Okay, so the phrase "the Netflix of . . . " may be a tad overused at this point, but perhaps there is no better indication of how the subscription service model has taken off than the fact we could have put any number of platform names in that headline—Spotify, Dollar Shave Club, Birchbox, Frank+Oak—that cover your needs from coffee to fashion to face cream. Now, a small, independent American snowboard brand is bringing the monthly subscription model to the mountains.
Founded in 2004, Signal Snowboards manufactures all its boards in its own Huntington Beach, California, factory. In September, it launched a new platform that allows people to buy a new snowboard up front, or subscribe for $35 to $55 per month for 12 months. All subscriptions include Signal Care Warranty to replace or repair damaged boards, the ability to demo two additional boards at no extra cost during the season, and access to direct factory support. Signal founder, legendary former snowboard pro Dave Lee, says the move had as much to do with sheer survival as it did with innovation.
Over the last decade, Signal has clawed and scraped for every inch of shelf space it could get in brick-and-mortar retail. "I think there's basically a ceiling for a small brand—the bigger brands own a certain percentage of the retail market, and it's just really hard to get around that," says Lee. "We've been around since 2004, have had our ups and downs, and the most consistent challenge I saw was trying to get retailers to understand we could be a competitor, too. But it just doesn't happen, and they just didn't see it."
Read the rest here - Fast Company