In a shot heard around the snowboard industry, a number of industry veterans and talented team riders have announced that they’ve joined Sims Snowboards in what could be termed as a total rebirth for the brand.
In addition to gaining the new employees, the company will be relocating its sales, marketing, and creative departments to Southern California within a month.
“As a continuation of our recent momentum, we’ve made an investment in an incredibly talented group of people and reinvested in California,” says John Textor, the leading owner of the brand. “We’ve been a California brand from the beginning and we’re excited to be moving closer to Tom.” Tom currently lives in Santa Barbara and will be playing a larger role in the company.
Textor expects the sales and marketing staffs to move to a 7,000-square-foot facility in Santa Monica, while accounting and warehousing will stay in its Seattle location for the time being.
The new crew that will man the Southern California office includes a number of employees who had previously worked at Four Star Distribution and the team manager and several team riders from World Industries. A handful of Sims employees were also given the opportunity to continue with the company. There will be no changes in the rep force.
Heading up the So Cal office will be the newly named Sims President Steve Dewar. He has been with Sims for more than six years and was most recently vice president of sales and marketing.
Moving in as Sims’ Vice President of Marketing is Travis Wood, who was the director of media and promotions at Four Star. Becoming Sims new vice president of sales is Todd Liotine, who was Four Star’s director of sales. Director of production will be Stephanie Sensenbach, who was Four Star’s director of design. Also taking a similar position at Sims as he had at Four Star is Jason Bump, a graphic artist.
The new sales, marketing, and production staffs will work with the new team manager and team riders. Taking over the team manager position is Chris Saydah, who had served the same role at World. World team riders Marc Frank Montoya, Kurt Wastell, Brian Thien, and Jordon Mendenhall are all also shifting brands. “We’re all friends, and I’m just bringing them along with me,” says Saydah.
With this move, the beleaguered Sims brand will pick up staff members who have been associated with exciting and growing brands, as well as a group of dynamic new pro riders.
“I’m very excited about this,” says Wood. “I’ve thought about this long and hard to make sure that this is the best decision for all the people involved and they obviously feel the same way. I’m really excited for Sims, and people are going to be really surprised with what we do. If anyone likes what this group has done at Four Star, then they’re going to love what we’re going to do at Sims.”
Wood is excited to be joining a company that has a rich heritage in the snowboard industry. “They’ve got insane product, they just really, really need help with their marketing,” he says. “If there’s one company that knows how to market, it’s Four Star. So you bring the two elements together with high-quality products and good marketing, and I think a lot of good things are going to happen.”
Saydah is also excited about being part of the legendary brand. “It’s an opportunity to bring an O.G. company back to the spotlight,” he says. “A Sims was the first board I had.”
Echoing the others’ excitement about their new jobs, Liotine says, “This is a great opportunity for me. I get to bring my past five years of specialty retail experience to this job. We want to get this brand back to its roots in specialty stores. It really appeals to my competitive side.”
Sims definitely offers new challenges for the younger, previously successful staff.
“Forum is a company that wanted to be where Sims is in terms of numbers, global distribution, and worldwide presence,” Wood says. “Sims wants what Forum has right now as far as ‘core markketing and retail-shop presence. I’ve done one of them, so I’m excited to get the other.”
Wood feels his track record at Four Star proves what opportunities lie ahead for Sims. “My philosophy is there are three types of companies: There’re the companies that make things happen, there are the companies that watch things happen, and there are companies that say, ‘What the f¿k just happened?’ I don’t want to be either of the last two. I’m confident with the people we have that we’re going to be able to overcome those challenges that Sims had in the past.”
“For me it’s an opportunity to work with Tom Sims,” says Wood. “I’m super excited about the future. I know we’re going to go through some rough times in the beginning, but everyone is super committed and focused, and I haven’t seen this many smiles in a group of people in a long time.
“There will be an immediate impact,” he adds. “I’m not going to sleep for the next six months.”
Of course, Sims management doesn’t expect miracles to happen right away. “I’m not worried about taking orders today,” says Dewar. “It’s more important to take care of our customers, which we’ve done really well this year. Now if we can put together good marketing program to support the specialty retailers, we’ll be in good shape. This is a long-term deal. This isn’t about hype.”