Meet Our Sales Reps!
You’ve heard it – our motto that is, “Life is short. Get on the water!” It’s a philosophy we wish for our customers and what we strive for ourselves as members of Team Clavey. Really it’s one of the highlights and a perk of owning a retail paddlesports store. It’s a way for us to have fun and relax, but also we use and test the products we sell to see what works and what doesn’t which in the end helps us to better serve you, our valued customers.
Besides using & testing what we sell we also enlist the expertise of the people who represent these products; our sales reps. These are the men and women who know their products from top to bottom and front to back. They connect us to the manufacturer of the products and teach us the best ways of how to deliver that knowledge to our customers. They are motivated high energy people who work hard, spend a fair amount of time on the road visiting their clients, and whom we consider to be our friends and members of Team Clavey.
We thought it would fun to get to know them better and introduce them to you through a series we are calling Meet Our Sales Reps!
Here today please allow me to introduce you to Kirk S. Brown – Sales Rep for Stohlquist & Seattle Sports.
Tell us a bit about your background. When did you first get involved with the outdoor industry?
I’ve been involved in the outdoors all of my life. My dad had me on the family Star sailboat at 2 months old. I’ve enjoyed hiking through the Boy Scouts and hiked the John Muir Trail with my brother. We were not yet old enough to drive. Hiking lead to climbing and I’ve a done number of the classic Yosemite climbs: The Nose; the Northeast Face of Half Dome as well as Mt. Whitney via the East Face. I’m one of the few people to have climbed both Matterhorns (Zermat & Disneyland).
What was your first job? What led you to your current job as a sales rep?
I was a paper boy delivering the Los Angeles Herald Examiner after school each day. I got into the marine industry in the manufacturing end which led to sales management. I then moved and established my own independent rep company.
What do enjoy most about being a sales rep? What’s your biggest challenge?
The freedom to plan my work and to be able to fold in hobbies and family time is great. In this industry, my customers, both dealers and end users are terrific and have great passion for the sport. I’d hate to be repping a line of PVC pipe. The biggest challenge is the nature of the boating business. Dealers tend to be family businesses with limited resources, so employing new media opportunities, sophisticated business metrics and new merchandising opportunities can be a challenge.
Describe the most unusual trend that you’ve experienced in paddlesports.
The practice of landing a marlin on a kayak never ceases to amaze me. The kayak fishing segment is the most fascinating and growing segment. While SUP has received lots of press, we are dealing with the kind of longboard I learned to surf on. The addition of a paddle is a great development.
What sort of future trends do you predict happening in paddlesports in the next 5 – 10 years?
There will be industry consolidation in the SUP business. As this is a discretionary dollar market, end users will be drawn to low price entry boats, but will, if they stay with the sport, move to quality. Quality and feature rich products will hold a key position for the independent dealer. Big Box stores like Costco will offer entry level products that will soon appear on Craig’s List.
Out of all the products that you rep what’s the one item that all paddlers should have?
I serve on the US SAILING Safety at Sea Committee and my company associates are trained by AMSEA and have served as President of the US Marine Safety Association. So safety is my primary concern. The one product that all paddlers should have is the lifejacket that they will wear. I represent Stohlquist and can make the point that Stohlquist is the finest, feature rich, most comfortable life jacket on the market. That said, the lifejacket you will wear, Stohlquist or another brand, is the one item paddlers should have.
When you’re not on the road as a sales rep what’s your favorite water sport to participate in? Why?
I have sailed and raced sailboats all my life. That has led to my hobby as a sailing Race Official. I am certified as an International Umpire/Judge and have umpired the America’s Cup and World Championship events from Rio de Janeiro to Kula Terrengganu, Trapanni and Ekaterinburg. It has been a real thrill to work at the top end of the game.