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Ketchum, ID- First Lite, a brand synonymous with premium gear, design innovation, and active conservation announced its shift towards a direct-to-consumer sales model. Beginning with the 2018 season, First Lite products will be available exclusively at firstlite.com and select third party marketplaces including Amazon.com and others.
"After careful consideration, thorough analysis and a great deal of discussion we've decided to restructure our distribution model to position the company to best serve our customers and distribute our premium product where and how they--the end customer--want," said Kenton Carruth, First Lite Co-CEO. "This move will allow First Lite to continue to innovate new technologies and support our conservation efforts while also directly serving the customer exactly how they want to be served. Ultimately, we are letting our customers dictate the direction of the brand instead of the other way around."
"We understand that this will impact many long-standing partners and we are committed to taking the appropriate steps to help ease the transition for our current dealers," explains Carruth. "We could not be more thankful and appreciative to the retail partners who have supported and believed in us over the past ten years."
Established in 2007, First Lite has grown a direct relationship with consumers since its inception and has seen its business move organically in that direction more and more every year. As the company completes this transition, First Lite will work directly with effected partners on tailor made business solutions, while continuing to focus on its value equation for consumers; the best gear on the market at the best possible price, unparalleled customer service and an industry leading warranty.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About First Lite Born in the Rockies, at First Lite our mission is to create simple, proven, versatile gear that provides comfort and performance in any situation, while working to promote the pursuit of ethical hunting and stewardship. For more information visit https://www.firstlite.com.
The company doesn't want to keep being #3 of the big high-end companies, and keeping prices the same wouldn't increase their market.
At least that's my analysis. But my business experience is about as successful as my elk hunting, so what do I know?!
Regardless, I think the days of retailers adding value are over except where they can be small enough, and skilled enough, to form relationships with individual consumers, or supply additional expertise (such as an archery pro shop). Otherwise, they're just Amazon with higher overhead.
Carrying accounts receivable is a huge headache. Having enough working capital year in and year out to invest in R & D, and the next years inventory is also a constant pain. It's a vicious circle. Sitka started this exact way. Remember when they were out of everything by August in their first years? First Lite is a little better, but not a lot. I think their plan is to sell everything at their set retail vs. the discounts given to dealers. This may or may not work well for them-as others have stated. Their sizes throughout their catalog are not consistent. They need to fix this. It hurts to not be able to try these items on before buying. The dealers they are leaving hanging are not going to be much help as their is a sour taste by helping a company build, then get hung out to dry.
I wish them all the luck in the world-they're great guys with great product.