zero*I'm not saying there are any 'secrets' about 4Frnt. Your business strategy is pretty out in the open with both brands: Don't pay many (/any?) riders, don't support the industry, keep prices down and keep all the profits.
It's a fine strategy if you're into profit maximization. But people should know, rather than treating a $600 dollar J-Ski like a $600 ski from another brand in terms of what that ski does for all the skiers who work in the industry (other than J who I'm sure is doing great, and his very few staff). By the industry I mean, professional skiers, production companies, ski shops etc etc. Obviously, 4Frnt is the strongest (most profitable) it has ever been. But if you fancy it, how about publishing some numbers on how much money goes to riders salaries/travel budgets, producing ski content generally, heck probably even R&D at 4Frnt now vs pre-takeover (let's say early-mid 2010s), I'm sure everyone would love to see those.
Jason is overly transparent with his business strategies because a) he's tried everything over the years and this is what works and b) they're the only way for a small brand to survive in skiing, so he wants his thoughts and philosophies out there for other brands to understand, utilize and thrive. The way we see it the more small, indie brands doing rogue shit the more opportunity we have as a group to gain market share (ex. craft beer vs. AB InBev). You have super strong opinions on this which is awesome but unfortunately you're missing a lot of realities about the ski industry and business in general that are leading to tons of misinformation in your arguments.
As an example for a brand running via traditional methods (paying sales reps, distributors and shops) to break even they need to sell 25,000 pairs of skis per year. For a brand running direct to consumer they need to sell about 3,500 pairs of skis per year. It's foolish to conduct business like we're the size of Line or Armada, so you have to do things differently in order to get by and continue contributing to skiing as a whole.
If we were interested in maximizing profits we wouldn't be a ski company, straight up, and if anyone outside of skiing actually saw our numbers at the end of the year they'd question our sanity. Jason founded this company on the idea of continuing the revolution he started with Line but by utilizing modern tools and techniques (i.e. e-commerce). As far as athletes/production companies, we do what we can. We run things lean & mean because you need to be scrappy in this industry. We're not going out and signing the next Tom Wallisch because we can't afford him, and we know that. We're working with underground (and yes, sometimes more high-profile people) who fit our vibe and support them well for what they're expected to provide for us.
Truth is even if you are "turning a profit" in the ski industry you're never getting ahead. Whether there's some money in the bank at the end of the year doesn't change the fact that we then have to shell out $1m+ in production costs, money that we don't have and that Jason needs to convince banks to lend us. Sure, we could raise the price of our skis a hundred bucks a piece but we're not going to do that. We want to help the sport of skiing but giving skiers a better performing, longer lasting product at the same or less cost to them than buying from a major brand.
We're also constantly working to test new processes, materials, shapes and innovative features (give it a few months there's something pretty cool in the works), so rest assured the "R&D" budget is maxed out every season.
Basically dude, you need to have the facts before going on a rant about something you actually don't know all that much about. Hopefully this arms you with some more information for the future and that while yeah, we're not Volkl shelling out tens of thousands of dollars towards SLVSH Cup (which is fucking bad ass, props to them for doing it), we're all here because we love skiing and want to make the sport better for the future, even if that's not in the ways you recognize.
**This post was edited on Aug 22nd 2019 at 1:18:13pm