Despite launching only a few months ago in August 2012, SHRD.com has not gone unnoticed by the industry, claiming the title of TransWorld Business’ Best New Shop of the Year 2012. We caught up with SHRD.com Co-Founder Jason Lea to get his reaction to the big news.
Tell us a little about your shop's brief history.
Justin and I wanted to create a premium “Snowboarding Focused Shop,” that was creative and progressive. So, we started mapping it out at the end of 2011. By April 2012, we started construction we and launched in August.
Why did you guys decide to open up an online shop during the current economy? Many would say this is pretty ballsy.
I think opening up any snowboard shop is ballsy right now. Snowboarding is getting hammered on these days in regards to weather, the environment, the economy, and participation. We’ve been snowboarding and working in it for such a long time, and it’s what we know best. We believe in snowboarding.
Why online and not brick and mortar?
In the small town of Bend, there are already three other snowboard shops. Competition is tough and population small. A couple of the other shops have been there for a while, and we weren’t trying to push anyone out. Our team has a lot of experience in retail, ecommerce, development, and programming, so we focused on what we knew best.
What brands do you carry, and who are your customers?
Airblaster, Lib Tech, Ashbury, Gnarly, Nike, Dragon, and Electric to name a few. Our customers are snowboarders that are looking for the best product, regardless of price, on a website that gives them a beautifully simple shopping experience. They might not have a local shop, and they want gear delivered to their doorstep fast.
What's the most rewarding thing about working with your brands and customers?
I love that we work with good human beings on a daily basis.
What's your philosophy on the role of core retailers?
The word “core” sums it up; core retailers keep everything together and are the root of the entire industry.
What makes your shop different?
SHRD is the most functional, focused snowboard shop on the web.
Why do you think your brands nominated you for this award?
I think they are really happy that someone has stepped up with a site like SHRD. It’s a new take on a snowboard shop. Brands are happy that they can sell their products online and have them represented in a better way.
What have been the biggest highlights and lowlights of 2012?
Highlights have been our launch, partnership with High Cascade, brand selection, collab with Gnarly, SHRDits, and being awarded the best new shop award from you guys! Lowlights have been delays on exciting new features.
What have been the keys to your success in getting things rolling during these tough times?
Our brand relationships and the vision we see for the future of snowboard retail.
What are your predictions for 2013?
Snowboarding distribution is going to have to get leaner. Brands will push more into selling direct, which is okay if they also focus on supporting the retailers that deserve to sell product online and limit those that don’t. If this doesn’t happen, things will turn into a proper shit show.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks Transworld and everyone who voted!