Industry Profile: Sales Rep Chris Wilmoth
01 Jun, 2010
Job Title: Outside Sales Rep
Employer: I represent c3worldwide (CAPiTA, COAL, UNION), Ashbury eyewear, Nike snowboarding, and Magical Go-Go.
Years on snow: I always have to go back and add em up. I started riding in 5th grade (88-89ish) so 21 winters or so.
Days on snow: This past season I got 30 something days in. I’d say thats been the average since I started a family a few years back.
Currently Riding: I’ve been riding the CAPiTA 10yr Anniversary BSOD 159 and the CHARLiE Slasher 158, UNION Forces, Nike Kaiju boots and GORE outerwear, Ashbury Warlock Goggles, and of course, COAL beanies, that just goes without saying.
Currently I am: Wishing tahoe resorts, specifically Sugar Bowl were still open. We have a shit ton of snow still and it’s just melting away. Aside from keeping tabs on my accounts during the summer, I will be doing things around the house and spending as much time with my family as possible. Summer is a very important time of year for me.
Standing in front of mount baker for the LBS – photo taken by john chapman.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Chris: Well, first and foremost, I am a husband and father. I have been married to Erica for almost 5 years. My daughter Stella, is named after Erica’s favorite summertime beer, and Charley is named after my favorite snowboard. So you can see where our priorities are focused. Haha. I have lived here in the Sacramento area for about 11 years and don’t see myself leaving any time soon. I love it here. Before i moved here, I had bounced back and forth between Colorado and California pretty much my whole life. I was born in Mammoth Lakes, CA in 1978 and graduated High school in Craig, CO in 1996. There was a bit of an adjustment to get used to here in the Sacramento area but having Tahoe just up the road, the ocean just down the road and great friends and family close by; it wasn’t hard for me to decide that this is where I wanted be. So I got a job, met lots of great people, and then boom, I just made it happen. Life in Northern California.
Me, Stella, Charley. – taken by the government spy cam installed on my laptop.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Chris: Honestly snowboarding made me who i am so I can’t really say it changed my life. I was never really into team sports as a kid and was pretty introverted. I played little league baseball every summer, but it never really captivated me like snowboarding did. My parents bought me my first snowboard before I even tried it. But I knew I would love it, and I did. As a youngster, my parents would let me roam all over Mammoth Mountain on the weekends, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we had this thing at school called Ski P.E. where at noon we got to leave school and then shred Mammoth til 4. My mom worked at the ski area, so I would just hang out and do my homework til she got off work. It was pretty cool to be able to snowboard 5 days a week back then. I would also draw and paint on my snowboards at home, and in art classes I would draw and paint mountains on paper and canvas. So I think it was just in my blood from the beginning. I always knew that it was going to be in my life. Currently I have all the snowboarding magazines and DVD stacks all over the house. That’s a good thing right? Sounds cheesy maybe, but I don’t think about a damn thing when I am riding. For those few hours in a day when I am on snow, I forget about the broken rain gutters at the house and the unpaid bills. I think about how lucky I am that at 8:30 in the morning I can be on top of a mountain breathing in some fresh air, or in the woods watching the snow fall. I also learned real real quick that there is NOTHING like the feeling of slashing powder. Nothing at all. I am married to a great lady and we hump (for lack of a better pow day comparison) pretty regularly, but let’s face it, powder days are random and have a certain magnetism to them. So I gotta act accordingly. Its not that rare for me put things on hold for a bit so I can go ride, especially during or after a good storm. Again, there are certain priorities here, and she understands.
Squaw Valley pow slash a couple years back at about 3pm. – Johan took the picture.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Chris: Wendy woodward at Boards N Motion in Auburn, California took a chance on a random kid off the street. I say that because that’s what I was. Getting a job in a snowboard shop wasn’t or isn’t very easy I guess, unless you know someone, or know someone who knows someone. But I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t give a shit. I wanted to work there and wasn’t going to take no for an answer. After an entire summer of bugging Wendy and her manager Jay, they finally hired me in the fall of 98. During my 7 or so years there, I learned as much as I possibly could and ended up becoming the shop manager and hardgoods buyer. A lot of pro skaters and snowboarders live in the foothills here, and have either worked at that shop at one point or just made it their local hang out. So over the years it was cool to see guys like Shawn Sterken, Stephen Duke, John Cardiel, Scotty Goodale, Chris Roach, Robbie Sell, and Curtis Woodman roll through the door there. I fanned out a lot then, and still do today. A lot of snowboard reps came from that shop as well. So to me, it was more than just a job, it was a huge educational and badass experience all rolled into one. Those were some good times for sure. Around 2005 or so, Curt Fry and Todd Mayte hired me on part time to help them out with C3worldwide a.k.a. CAPiTA snowboards, COAL headwear and a new binding company called UNION. I had assisted them with a handful of clinics, a couple trade shows, I would put P.O.P. up in the shops, and I helped out at some on snow demos, the usual tech rep stuff. During that time, I had picked up some brands on my own and started establishing myself with my own accounts. Shortly after that, I had acquired the primary sales rep slot for c3 worldwide for here in Northern California and I have been with them ever since. Just this past winter, Nike Snowboarding hired me to be their rep as well. So needless to say, this was a crazy busy winter. I loved it though, and am stoked to be where I am right now and wouldn’t be here without the help from Wendy and Jay Gatlin, Big C and Todd, the whole c3 crew (Johan, Gumby, George, Blue, and Brad), Nima and Lance from Ashbury, Scotty Keating from Nike and Roger and Sarah from Magical Go-Go. I especially can’t overlook my accounts either. Getting their positive nods, recommendations, and referrals have for sure opened up some opportunities for me. Thanks everyone.
me, shawn farmer, jason dunn at the Porters-Supersuckers party. – erica took the picture. moments later I was laying an alley bleeding.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Chris: Previous education and work experience pretty much came from the years working in the shop as the snowboard hardgoods buyer. At times it was a difficult job because there was and always will be a lot of good product out there to choose from. So when it came down to being handed a certain budget and then having to choose which hardgoods to spend it on for the shop, I had to get educated. What better way to learn about the products than at the trade shows and on snow demos, right ? A catalog and a rep’s word for it is great, but you need that personal experience to relay to the consumer. I do the same today. Trade shows and on snows. I need to know about the products that I am selling. I learned that while I was a hardgoods buyer and try to apply it to my current job. I don’t want to misguide my accounts into buying stuff that isn’t right for them. Each account has their own customer base and they need to offer the right products to them. That’s where my previous experience can sometimes come into play and hopefully help us both out. Does it work flawlessly every time? Nope. But it for sure helps if I am able relate to an account’s needs.
White bark ridge mammoth 1990ish. this picture is so bad ass. – family friend took the photo.
Shay: Tell us about your role at NCP Sales and a description of the work you do?
Chris: My role? Well, I am the salty captain of course. I am really mean and I rarely smile. Seriously. Snowboarding is a very, very serious thing here Shay. HaHa. But for real, I do like to run a clean tight ship. I may have some OCD tendacies, but everything has to have its place ya know. Catalogs, pens, promo, tools, parts kits, proFORMS, orderforms, samples, demo gear, ice to keep the Session beer cold, all of it. I can’t run smoothly if I don’t have all my shit together. I have checklists that I go through but it never fails, an hour down the road I’ll realize that I forgot something. As far as a description of the work I do… I give clinics to my accounts, schedule appointments and present products at trade shows and in store, set up on snow demos, build window displays, help retailers during their sales, rail jams, movie premieres or other various events, attend sales meetings, snowboard, etc etc, so on and so on. Basically its full throttle from about August thru April then a bit more mellow during the summer. One cool thing though, is that I have a rad crew that helps me out. Aska Odomo is a college student in the bay area and works as an intern for school credits. She killed it at SIA this year. She’s a huge help and has OCD too. Ben Waffles works part time at BNM and helps me out at clinics and demos, and Parker from the tahoeDANGERzone is always there to lend a hand at the trade shows and demos. He’s a great person and an amazing snowboarder. There is also a great group of regional riders that help me during the winter with spreading the word on and off the hill. But don’t get me wrong, its not all ice cream and cake. NCPsails has been a work in progress and each day delivers a different challenge. It’s still a job and there is always work to do. It’s difficult to be everywhere at the same time, but I try my hardest.
Sugar Bowl demo – not sure who took the picture but this was a cold windy day. The day after I charlie slashed the shit out that place.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Chris: That’s TOP SECRET. Actually, it just depends on the day. I guess its pretty standard with most reps, but the average office day consists of emails and phone calls with accounts and in house reps. But when I am on the road, I am usually gone for a few days at a time visiting accounts and just doing what I gotta do. Each day is different. I have found that Best Buy and Target have the CLEANEST bathrooms and they are usually right by the entrance. So a quick deuce drop is super easy. I love being on the road. Period. I like to see how many shops I can visit in one day. Sometimes I don’t come home till hours after dinner, but when I commit to a day on the road, I want to make it count. Plus its always a bonus if I can get some riding in while on the road too. I am a pass holder at Sugar Bowl, so its mandatory to get in those sneaky shred missions during my Tahoe loops. I live right off the Highway 50, I-5, Highway 99, and I-80 junctions so it super easy to do north, south, east or west power loops.
Board shot of me dropping in to the ’58 at sugar bowl – self portrait
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Chris: I never thought that I would ever say this, but there are far too many to list or even remember. But here are some of my favorites. The Mt Baker Banked Slalom this year is for sure at the top of the list. That was so much fun. Seeing Waffles ride down Scotty’s run for the first time during the Mammoth demo a couple years ago made me smile. Being kicked out of every titty bar in Sacramento during the Extended Ride clinic with Berger a few years back was foggy, but I don’t think I will ever forget that night. HOW in the hell did I manage to kick over a table covered in cocktails and beer, breaking bottles, glasses, and a chair, but still get the stripper to buy us all a round of fresh Greyhounds? I have no idea, that was for sure in a different life. Another one would be at Team Challenge at Heavenly a couple years back and doing the Chinese Downhill with Blue, Dale Rehberg and a couple hundred of other snowboarders. That was awesome. Visiting the Nike Campus and puking up Gatorade in the Ken Griffey Jr building was pretty memorable. Anything c3 related is always a blast, HANDS DOWN. The International sales meetings, design meetings, shred time at Steven’s Pass, meeting tons of new people, the whole bit. C3 treats us all really well. But one of my favorite times was in 2000. My buddy Sason and I both worked at BNM then, and we got the invite to attend the K2 Festival. We had so much fun. There was great food, tons of beer, and April powder, it was awesome. Mt Baker knows how to host a party. At one time in the middle of the night I was standing in ankle deep slush in my socks, shirtless, and puking my guts out because I thought it would be a good idea to drink lots of Red Hook, Jager, and then smoke a giant joint. Bad idea. But I look back on it now and chuckle. I am not a good stoner.
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Chris: Wow. Biggest challenges? hmmm. This is a tough one. But for sure I would have to say that keeping things fresh and interesting without making em too complicated or confusing is a huge challenge. An artist, musician, movie producer or in this case a snowboard hardgood, clothing or accessory brand wants to keep moving forward and be successful right? But sometimes your favorite band’s new album didn’t have that sound you were familiar with, or your favorite director’s new movie had way too many characters, or your favorite board series took an aesthetic turn that you weren’t farmiliar with. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes a boot, binding, board or clothing collection totally hits the target and success rings out like a air raid horn. And then there are times when the collection is waaaaaaay off and doesn’t sell as well as expected. I always scratch my head when I wander through the booths at SIA and see what designers came up with for their presentations. Most often I like what I see. But other times I think to myself, ‘whoa, am i losing touch with the trends? Does this collection have too many theories or models or not enough…. what the hell?’ So I’d have to say that producing something new and unique, but still sellable, is a huge challenge.
70 Some Faces by Tj Schneider
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Chris: Experience. I learn something new everyday from experience. I’ve been knocked down and I’ve been picked up. I’ve made bad decisions, and made great ones. It’s all a learning experience.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Chris: Get some credit cards and marry a chick with an established career. Haha. No, but really, I get asked all the time actually. Each person in the industry has a different story and all got to where they are one way or another. You gotta start at the bottom and then work your way up like everything else. Working for your local shop is a great start though. That’s where you meet reps, sales managers, brand owners etc. If you can establish good working relationships with people, you may find that things just sort of fall into place. You can’t talk shit all the time and hate on everyone and everything either. But most importantly, you need to be prepared for the average rep day that consists of traffic jams, being late, getting lost, missing a flight, or having a flight canceled, not sleeping, and if you do, then it’s more than likely in seedy motels, on dirty floors or sketchy couches. You also gotta be cool with eating fast food and drinking shitty beer, driving til 3am then waking up at 6am, getting the flu right before or during SIA or a demo, setting up and tearing down a demo in the rain, snow, wind and/or sleet…. The list goes on and so must the show… so if you live for that kind of stuff and it’s no big deal to you, then you’re all good, because with all that being the ingredients of a repping job, there are the times where you’ll get to sit down to a nice Steak and a bottle of wine, you’ll get to catch the first chair on a random bluebird day, or wake up on a king size bed in a non smoking room with a view, and best of all you’ll get to visit amazing places and meet even more amazing people. Like I said earlier, everyday is a different day in the snowboard industry, and that’s the beauty of it. I love it all!
Find out more at: