High-end apparel maker KLIM plans for more consistent growth after being bought by Polaris
The acquisition of Idaho-based Teton Outfitters, LLC, and its KLIM brand by Polaris Industries turned heads in both the snowmobiling and motorcycling apparel markets earlier this month.
It’s the first major PG&A acquisition for Polaris since the February arrival of Steve Eastman, vice president of PG&A. And while the deal’s purchase price was not disclosed, KLIM is expected to have 2012 sales near $30 million.
KLIM will continue its operations in Rigby, Idaho, as Polaris plans to establish the facility as its new apparel Center of Excellence to enhance all Polaris-branded apparel.
Justin Summers, KLIM founder, president and CEO, told Powersports Business the transaction will simply allow KLIM to push itself to new heights.
“KLIM has been the focus of my life for over a decade. Creating an apparel company has been incredibly challenging and equally rewarding,” Summers said. “In addition to myself and my family there are over 60 people in this building that have put more than I could ever ask of them into making KLIM the premium brand in the motorsports apparel marketplace.
“The Polaris transaction is vital for the KLIM brand to reach the level of success that we know it can and continue our rapid growth into the future. With their solid resource foundation and global presence, it will enable KLIM to expand and grow at a much more consistent and accelerated pace.”
KLIM’s focused understanding of its customers’ riding needs, from the elements and conditions they ride in to the durability and functionality they demand, has elevated its status among discerning riders.
“No other apparel company has developed gear for the real rider like KLIM,” Summers said. “Combine that desire to improve riding experiences with our innovative technologies in materials, construction and designs, and you have a winning combination. KLIM represents the absolute premium in technical riding gear and will do so forever.”
With Polaris putting an increased emphasis on margin-friendly PG&A sales, the KLIM brand will likely bring immediate results. And Summers says that the brand has no plans to change its successful approach.
“KLIM is a company that refuses to compromise,” he said. “We don’t build products that are good enough; we build products that exceed expectations. Through that mindset we source material technologies that can accomplish our goals and use innovation in our designs and construction to reinforce and enhance those technologies. If we can’t find the technology on the available market, we find partners to create it with. I’d say we’re more than a little obsessive about building the absolute best.”
Summers admits that perhaps his company’s most important attribute is its ability to listen.
“Reaching the target audience comes from listening,” he said. “It’s the most important thing we do in product development alongside sourcing better materials, etc. We voraciously gather feedback through sponsored riders, customers, dealers, social media and by riding ourselves.”
Setting the trend in apparel technology forces KLIM to push boundaries. Its use of GORE-TEX waterproof/breathable technology continues to be a hit.
“Even in a time of a multitude of generic ‘solutions’ to staying dry, GORE-TEX continues to be an incredible advantage for KLIM customers looking for real durability, real waterproofness and real breathability,” Summers said. “Our partnership with the GORE family as well as daily interactions with Cordura, 3M Thinsulate, 3M Scotchlite and others really helps us stay on top. Just this year we released new technology in our Radius Goggle line for the snowmobiler that redefines standards in fit and clear vision. And wait until you see what be bring next — the future is looking good for the snowmobile market, for sure.”
Meanwhile, KLIM continues to grow its share in the motorcycle apparel marketplace, with noted success among enduro riders.
“KLIM’s growth in the motorcycle market really mirrors how we became successful in the snow,” Summers said. “We have premium products that work specifically for the end user and that is being appreciated by more and more off-road, dual-sport, adventure and adventure touring riders than ever. Word of mouth travels fast and the formula works!”
As an enthusiast himself, Summers can often be found testing products in varied environments.
“KLIM’s growth is steady, for sure and we look to keep it moving forward through new markets,” he said. “The high-end enduro market is attracting the most media and buzz these days and KLIM is putting great effort into it to continue bringing products to market that we feel proud of and customers know they can count on. We’re putting equal amount of effort into the hardcore off-road rider’s KLIM products as well. Demand for KLIM products in all of motorcycling is high right now.