HighGear USA reported a threefold increase in sales over 2001 and opened 193 new accounts in 2002, bringing the young company's total to nearly 600 accounts.
Mike Hosey, president of High Gear, told SNEWS that he attributes the recent success to the company's commitment to offering a highly innovative product line at extremely attractive prices, and building and maintaining solid relationships in the outdoor industry.
He also pointed out that the company would not be where it is now had it not made a strategic shift in its business plan in 2001.
"In late November 2001, we really went through an identity conversion to focus on what High Gear really could mean to the market and how we should and could be offering product that would clearly identify ourselves. Although we were doing well with our lower priced accessories of key rings, zipper pulls and lanyards, we realized that to get the traction we needed and the business we really wanted, we needed some higher priced and more technical items that were unique to us.
"And that is where we found the digital navigation gear that has established our name in the market. We lost a lot of accounts that would only buy lower priced accessories from us at first, but we quickly began gaining core outdoor accounts and before long, it became clear to us that making the switch to the product line we now have was the best thing we could have ever done," Hosey said.
A few of the key accounts the company opened in 2002 are REI, Gander Mountain, Eastern Mountain Sports, Galyan's and Hudson Trail.
Hosey told us that the company will be expanding its efforts to reach into the sporting goods industry. While High Gear's new WalkBuddy line of pedometers will no doubt help with this initiative, Hosey realizes that the lack of focus on high-end technical electronic goods in the sporting goods market makes expanding its reach tougher than its expansion into the outdoor market.
SNEWS View: High Gear has made quantum leaps from the humble little company it was when it launched in 1999. A number of key retailers the company does business with have told us that High Gear has succeeded simply because it focuses on offering a good product with a unique design at a very good value, and the consumer gets that. Our bet is we'll continue to see market increases for High Gear.