And so people kind of went crazy
kind of went crazy The momentum thing really hit home when we released our pricing model. We went from 200 subscribers to 2,000 in a matter of days. Consumer Direct Pricing was like the final piece of the KUIU puzzle. It was like, okay, the line looks great, my background gives me the credibility, the fabrics sound amazing, production sounds amazing, and now you’re telling me that I can afford it. And so people kind of went crazy.
I mean, you look at this market, the history of this market, and basically the hunting industry was built around specialty pro shops. Specialty pro shops have always been the bridge between manufacturer and customer. The owner/buyer of the pro shop would go to the buying shows, do the research, have the reps come in and present product to them, and then they (the buyers) would make the decision as to what their customers needed and wanted.
Then Cabela’s and a number of other big box retailers came along with their massive selection of product and put all the specialty pro shops out of business. And there went salesmanship, education, knowledge and firsthand experience, all of it, right out the window. This forced customers to do their own research and education. Customers still had to pay 40-50% more than what it should cost because that’s the standard retail mark-up. But for what? The privilege of walking into a store with too much product, not enough speciality, and no knowledgeable staff. Where’s the sense in that?
Roots and tradition of hunting
I grew up reading about hunting lore and legend (Fred Bear, Saxton Pope, Art Young) and listening to hunting stories told around the campfire. Hunting has always been as much about adventure and experience and survival as anything else. I mean, the kill is the reason for taking a bush plane into Unalakleet, landing on a gravel bar and floating a river for nine days. Without a tag and the hunt you wouldn’t have a reason to be there. But the whole process—the gear selection and packing, the travel, all of the pieces that need to come together, and all of the hard work and effort hiking and setting up camp and dealing with the weather—that’s all a part of the experience.
The roots and tradition of hunting have always been important to me. I want KUIU to continue to contribute to the tradition through storytelling. I want KUIU to be a source of inspiration by living and breathing Mountain Hunting.
The pinnacle of hunting
I also want our customers to know they can absolutely and unconditionally trust KUIU. I want them to know we live and breath Mountain Hunting, that we do our homework and research, that we’re out there hunting in and testing all of our products— in the hardest and most demanding of environments and conditions. In fact, the standard against which we measure and test KUIU is sheep hunting. Sheep hunting is an expedition. Weather and storms are always an issue, temperatures swing wildly, and it’s often wet and cold. The landscape is harsh and unforgiving—steep rock fields, glaciers, roaring river crossings, often requiring bouldering and sidehilling. Sheep hunting requires huge investments in terms of money and time. It requires massive amounts of physical and mental preparation. It’s the pinnacle of Mountain Hunting, and as such, it’s the most demanding on gear. That’s why we exist, to build gear that meets these demands.