Letter from SOP

This letter was sent to skateshops from SOP (the distributor of New School and ATM) It is dated September 8, 1994. Thanks to Rick Valenzuela for transcribing and submitting this letter.
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Dear Retailer-

Due to the past year's growth in skateboard sales, I (along with many of my colleagues) have taken a long look at our industry and the direction it is going. Unfortunately, many of us are very concerned about the path that the skateboard market seems to be taking.

At present time, we have approximately 60-80 skateboard companies selling skateboards. Of these companies, only a few (including myself) own a woodshop and physically manufacture products; the rest are basically "marketing" companies buying their products from the same woodshops as their competitors. While this, on the surface seems somewhat unimportant, the use of sub-contractors to create product helps to initiate artificially high prices in the market. Beacause of these "job shops" shipping to not only the marketing companies, but also manufacturing blank, low priced boards, we now have skateboard decks wholesaling anywhere from $19.00 to $35.00. How can anyone justify this vast price difference to the consumer. Unfortunately, the pricing on the low end boards leaves no room for financing pro teams, videos, tours, contests, magazines, etc. (Incidentally, these are the things that attract kids to skateboarding in the first place.)

I (along with several other manufacturers) feel that it is time to bring skateboard pricing back in line. I'm prepared to offer you pro-endorsed wood decks at $26.95 and pro endorsed slicks at $29.95. (Wood Logo decks will be $25.00 and the ATM Logo and Signature models will cost $23.00) If you mark your products up 33%, my pro wood boards will retail for $35.84 compared to a retail of $45.15. (This figure was calculated on the average cost of a pro wood deck today.) I feel that by offering your customer this $10.00 price difference for the same pro endorsed, American made, quality product can only help to lengthen the life span of the skateboard market, and create happier customers. (Although I would never dictate pricing, I would strongly urge you to pass these savings on to your customers in order to help strengthen and unify our market.)

By several of us mapping out and offering you this type of program, we are hoping to:

1) Help stabalize [sic] pricing in the industry.
2) Create a smaller, stronger core of skateboard manufacturers (and hopefully deplete the excess merchandise in the market.)
3) Get back to a more tight knit industry with a little more control of its growth.

I feel that the time to do this is now, so all prices are effective immediately. I have no doubt that you will be receiving similar letters from other manufacturers. Please read them, and evaluate for yourself what we are saying. (I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on these ideas.) I think you'll agree, we all want to enjoy success and prosperity in an industry that we enjoy, and the time is now to put us back on track.

Best Regards,

John Falahee

1140 Calle Cordillera, Ste 100
San Clemente CA 92673
ph: 714/3610119
fax: 714/3613550

DansWORLD Skateboarding - Dan Dunham (dan@cps.msu.edu)