The ReddyYeti Podcast EP: 25 Deviation Skis & Snowboards - Custom handmade Skis & Snowboards. Co-Founder Matt Hibbert Sharing His Story

Deviation Skis and Snowboards
 

Dreaming of that pair of Skis or Snowboard?

Make your dream a reality with Deviation Ski and Snowboard Works


To find out more behind how Deviation got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Deviation co-founder, Matt Hibbert

More about the episode...
 

Josh sits down with Deviation Skis and Snowboards co-founder Matt Hibbert. Deviation Ski and Snowboard Works is a manufacturer that puts you in control of making your perfect skis or snowboard by make your perfect specs a reality. Deviation skis and snowboards are made custom, by hand, and with the topsheet graphic of your choice. For the not-so-creative types, Deviation partners with local artists to create your perfect ski or snowboard into a moving work of art. Why have a snowboard or pair of skis that’s just like everyone else's when you can have planks or a board that’s made especially for you?  

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Show Notes:
 

  • What is Deviation Ski and Snowboard Works all about?

    • “What we are is a manufacturer first and foremost…from a fundamental standpoint were very different than the current model that people are used to...from our standpoint we build for specific customers…”

  • How do you make sure the ski shops involved relay the right information for you to build skis and snowboards for customers?

    • “We view it almost as training for our own internal sales team. When we bring on a retailer, we’ll have a couple meetings with their employees about how to talk about Deviation...”

  • How did you come up with this idea?

    • “From a retail model standpoint we did a lot of research before starting the company. Essentially what we saw was that with the big big brands out there, their strategy was to just flood the market…we saw the world going more towards an individualist point of view…”

  • What is your background?

    • My background is material science actually...Essentially I was a trained monkey that ran samples and produced data for these aerospace companies...I was always very intrigued by composite structures...the new materials people are using to come up with really great innovation is what really drives a lot of the innovation in the industry…”

 

  • How did you develop your product?

    • “In 2012 when we started the company, we were fortunate enough to have met up with an individual who is now our production manager...he really knew a lot on how to make skis and snowboards from a fundamental standpoint…”

  • What is something unique about Deviation?

    • “One of the things that we like to point out to customers, because it’s not obvious, is our wood cores...It’s not so much, simply that we use “Purple Heart’. What’s really different is how we construct our cores and how that wood is brought out to the sidewall…”

  • How did you come across Purple Heart?

    • “Actually, we used a different wood called black locust originally. That wood came to us through a couple different iterations, really we were concerned about finding wood that wouldn’t rot in water…”

  • What is Deviations commitment to Sustainability?

    • “We try to source as locally as possible as we can. The Purple Heart and the top sheet material are the only things that don’t come from the US...we’ve begun to experiment with other materials, for top sheet materials, to continue to try to use more and more local material…”

  • Have you had any mentors that helped you along the way?

    • “We do have an advisory board and we have some folks on there for the retail side of things. We have a great advisor on there who was employee number 11 at Nike. She really helped us hone in on the personalization aspect of our business plan…”

  • What kind of culture exists within Deviation?

    • “As I’m looking at the ice storm we had in Portland here, it becomes pretty hectic at times. Some of our employees are based on the east coast still...some of our employees are based out of Washington state and it’s a two hour trek to come in...We’re more of a family…”

 

  • What do you do outside of Deviation?

    • “I’m a sales manager outside of Deviation...it’s convenient that I can work on our website, CAD, or a lot of the things I’m responsible for from anyway…”

  • Do you see yourself in the near future to going full time with Deviation?

    • “That’s certainly the goal. I happen to live in a somewhat serial entrepreneurial family…”

  • What is the dynamic of partnering with local artists to come up with graphics?

    • “What’s different about our gallery is how we reward our artists. The artists in our gallery are paid commission every time someone selects their art…

  • What has been one of your biggest fears and how do you manage it?

    • “Running out of money...we are self funded, we have a group of investors but it’s pretty much friends and family…”

  • What advice would you give to someone that wanted to start a business in the outdoor world?

    • “First and foremost, be mindful of who you start that business with...We’re a team of four or five now. We started with a team of eight and, we do three times as much now as we did with eight...there’s a huge different depending on who you’re working with…”

  • Where do you see Deviation going into the future?

    • “In the next year we really hope to get to a critical mass of retailers...Five years out, it’s more about international growth passed there…”

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