With a new website online and the 05/06 season quickly approaching I decided it would be nice to check in with the Mighty-D's Felix Rioux to chat about the new web-presence, White Shine - the D-Structure team film, and plans for the upcoming season.
D-Structure seems to be one of the few companies in the ski-industry to really push their online presence on a constant basis. How important is the online aspect to the business?
D-Structure relies on 2 very small niche markets: freesking and rollerblading. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sell anything else besides that, so no other revenues to support our expenses. On-line sales is the only way for us to reach a broader pool of customers and stay focused as a core company. Since our marketing budgets are also limited, our web site allows us to showcase and promote what D-Structure is all about; a core shop, owned and operated by riders, dedicated to freeskiing. To anyone whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been in both shops, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll also know the web site is not the only place where we put a lot of effort; our store locations are also very important and need to look good. The Montreal shop is currently going through some interesting transformation and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be releasing more info about that soon...
The previous version of the D-Structure didn't seem broken, what did you set out to change with the redesign and how has it turned out?
The old site seemed OK to most people but it was getting old and had many flaws. We wanted to better integrate all aspects of the site and the International division. The new site also has a shopping cart in Canada as well as the US. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re still building up the site so not everything is there yet. The design/layout is also more up to date with our marketing strategies. Paul (NS coder) recoded the whole site, Steve Laroche re-designed everything and I took care of the content and photos. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been 2 months of work and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re still adjusting aq few things here and there. I still have a lot of product to put on-line, so be patient ;)
Your site has had a very strong community aspect to it for quite a while, you seem to have the Quebec scene on lock down. Will this redesign see any new features for your members or was this mostly an overhaul of the store aspects of the site?
Since weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re based out of Quebec we were able to build a strong local community and I think thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an essential base for any good ski shop. The redesign was mainly to have a navigation thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more fluid, an on-line e-commerce shopping cart and then once all that is up and running, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll start adding new features. We have the events page wich is set-up like a calendar and is there to promote any event going on around the world. If you have any info of up-coming events, feel free to send us the complete information and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll post it. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also the review feature in the store where any member can post comments.
As you mentioned you're still adding inventory and content to the site. Any idea when we can expect everything to be online and available for sale for the new season?
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll everything thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s currently on-line is for sale, including the Ã¢â‚¬Å“coming soonÃ¢â‚¬? items. Most of it should be up by september, when most products arrive on the market.
You guys have also been busy this year collaborating with Plehouse Films on Whiteshine, the D-team film. Now that the movie is finished, did it meet your expectations? How was the experience of creating this type of film with all of your riders?
It was really important to us that White Shine transcends how close the D-Team is and how much they support D-Structure. I saw most of the movie last week and Plehouse has outdone themsleves. The movie is fresh, I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait till it comes out and see peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reaction to it. Plehouse has a totally different style than what we are used to, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re fine tuning their own way of making ski movies and D-Structure is really stoked to be associated with them. It was difficult at first to get all the riders to dedicate a lot of time on this, some of them have sponsors who put a lot of pressure on them to shoot with MSP or PBP because theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve invested a lot in those movies. In the end it turned out great with almost the complete team investing themlselves in White Shine. JP Auclair was done by January and pre-edited his own segment, 95% of it is filmed in Quebec City and has a lot of jibbing. Pep was supposed to shoot with Plehouse after the Masters but got injured, he still managed to do something cool for the bonus section. If thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a rider whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gonna stand out, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s JF Houle. He was injured for the first part of the season and dedicated 100% afterwards to shoot with the crew... YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll just have to see it to know all the rest ;)
We made a brief mention of the renovations going on at the Montreal shop, for those who haven't had a chance to visit the shop lately, what's going on?
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll, since we opened in 2000 our shop was on a second level floor and below us was a skateboard/snowboard shop. They finally closed and moved somewhere else. It was a perfect opportunity for us to expand our retail space. Starting September, (if renovations arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t delayed) we should have all clothing and accessories on the first floor and all the hardgoods (skis, boots & skates) on the second. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have couches and TV for anyone who wants to hang out....
Any new additions to the Team or the rest of the D-Structure family?
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll our most recent member is Ashley Battersby who joined this summer. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been looking to have another girl to represent and Ashley was perfect to be part of the D family. SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big fan of who we are and what weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re trying to do, it was an obvious decision to have her on board.
The problem is that we have a lot of riders who want to represent D-Structure and we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t supply everyone with D-Gear. The other thing is that to join the team you must first build a good relationship with us. Who ever joins the team itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because most of the team has requested you and so on...
What lies ahead for D-Structure this coming winter season? Can we expect to see some more Ski Jams?
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a few projects in the work but canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk about it right now, still too soon in the process. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re having at least 2 Ski Jams this year, maybe 3. Val St-Come and New Hampshire for sure... Obviously White Shine is coming out and the tour will follow.
I would like to thank Newschoolers.com for all your support and making the hottest on-line community possible, big props and much respect to all the D-Structure supporters and last but not least; The D-Team for all their effort and encouragement.Peace,Felix.
Aw, thanks Felix. D-Structure International has an opening for an intern or two, check it out below. And don't forget to visit D-Structure in person or online at http://www.d-structure.com
DSI Internship:We are looking for one or two interns who already live in Burlington, Vermont. Some administrative skills are required as well as a good knowledge of the ski industry and freeskiing products.Send complete resume and why you would like to work with D-Structure to: firstname.lastname@example.orgNow that you know what Felix looks like you can pester him for free stuff next time you see him.