Wednesday, September 4, 2013


First of all, it needs to be said that Cordless was not the first company to sell Crash Pads. That honor goes to the now defunct Kinnaloa back in the early 90's. But what Cordless can take credit for is developing a long-term plan to make bouldering gear viable for everybody involved; the manufacturer, the retailer and the climber.

See, in the mid-90's, no retailer would touch Crash Pads. So I figured the best option was to sell directly to the small but fanatic bouldering community. And at the time, that meant one place: Hueco Tanks. Specifically, Pete's parking lot (R.I.P. Pedro).

Hueco was the one place in the USA where boulderers from all over the country would visit, spent a few months and then go back to their local areas. So the idea was to introduce Cordless like a virus: infect a few and let them spread it. The guys who bought Cordless Pads brought them home, showed their friends, then those guys called up to get their own Pad.

Sounds simple, right? Not really, since Crash Pads were a fairly new idea, the price had to be low enough to entice people. So the first Cordless Pads went for $125 or $99 for the small size, but to make a decent margin, they should have been twice as much (at the time, the Kinnaloa Pads retailed for $210).

So what's with that plan I was talking about? We had a 5-year plan to develop Cordless and it's products that went like this: every year, we would raise the retail price about $10 or $15 as the popularity of Crash Pads increased. That means a retailer would also be making more money and our production would become more efficient.

By about 2001, we had gotten there. Cordless and the other major Pad manufacturer at the time, Metolius, had brought bouldering gear from about zero to a multi-million dollar branch of the climbing industry in less than 5 years.

At that time, Cordless accounted for about 90% of those sales. The entire intent was to continue improving the products, which in turn add more viability and enjoyment to bouldering itself by providing a high quality, safe landing area. But then, certain douche-bags who had never supported the bouldering community saw the potential to benefit from it.

And how did they do that? By repeating their specialty; copying a popular product, making a sub-par knock-off and undercutting the originator by a few dollars. In this case, it wasn't just one item, but our entire line.

But hey, that's life.

No comments:

Post a Comment