Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is Burton Snowboards Restricted by Ronin?

After launching production in 2002, Burton announced it will discontinue its Ronin brand line after the 2008/09 season. The company will instead be rolling out a new specialty retailer focused collection called Burton Restricted. The new line of jackets and pants, which will be restricted to a similar set of accounts as Ronin, will be targeted “towards 16-25 year old ‘die-hard riders,’” and will launch for the 2009/10 season. Transworld Business caught up with Burton Vice President of Soft Goods John Lacy to get the scoop.

Burton Vice President of Softgoods John Lacy

TWB: Can you give me some history on the decision to morph Ronin into Burton Restricted? Is that an accurate description of this?

John Lacy: We didn’t morph Ronin into Burton Restricted. Burton is built on being progressive and ahead of the curve. We challenge our team riders and designers to think outside the box, and with that comes change. It was just a time for change, and we dissolved the Ronin collection and started fresh with a new concept for Burton. This collection allows us the opportunity to take more risk with Burton and invite more riders, artists and designers to our brand.

TWB: Ronin seemed like it had decent distribution and brand recognition, why go away from that name?

JL: Ronin rode out on a strong note, and we felt it was just time to change the game…

TWB: Instead of a separate logo like Ronin has, Burton Restricted is using Burton branding. Was this decision due in part to capitalize on Burton’s brand equity?

JL: This collection is branded Burton and is included under our Burton umbrella of products. The Burton brand name is strong and synonymous with snowboarding, so we felt we should use the brand name to provide a collection of products just for our specialty snowboard retailers.

TWB: It sounds like Burton Restricted is going to be very team-driven and progressive. I understand creative control is coming from Mason, Keegan, Kazu, Yale, Luke Mitrani, and Jack Mitrani. How will the looks differ from the other Burton lines?

JL: This line consists of progressive styles developed together with some of our most influential riders. These guys are changing the face of snowboarding and they want products that speak to their personalities. The line is made up of cool color blocks, progressive prints, and longer team fits. We spent the time and money to invest in unique trim applications and custom Dryride materials that continue to push for the best functionality, value, and quality riders expect from Burton.

TWB: How will pricepoints compare with your other lines?

JL: This Burton Restricted Collection is a small offering of jackets and pants with very competitive prices. We wanted to be able to offer our riders and retailers something very similar in price to our main Burton line, but with a younger progressive edge. I think customers will be stoked on the value of these products.

TWB: Will Burton Restricted be distributed in the same manner as Ronin and to the same accounts?

JL: This collection will be restricted to a similar set of accounts as Ronin. The Burton sales team will work with each region to analyze the account base for this program. The list of accounts hasn’t been finalized at this time.

TWB: What else will be different outside the name?

JL: This is a tight line of creative design of the products, Team Fit, pop colors and color-blocking and the materials we have used to develop such a collection.

TWB: Why should core, specialty retailers be excited about this change?

JL: The specialty retailers should be stoked as they get great quality products, fresh design, and competitive prices carrying the brand power of Burton. We are dedicated to making this program a success working with our retailers around the world.

TWB: Are you targeting the same demographic as Ronin?

JL: This customer is a dedicated die-hard rider age 16 – 25 looking for the ultimate set-up to showcase their progressive riding style.

TWB: Why’d you go with the name “Restricted”?

JL: Restricted by itself is not really the name – we refer to the line as Burton Restricted. Consider it a collection of Burton product that is “restricted” to select distribution. Just consider it a tier of the Burton Collection. Kids always want what they can’t have!

TWB: What three words best describe Burton Restricted?

JL: Riders Having Fun

TWB: Anything else you’d like to add?

JL: Go seek this product out – I think you will be stoked.

Article by Mike Lewis @ TWB
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