The company is currently going through a merger, where Filtrate Australia will join the U.S. company, to form Filtrate Global. We wanted to be hands on and have more control of the business, so it made sense to go in this direction. Andre Sickinger (our original distributor) did a great job setting up the team here, and continues to support Filtrate from his current base in Australia.
Yes, all of our products are consistent around the world.
We launched our snow goggle program this year, and it was a great success. We are currently working on a new oversized goggle for next winter, which we are pretty excited about. We have some other things in the pipeline, but essentially we want to keep to what we do best. We are an eyewear company fundamentally, and that is where our strengths lie.
That’s the general consensus. After watching the market shrink over the last few years and the retailers consolidate the eyewear category, we knew it was our time. The high-end and low-end market for eyewear is pretty crowded. The mid-tier is where we fit in and where we see our opportunity.
Consumers are seeking products that offer a stronger value proposition, and consumer demand has grown. We have put a lot of focus into marketing products that are “on trend” with today’s youth, and that are accessible. Retailers see Filtrate as a high turning product that takes up little space in the stores. I think you have to offer something different and add value, for the product to succeed. We put a lot of effort into our marketing. Trends are changing constantly and it’s important to remain relevant to our core market, particularly through both electronic and print media.
Our strategy is to build our distribution through the core independent retail channels. We are advertising in Transworld, Bliss, ESM, and Freesurf. Our plan is to focus on building the brand in strategic areas of North America through distribution, grassroots marketing, events and team riders.
We knew we had the right product, and we were confident that our model would work in the U.S. It was important to get the right team to open the doors for us. We’re fortunate to have the same team on board since we launched here in the U.S. Sean Fleuriau and Braly Joy are a big part of our success. Sean came from Vans with a background in eyewear working for Spy, Arnette and Anon. Braly is a former professional athlete and X games competitor who worked in the marketing department at Spy. They are now also shareholders in the company.
I have been surfing, skating and running into brick walls on a motorbike since I was very young. To work in the industry is something that was always going to happen for me. I have spent time working with Smith Optics, Reef and Rip Curl but wanted to have more control of what was going on, and the decisions that were being made, so creating my own brand of eyewear seemed a natural step for me. When I first came to the U.S. I was broke backpacking through California, the next thing I knew I was working for Bad Religion as a roadie on the Warped Tour. I traveled the whole of America and Europe with the band. This gave me great insight into the world of action sports.