Josh Walker, Brand Manager
What are the three biggest trends you see shaping the market and what are you doing to meet them?
For us it seems like there is still a lot of copy cat action going on in the category, but trends are based on shredders looking for lower volume, better color ways, and more functional head protection. Your helmet needs to adapt to all situations and with Bern, for allseason's™. I think what everyone is also realizing is that head protection is one of THE hot categories and really the only non-saturated category, in snowsports/action sports, with still huge growth potential. This is something our founder Dennis Leedom had a lot of foresight for, having previously built two helmet brands in the snowsports industry. When we started Bern, helmets were still really seen as a dorky accessory. It was really hard and now everyone wants in on the game. We have been approached by so many companies that would not have even talked to us on the hill or at a show four years ago but are all about collaborating on something now, solely based off the category having so much growth in it. While it is flattering, it is unmanageable for our small brand. You get contacted by brands you really respect and love, you want to do anything you can with them. But we have responsibilities to the best accounts in the country and world, to deliver quality product on time, end of story. The fact is, helmets are a difficult thing to nail year in and year out and take a tremendous amount of work. A lot of brands have invested a ton and have either pulled the plug or not succeeded to be a top 5 brand. Dennis' experience has been key in making next level, industry changing product, which is the end is all that really matters. OEM stuff will never work. Big brands add like three OEM model's with copy cat visors and think kids will buy them, kids are not fooled by bad product, they are the barometer.
For the upcoming season, what is your brand doing to differentiate itself?
Bern has always done things differently and set the trends in helmets and head protection. We have exclusive technologies like zipmold™ (liquid foam injection), we are the only brand that makes a full vacuum bag carbon fiber shell (macon helmet shown here) and a true allseason™, patented liner system. Bern's product is the only true all season helmet in action sports: it is the only helmet where top level athletes in skate and snow use the SAME helmet, a lot of brands claim that but bern is the only one that truly has it. We have design patents on our shape, our snap in visors and our liner system. It is no secret to our retailers, the kids who dig our brand and our athletes that we are the most imitated brand in head protection. And at the end of the day our biggest difference is that we truly are the only independent, DIY, athlete driven head protection company. It is not just marketing hype, it is who we are.
What new technologies are you introducing to your line?
We have some things in development, that involve the core things people want, lower volume, better fit and less bobble head effect. All stuff that is happening in lab with our team.
From your perspective, how concerned are consumers with helmet certifications?
I think that is impossible to quantify. What I do know is that consumers are into look, style, fit, function, brand, and safety, that's why they are choosing Bern.
What trends do you anticipate in the realm of graphics, themes, and colors?
Bern is focusing on our three way and brim style, color ways. As well as using more tonal and muted, organic colors. Because helmets are the most visual thing you rock it is as varied as outerwear, to each, his own.
What trends have you detected with regards to sale volumes?
It is a good time to be in the helmet business and we really appreciate all our retailers, athletes and shredders that rock our gear. Thank you for supporting what this indie brand from Massachusetts is doing, we are only here because of you guys!