Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Liquidlogic Kayaks Selling Direct to Paddlers Beginning October 1st

Fletcher, NC –Liquidlogic is stoked to announce our transition to a direct-to-consumer sales strategy.

Liquidlogic will launch a redesigned website, featuring direct sales, October 1st, including a platform for selling kayaks, accessories, and parts. We may even have the hats, stickers, and t-shirts that you all have been begging us for lately. We’ll also open a retail store at our manufacturing site near Asheville, NC. and the Green River. We want to create a micro-brew style experience where you can walk in, learn about the boats from the people who make them, see kayaks being made, and walk out with a boat fresh from the tap.

Customers from around the U.S. will purchase Liquidlogic kayaks from the website or from our factory retail store. Pricing will be lower than current retail prices and kayaks will be shipped directly to your home, to a shipping terminal, or to designated events. We are in the process of partnering with dealers, instruction programs, clubs, and ambassadors around the states to create Demo Centers in higher traffic areas, near popular rivers, and in larger paddling cities. Liquidlogic will also be on-the-road developing a tour of events where people can try our kayaks. Our customers outside the U.S. will continue to purchase our boats through their local dealers and distributors. We have a lot of ideas that we will roll out as we move forward and we would love to hear any that you have to offer.

For Liquidlogic, selling direct makes sense given our connection to paddling’s core. We’ve always listened to paddlers’ ideas and dreams as we’ve shaped our vision. You may have taken part in some of our Automatic for the People questions and threads. AFTP has brought us great concepts, strengthened our relationships with customers, and has shown us the benefits of direct connections. Going direct will give us even greater flexibility to make the unique boats that AFTP demands. We also know that customer service will be a huge part of what makes direct sales work and that added communication between paddlers and ourselves will only help us maintain our tight connection to the core of the sport. You can’t get more Automatic for the People than creating the kayaks people ask for then marketing, selling, and providing good customer service directly from the brand to you, the paddlers.

The hardest part of this transition is the move away from our strong relationships with dealers, who have been at the forefront of the business from the beginning. We have paddled, done business, and partied with the folks who have sold our boats since we started Liquidlogic 15 years ago. They are friends and partners.

Like I said to somebody on Boatertalk the other day, “Class 5 biz is just as hard as Class 5 Whitewater.” Many pressures make whitewater kayak sales difficult, and drive us to innovate in our business model. Fewer and fewer true whitewater dealers carry more and more different manufacturers’ designs. Retail pricing for whitewater kayaks approaches the upper threshold of affordability for the market, and that pricing pressure pinches dealers and manufacturers to an unsustainable degree. We will not allow those pressures to force hard choices about materials, craftsmanship, boat design and working conditions. Going direct means many changes, but quality will not be one of them.

Direct sales will allow Liquidlogic to continue to maintain the same high standards we have stood out for in the industry, and to remain a responsible manufacturer and employer. We have committed to paying our employees a certified living wage for the skilled, full-time work that they perform. With each decision, we work for a more responsible manufacturing footprint, and work with vendors and partners who believe in those same values. Selling direct will give us margin space to maintain those values and pass along savings to you the paddlers. No one is getting rich in this industry. Fortunately, that isn’t the goal. The goals are to strive continually to make great boats and to create a business model that will first sustain itself, and then grow. Having studied the factors over the last few years, we feel that direct sales will do that.

Thank you

There will be more information to come. Stay tuned on our webpage http://liquidlogickayaks.com, (which will relaunch anew October 1) or on our facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/liquidlogickayaks.

If you would like to become a Demo Center please contact us at info@liquidlogickayaks.com with Demo Center in the subject line.
You are also welcome to contact me personally at shane@liquidlogickayaks.com.

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