term success and customer retention. The brand is on fire and is standing on its own which is uncharacteristic for a new brand. They have a great story and the brand is backed by Nidecker from a production standpoint, who has their own factory in Switzerland and in Tunisia. The team paired with great products coming from the Nidecker factory tells a great story. Not many brands have their own factory and YES does, this allows for quick prototyping and feedback in the R&D process as well as quicker changes to any of the boards, from shapes to cores to flex profiles. I come from a factory background when I was with Option Snowboards, that was our story – the fact that we made our own boards really meant a lot to our retailers and our consumers, the same goes for YES – we will be able to control our production and quality. One thing the Swiss are really good at are perfecting the little details in the Quality control side of production – so our products will ride great as well as look great. Nidecker has some impressive technology that is present in the YES line up and we will be working on some more innovations in the years to come.
Shay: How are you looking to expand YES?
Chad: Our plan is to work with Key accounts in each territory to grow the brand. We want the retailers that are excited about YES and what we have to offer from a product and service standpoint. Our plan is to establish our national rep force and then initiate key account programs that will place the focus on education and selling of YES products at retail. Since we are new and small our marketing will be focused on more of a grass roots approach and we will be spending a lot of face to face time with our retailers over the next few years. Right now we have a very hands on approach to our dealers, our team is interacting with retailers on a daily basis while they are off the snow. For instance DCP just held a BBQ at his house in Vail and invited local shop kids and buyers and it was great PR for YES, plus it gives a personality to our brand, which as a new brand is key. Also the success with the team’s part in Absinthe’s “Neverland” is huge for us, as their hard work filming and shooting has paid off in the film, in the mags and on the web, so things are great right now from an exposure standpoint. We just need to ensure we are working with retailers on sell through for this season and service the hell out of our customers. On the back end of the business we will grow the brand by treating out reps like gold and giving them the tools and support they need for continued success. If you take care of your reps this will trickle to the retailer and become a win win for everyone.
Shay: What steps did you take to get this job?
Chad: I did my due diligence and first spoke to retailers about YES and got their thoughts and what they would look for in a new brand like YES. The response was very positive. Then I called on the best reps I knew in each territory to see what they would look for as well, and again the response was positive. I worked with Henry Nidecker on some short term strategy and we came up with a plan for me to take the ball in the US and run with it. We will be working on our long term strategies for growth in the next month with our team, it is going to be fun and challenging
Shay: How did you acquire your sales experience?
Chad: I spent many years at retail then later in life I became a rep and worked with some great people in this industry. I just soaked up as much as I could and applied it in such a way that related to sales and marketing. Sure I made mistakes but that is the beauty of it as you will not get anywhere with out making some mistakes. Learn from them, re-guage, plan for success. If there is anything I did learn, and it took me a while to adopt this is : deliver on your word – this is your bond, your integrity and your strength, and keep your mouth shut until spoken to – man I wish that phrase was stamped on my eyeballs back in the day!
Shay: What are some key experiences to directing and marketing sales?
Chad: First off, you have to have a plan, if you don’t have a plan and do not put pen to paper you are just spinning your wheels – talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing
Customer Connection – Hug your customers – not literally, unless they are cool with you, but treat them so well that you are on their call list when they need something.
Under-promise and Over deliver – this statement goes back to the shut your mouth unless spoken to comment. Listen to what people are saying and plan on how you are going to handle the task at hand – then go above and beyond your calling – never tell someone you will do something then not deliver, I have done that and the feeling is terrible.
Listen….no matter how cool or uncool, just listen, your time will pay dividends in the future
Don’t be all about you – be about others and how you can help your co workers and customers – put your seat at the middle to back of the bus
Along with your plan – have captivating programs that will support your retailers and your sales force as well as create demand for your brand and push sell through.
Just be good to people, this is a fun industry and lifestyle – if you are going to be a douche go work in another industry, hmmm, maybe like MMA or something – they seem to be overflowing in the douchey dept.
Don’t complain – not to co workers and especially not to retailers and distributors
Don’t talk shit about your competitors (we have all done it), this is a small industry and we hear everything – this is a family affair.
Shay: Do you see social media as an important future in marketing?
Chad: Very much, the way consumers acquire information is changing everyday. With the advent of social media and platforms like iPhone apps, I see the social media as the main source for reaching a changing and growing consumer demographic. I see companies like Dakine that have developed applications for the iPhone and I think they are being very smart as they are making their brand and retailers accessible from a direct app dedicated to supporting their brand and retailers – awesome. If you have no Social Media plan in place then you will end up like Darth Vader, bitter until the end and eventually dead….
Shay: What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry and how will YES fit into the industry?
Chad: YES will fit like a glove in this industry. The current state is tough to stomach, I’ll be honest, but I am an optimist. It has been hard to see good retailers and friends struggle. Our industry just was not prepared for what happened over the last 12 months and I hate to say that we still have a wave of this to ride out. However there is light at the end of the tunnel. We believe in the consumer, and the fact that people will still want to get to the mountain and get their shred on. Our target market is still young and will find a way to afford new equipment and still get to the hill. I have to applaud some of the resorts for lowering their seasons pass prices to make getting to the hill more accessible for all affected by the economy, the resorts that did so will really see a positive impact in revenues beyond lift tickets – areas like food, lessons, rental, on site retail and lodging. It is a really smart idea as the resorts that did this knew that if there prices remained the same it would adversely effect the other revenue streams that they rely heavily upon. Now the main thing we need to rely on is Winter getting here, ol’ Ma’ Nature. She needs to show up to the party to help us sustain and survive and move forward. YES is a new brand with some momentum behind it and retailers are looking for new brands that have a great story and some product innovation to offer the consumer. Right now I feel that we are experiencing a renaissance of sorts where brands like Capita, Union, Stepchild, Arbor, and Rome to name a few are becoming the focus of attention at retail compared to the the major brands, this mostly from a product loyalty standpoint – these brands have out maneuvered the major brands at the core level through managing great relationships with the retailers and buyers so now we are seeing a shift in consumer buying habits as the shop kids are getting behind these brands and driving their loyalty (of these brands) to the consumer with more one on one service and support to the retailers. Plus these brands are not over-saturating the market with off price or closeout product so the product becomes more exclusive. YES will commit to it’s retailers and actively engage with the guys on the retail floor, they are who make the difference in the end with the consumer – so focusing a shops that have great service and solid sales people will be key for YES.
Shay: Do you do any side projects for other companies?
Chad: My wife and I are opening a spa here in Bellingham. She has a dream and I am here to help here realize her dreams. I also help a couple brands like Sandbox and Clast in finding them qualified reps to carry the line in each territory, basically helping good friends.
Shay: What experience/experience did you have before getting the job?
Chad: 19 years of direct sales and marketing management experience
Shay: What’s your average day like at work?
Chad: Wake up, get dressed, walk downstairs, turn on the espresso maker, make my coffee, turn on computer, check email, talk on skype, call reps, call retailers, deal with any issues that arise, work on sales plan for 2010-2011, check the Tackledbox blog, have a laugh, leave a comment, and plan the next day
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Chad: Probably was in 2007 when I was at Baldface for Freq Week and Dolak handed me the mic to karaoke to “Crazy Train”, I took like I was on American Idol and got on the bar and delivered my semi drunk performance – still get comments to this day about it.
I also got an email last week from former Option-NFA team rider, Travis Williams last week. It was great as he basically thanked me for being a great team manager as he never realized how hard of a job it was until he became one himself. I think TM’s are the hardest workers in the industry and it is always great to get an internet high five like that from someone you respect. Thanks Travis.
Shay: How is working in the industry (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Chad: Well the biggest perk is just working in the industry – cool people, fun, and open minded. I have a mellow work environment, pretty business like, but I have plan to make it better for those who work for us. I have had a career of the perks, now it is my time to pass those perks on to the people I work with.
Shay: What education/experience did you have before getting the job?
Chad: University and 19 years of hands on experience
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Chad: I got the job, and I get to go snowboard with great friends and I have been able to travel to some great places and meet great people.
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Chad: Not that I can see, I feel lucky and if I complained about disadvantages I may plague myself with bad luck in the future. Seriously though – I am lucky – we all are.
Shay: Since you started in the snowboard industry, what’s been the biggest change?
Chad: The Reverse Camber rollercoaster (I think Coolio was riding one of the first Rev Camb on that Zoopla board back in the day and we all laughed – its a gangsta’s paradise afterall) and the distribution model. Retailers have become more savvy and educated in their buying. The ecomm component of the business has become such huge part of the business since I started in this industry. I am proud of our little industry, once we get through this year I think we will be fine. We just have to tighten our terms and work with the right people and we will all be fine. I think the access to information via technology has brought on a much more educated consumer as well, making more educated purchases. All the brands that started back in the day that are still have all come a long way and have become more sophisticated, so I think the biggest change is the overall maturity of the industry on the business side.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Chad: I feel it never slows down, there are always deadlines and there will always something that needs to be done, It is a cycle and I have my hand in all facets of the cycle all year long.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Chad: Both are very important, I think if you have the education for the fundamentals then you go out and pay your dues and get the experience then the two of them harmonize one another. I think experience will always tip the scale to the advantage side of the equation when it comes to sales and marketing, as the two are symbiotic of one another and if you have the experience you learn how to make them both work for your program to convey consistency. I guess it is really a Yin and Yang type of relationship. I am an advocate of education for sure, but if you have tons of hands on that will really play in your favor in this industry.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Chad: Be passionate, if you want to work in this industry consider how many other people want to work in this industry. You need to be a believer, both in yourself and your employer, always be willing to listen to criticism and not take it personally. Be a proactive thinker rather than a reactive thinker, that will help you grow in any organization. Don’t expect to get rich, our industry you can live comfortably but that is after you get through the labor of love stage which takes about 5 – 10 years. Pay your dues, be excited, be fun, be professional, and be prepared to help sustain and make our industry that much better with your good self.
Shay: Final thoughts?
Chad: YES WE ARE! If you dream it, live it.