Parents, if you struggle to find high -performing, great gear for your kids that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you’re not alone. It’s tough navigating through the outdoor industry to find a balance between what you can afford and what is actually going to perform. Shred Dog is here to change all that and I can’t wait to see the final product. I have spoken to co-owners Marc and Dallas on the phone again and again and always come away incredibly impressed.
The Shred Dog gear is now available for pre-sale with products shipping on November 20th. It’s the perfect time to buy as everything is 40% off. Our testing gear is on its way, so watch for our Instagram posts to see what we think of it!
I had an opportunity to interview the Shred Dog guys (answers below) and I think their responses are definitely worth reading. In particular, check out questions number 1, 5 and 7.
- What need are you trying to fulfill with Shred Dog gear?
From a gear perspective, we are filling what we view as a hole in today’s market: high-performance outdoor apparel for kids that is also affordable. Most other brands leave off important features because they would cost too much and, even so, the best gear is still very expensive considering kids outgrow everything in a year or so. Our goal is to create top-of-the-line performance but at a price point that works for more families. But the gear itself is also a means to a broader purpose. We want to provide gear that helps kids and their families get outside and stay outside regardless of the weather because of what that allows them to do. On one hand, we are in the apparel business but we also view our business as helping families make lifelong memories of camping trips, ski trips, hikes, and all the other outdoor adventures we cherished as kids and are now passing on to our own kids.
- Who is your target audience?
We believe SHRED DOG will most resonate with active, outdoor families that are discerning about the gear they buy and are willing to pay for high performance. SHRED DOG gear will be higher performance than most other options on the market AND more affordable but also not inexpensive. We’ll likely over time have a range of “good, better, and best” style options with varying price points between them but we are starting at the top with premium performance. Finally, while the buyer is obviously the parent, our target audience also certainly includes the kids. We hope the family sees SHRED DOG as a great performance value but we design with kids in mind, we include kids in our design process, and of course we hope the kids will want to wear SHRED DOG because they think the gear is cool!
- What gear will be available this year and when? What sizes will you carry?
Our size range for all products this year is 4 to 14 and we are starting with winter (ski/snowboard gear). The first products for both boys and girls (now available for pre-order and delivery in November) include a waterproof/breathable hardshell, an insulator (“puffy”) jacket that zips into the shell, and a lightly insulated ski/snowboard pant. Following within the next couple months (still this season) will be a neck gaiter and performance winter socks. Starting late-season / early spring, we’ll also be introducing a very cool seamless baselayer 1/4-zip top.
- What pieces do you hope to carry in the future?
We will of course continue to expand our winter line with more colors, potentially toddler to 3T sizes, a mid-layer fleece to fit into our layering system, baselayer bottoms, and additional styles, but we are also already working on evolving into a year-round outdoor brand. We will continue to focus on the outdoors (think hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, etc), but with many pieces that are styled and designed to also be worn to school or the playground). For example, one new product already in development is a fully waterproof rain shell for 2019. In general, we will move into categories where high-performance products carry a high price tag, giving us the opportunity to offer families the combination of elite yet more affordable performance.
- How do you keep your price point so reasonable?
The #1 driver is simply the fact that we do not sell through retailers such as chain stores, local ski shops, online sites like backcountry.com, or even Amazon because those retailers would all take their cut and increase the price you pay. Basically, the way the math works is, if a brand spends $50 to make a jacket, they sell it to the retailer for $100, and then the retailer sells it to us parents for the retail price of $200 (and if you buy it from the brand’s website, the price is still $200 because they are not allowed to undercut their retailers). So by eliminating the retailer “middleman” and their markup, we are able to pass much of those savings on to parents. This also means we can invest more in higher quality materials, more features and still sell for a lower price than an inferior competitive product (for example, if we spent $70 on a better jacket and sell it for $150, you are getting a better performing jacket AND paying less versus that $200 jacket sold through retailers).
- What makes your gear different than other outdoor gear for kids?
In terms of performance, our pricing model enables us to increase quality and add features where most brands can not. For example, higher waterproofness and breathability ratings in our fabrics. Full seam-taping instead of just sealing the “critical” ones. Extra features you don’t often see on kids’ gear such as underarm/thigh zippered vents, and more. We also design specifically with kids in mind and are trying to innovate in a few areas. In particular, the ability to rip a seam on a sleeve or pant leg to get another season out of a garment was a pretty good idea for growing kids… but what do you do when it’s time to hand that garment down? You can’t put the seam back! We created a system we call Adjust-a-Fit™ that lets you shorten or lengthen the sleeves and pant legs for growth, hand-me-downs, or just a custom fit.
- Your product tags say “Co-Designed With You”… what does that mean?
At SHRED DOG, we don’t want to guess at what features, colors, or other design elements families will want and, as importantly, we want our customers to feel like they are part of building this brand. So rather than guess or employ small focus groups like other brands, we open up our design process to include any parents (and their kids) that want to participate. We use an anonymous online tool where we present design options for people to vote and comment on. It starts at a high level (e.g. should we make backpacks or rain shells next?), then includes feature/price options (e.g. would you want a removable hood even if it costs a little more?), and finally, includes color and pattern selection (this is the part the kids like joining the parents to do!). So, our winter line arriving this fall as well as all future products will be “co-designed” with families that want to have a voice and a part in the gear we design and make for their family.
- Anything else you’d like to tell us?
The one other thing to mention right now is that we want to do more than just help individual families get their kids outdoors. This is our first year but we decided that from day one, we would invest in this broader mission. We have created a program we call More Kids Outside™ that will grow over time in a number of ways but, to start, we will be donating 1% of all sales to non-profit organizations that share our passion for getting more kids outside. So every SHRED DOG purchase made this year and forever will help get more kids off the couch and into the outdoors – hopefully making memories that will last a lifetime!
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