Laurent started selling snowboards for Burton founder Jake Burton in Northern California in 1988. Laurent's sales territory now includes California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. Twenty three people work for his sales agency, Big Dreams Inc. that is housed in Burton's West Coast headquarters off the 405 Freeway in Irvine.
His team also handles sales for other Burton-owned brands including Analog clothing, Gravis footwear, Special Blend and Forum.
Here are a few tidbits from our conversation.
"It didn't snow anywhere that mattered. It was the worst season in 20 years. Burton is the No. 1 snowboard company in the world, and when things get tough the top companies survive and it allows the better companies to do even better."
"Our company grew, orders were healthy. But if you took the top 10 companies in the U.S., orders were probably slightly down. Was it a gangbuster year? No, people bought conservatively. But that's not a bad thing. Mistakes in the snowboarding business can make or break a store. If I think a store should temper their order, I will tell them. The last thing we want to do is have a store go out of business."
"Will it impact business? Of course. But we'll help our customers. If a store is in a shopping center close to the fire and needs to cancel orders, we'll help. ... Business at Big Bear will probably be effected as well."
"The feeling was, if you are going to compete with the big dogs you have to be here in the Mecca."