Molded, Reverse Engineered, Handshaped by One Only...WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU?

Bruce Fowler

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
1,436
2,508
California
Firewire wants to reverse engineer. Those kids boards.
Firewire is using the same tech we developed w/sailboards.
The materials they use are widely available for cheap in Asia.
The EPS that makes for their cores are dirt cheap when bought in large quantity.
Nobody knows what quality of EPS they are using because nobody ever sees it.
The machined blanks and vac bagging eliminates a lot of hand labor.
I have expressed to the cnc guys that an inflatable drum or similar to a soft pad, could be a auto change out
during the CNC cutting process to all but eliminate the need for hand scrubbing aka finish shaping.
Perhaps a little hand work @ nose & tailback, but no need to remove ridges from cnc cuts.

My guess for the actual per unit cost of a Firewire is somewhere between $29 to $37.
I'm probably pretty close to the truth, it might even be lower.
The rest of what they charge per unit considered as cost goes into marketing & of course cost of their building, which they
probably bought and own.

Their ability to land boards all said and done for less than $150 stateside equates to an efficient operation with a healthy bottom line
realizing a good profit while flooding the market throughout CA and elsewhere.

I'm not saying his is right or wrong, I'm just calling a spade a spade.

They painted a story that they wanted to use the very best materials & be sustainable and eco friendly
and in doing so could not economically build inside the USA and have it be worth their while.

All businesses are in business to make money and this is their reality.

If you like their product buy it, if you don't like it, or anything I've said here & feel there is a degree of truth
in what I say that you find objectionable, then don't.

The same can be applied to me or anyone else making surfboards.

Politics aside:

The buck stops with you.
 
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SMUKES

Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2009
3,288
1,488
USA California
I've heard $150 is about it. I wonder how they're doing tho, especially now with supply chain issues. I know the tour and ancillary culture is a flop.
 

Bruce Fowler

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
1,436
2,508
California
Hard to say....... yes $150 told to me by shop owners I know.
Lots of consignment, and special cheaper discounts to the employees that will ride & swear by them.
I looked up a dealer list last year and from SF to the border there were something like 89 shops on the list.

I mean everybody and their brother is a dealer......... not real special if you ask me.

You are correct about supply chain, or perhaps more problematic getting them to market. The containers went from $2k to $10k inside one month. That's NOT bullish-t as I shelled out a helluva lot more $ for the limited edition of soft tops Beatty sent me than had been planned....... and the increases continue with a guesstimate that things
won't stabilize until next year.

Add to this the hikes that the State of CA keeps adding wherever they can, the state is a like a thirsty coke whore that can never get enough. No wonder businesses (Oracle, Tesla, Charles Schwab, Starbucks, etc.) are leaving to relocate in Austin & other parts of Texas. The work force making less than $100K can't afford what little housing there is. A 3-4 million shortfall of housing has driven rental prices through the roof.

The people that bought my duplex all cash for $1.6 decided NOT to move in because they could get $4500 for the 3/2.5 side & $3500 for the 2/1.5 side. Grant it, I buffed the place inside & out to be a turn key property but that just shows you how insane things have become. The people moving in PAID ONE YEAR RENT IN ADVANCE TO SECURE IT.

California is on fire in more than one way...
 
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Ricksurfin

Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2019
2,153
3,990
San Clemente, CA
Maybe $150 landed for Firewire, but the shop cost is much, much more then that when a board sells. The shops aren’t killing it on the cost vs sales price with Firewire boards, but the business model that Firewire has by putting their boards in shops at no cost to the shop is awesome for the shop. That said, depending on the square footage of the shop, the space taken up with boards is much better used selling soft goods with their profit margin. So, definitely a juggle deciding how much space to take up with boards. Boards do bring people in the shop though, and your hope is that with a board sale, the customer walks out with a wetsuit, t shirts, leash, traction, or some other products that make the shop money.
 

Bruce Fowler

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
1,436
2,508
California
Maybe $150 landed for Firewire, but the shop cost is much, much more then that when a board sells. The shops aren’t killing it on the cost vs sales price with Firewire boards, but the business model that Firewire has by putting their boards in shops at no cost to the shop is awesome for the shop. That said, depending on the square footage of the shop, the space taken up with boards is much better used selling soft goods with their profit margin. So, definitely a juggle deciding how much space to take up with boards. Boards do bring people in the shop though, and your hope is that with a board sale, the customer walks out with a wetsuit, t shirts, leash, traction, or some other products that make the shop money.
Completely true.
This was always the case when I was @ Surf 'n Wear in Santa Barbara. The back room had the surfboards but it was full of O'neill wetsuits which back then was a 40% markup. It made for the needed profit during winter along with the clothing and other goods. Unbelievably, when the footwear market started to evolve, we went from Holo Holo Reed Matt Sandals & Flojos thongs to what is now known as Deckers.

We had a friend around the corner from the SB shop, Bob Bennett making crepe rubber sandals and he called them Sandals Originals. They were before Beachcomber Bill & Driftwood Dan (who would become Deckers). We were selling them so fast he couldn't stock us and he didn't want to expand. We were also selling some leather top and strap sandals called "Styled Steer". So we took a pair of Sandals Originals to them and said "make these".

They use the same dies that cut the outline of the SS sandals, but it didn't work because the all crepe rubber we wanted would sink from your weight making the straps too tight. Long story short, we worked with them to get it right and then they came out with "Driftwood Dan Sandals". They were based in Goleta. "Beachcomber Bill" sprang up shortly thereafter and were based in San Luis Obispo. Other brands started to emerge, like Rainbow Sandals who became pretty big.

We sold soooo many of the sandals it PAID FOR OUR ENTIRE MONTHLY RENT just from sandals alone!
We were paying these guys up front, Doug Otto and his partners or whatnot. Our sales basically grew the company allowing them to move to a big industrial building, still in Goleta. The 1st models just had one skinny strip of color between the black upper & lower layers. Then we asked for, and they gave us 2 color layers then triple colors. One of our employees started saying "oh, you want the Double Deckers in Orange & Yellow or the Triple Deckers in Red, Yellow & Orange" and so on....... they even made platform ones with a bunch of rainbow color layers.....

But that is how Styled Steer became Driftwood Dan then morphed in Deckers. The company exploded and took over other companies like Sanuck, Teva, and Uggs. Now there is a country block of buildings in Goleta that is their Global Headquarters. One of our long term tenants was a higher up in the company and my wife was buffed out with super deals on every Ugg Boot & shoe imaginable for super cheap prices. Then one day, Otto & I suppose partners, canned all the upper management that had been there for years and put younger newbies in their positions for less money.

True story.
 

Bruce Fowler

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
1,436
2,508
California
Vans and skateboards saved the surfshop in the 80's.
Yes that's also true. Our boardshop with the wetsuits got a big counter housing all the skateboard stuff & we had a drill press & other tools for building boards to the customer's preference. It didn't take long for the parents to start dropping off their kids using us as babysitters while they went out to lunch knowing their kids weren't going anywhere. Vans became HUGE!
 

Sax-son

Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2019
1,081
1,216
Three Rivers, CA
THAT'S A CLASSIC STORY along with the other comments. Yup I rode bareback a lot and could stand on our horses as a pre teen. My brother & I would joust, but I usually lost becuz I'd be on Annabelle, my burro and he would tower over me on "Pandora" our Strawberry Roan.

On one occasion I was asked if I was interested in making some money riding in the Fiesta Rodeo in Santa Barbara. They said, "you'll have a saddle and be racing other kids your age on an Ostrich."

I asked them how fast do they go, and they told me about thirty.

I declined....... sounded like a bad accident just waiting to happen.
Yeah, I almost completely forgot about that until Surfnfish told his story. All that coastal ranch area north and south of Santa Cruz was like a different time and place.

You have to be careful with horses as you can get seriously injured. I had an incident with my mother's horse where I made the mistake of saddling him up and mounting him in his stall. He raised up up his hind legs and pushed my head up against the stall rafters. It really rang my bell. I was a dodo for even thinking to do that. You live and learn.
 

Artz

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2018
1,324
1,175
Florida
Firewire is pretty much run like an automobile company. Give the dealer an i victory. with terms 90 days with zero interest. then low interest beyond that. Board models that are not selling well they may offer a bonus. Meet a sales quota and another bonus. There is a lot of money that is behind the curtain in auto sales. Money to dear ships for advertising. Money to spruce up the show room. The auto companies want there dealers to present a company image. All car companies have architects and designers working for them.
pretty much the same for Furniture stores, Appliances. And other consumer goods. They sell goods but the real money is in the financing of those cars, washer dryers and that bedroom set.
I am seeing new financing on ads for Sporting goods that offer the consumer terms. “Afterpay“ is one company that I have seen. There are others as well.
you can bet that Firewire is looking into the consumer finance on Surfboards. Something like 20% down and monthly payments.
 

Bruce Fowler

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
1,436
2,508
California
Artz,
That is a very astute observation!
For the last couple years or so I've seen guys in Ca offering a payment plan for their surfboards.
Mainly guys out of or around Huntington Beach area.
That would be an accounting nightmare for a lone wolf operation like me.
Other than subcontracting glassing to Haakenson, I'm a one man operation.

The same held true when I was approached then ended up doing the equivalent to a business start up
for the Stoker V Machine.
No one helped me....... that grew from me building 100% of the boards in my garage.
It was such the burn out until I could make the leap to send glassing out.

My education was in Business, Engineering & Physics.
That leaves me ill prepared to deal within the numbskull world of dealing with what makes surfers tick.
My only saving grace on that is being a surfer myself since that fated right slide @ the Sand Bar in 1959.

Now I think being a "surfer" means something entirely different than then.

I don't even know what 'that' means now, to be quite honest.
 




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