Every surfer uses board bags, leg ropes, fins each time they hit the water, making the Surf Accessory of the Year Award quite an important award for all surfers and retailers. This week we continue our winner profiles by having a chat a to Creatures of Leisure Brand Manager Paul Anderson.
Creatures of Leisure have been producing boardbags and surf hardware for sometime now. How do you hit the refresh button and look to re design the products for the everyday surfer each year?
We are in the fortunate position of having solid relationships with some of the best independent retailers in the country. They provide us with pure and honest feedback from their experiences with our product and the market in general. It’s crucial for us to listen to their needs. They’re our eyes and ears and our direct line of contact to the market, they know the end user and understand their needs better than anyone, certainly better than we do. Once we take their feedback onboard, put our flavour on it and plan the work, the rest is just process.
The voting is quite simple for the product awards. Simply it is retailers vote for the product awards. So winning the Surf Accessory award in a very competitive category, how much confidence does that give your team knowing that you’re moving in the right track with retailers and consumers?
Knowing that we are moving in the right direction with retailers and consumers gives us amazing confidence! The Surf Accessory category is super competitive, it’s incredibly hard to stand-out and have an impact. The award finalists are all well-known brands that produce some great products, even being in their company we felt like it was an achievement. 18-months ago we were in a bit of a flat spot, so in such a short time to take home a win we were beyond stoked.
To the untrained eye the Triple Short board cover could be just another board cover, but reading the features and technology in it is impressive. Can you give us a little more detail in the technology like the Diamond Tech Fabric and hydrophobic coating?
Yeah mate, the 2017 Season Creatures Boardcovers are stacked with features, particularly the Shortboard Triple. The real hero of the cover is the Diamond-tech fabric. Without giving too much away, we decided that the stock fabrics available at the factories was not up to scratch – strength and weight wise. We went out and sourced the Diamond-tech fabric from a reputable global fabric supplier that is big in the outdoor and protective clothing markets. We found a base rip-stop pattern that we thought was aesthetically pleasing and then customised the weaving process to increase the tear strength and applied a DWR coating at the fabric production stage. Due to the fabric’s strength, we could reduce the weight while still maintaining strength. We also went over every inch of the covers and upgraded every component and feature.
You’ve got a massive team of former world champions all the way through to young guns around the world. How involved are they in the design and testing of Creatures products like the Short Board Covers. After all they are travelling surfing and using their hardware in the most demanding conditions possible.
Our team is amazing! They are so engaged and really love the Creatures of Leisure brand. We get really solid Boardcover feedback from the team – no one does as many miles on the road as a travelling pro – they hammer them! They are paid athletes but at the end of the day, they are surfers, they froth out on good product just like the rest of us and they know what works and what doesn’t. Feedback from them is invaluable and they’re a really important part of the process.
Creatures were runner up in numerous other awards including Breakout Brand and Customer and Sales Service Awards. How do you take that onboard and look into the next phase?
This was another award that we were just stoked to be a finalist for, to get the runner up award for Break out Brand was a big deal for us. We were in good company with the other brands nominated – To be a part of that, going up against some of the big apparel brands was surreal. We’re a relatively small, privately owned and independent surf hardware brand from the South West of WA. We do not have seemingly infinite resources and product development and marketing budgets. For us to have a stand-out season and hit the refresh button in such a short amount of time was an absolute grind. The sales guys and the customer service team really stepped up and focused on what they do best – support our retail partners. We have a small but hard-working team and we went after it, we’re all incredibly proud of our efforts. I feel like we are just getting started, the future looks bright and we have a lot blue sky ahead of us.