natur SUP focuses on diversification to ensure its growth

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LANAUDIÈRE REGIONAL FOCUS. In its first year, in 2018, the natür SUP paddleboard company made $50,000 in sales. That number increased to $500,000 in 2020 and then $650,000 in 2021. Now what? “We’re in the millions,” says the co-owner simply. How to explain this success?

At their warehouse boutique in Sainte-Mélanie, Lanaudière, Nancy Chamberland and François Trépanier feel the wave is coming and they have no intention of missing it. Their company, natür SUP, which designs, designs and sells high-quality paddleboards, has seen a sharp increase in turnover over the past five years. And at the same time, the number of its employees increased from two to fifteen.

” Everything is fine. We’re on the right track and we’re making sure we offer a niche product that customers are looking for. We’re also trying to get our customers to talk about us. And really, word of mouth works well for us,” says Nancy Chamberland, with whom Lesaffaires spoke.

“We offer exemplary service. We are on the edge, with our customers (not too far, in Saint-Charles-Borromée, where there are boards to rent), and all this is reassuring for them. It’s really an experience with us, continues the co-owner of the company. (…) I will call every customer who buys from us if I haven’t seen it on the water. » Perhaps a detail, but actually not trivial in this market, where there is strong competition.

Moreover, in a recent interview given to the publication Paddle Magazineco-owner of Colorado-based Badfish SUP, Mike Harvey, argued that companies that focus on their customers will be successful in this area.

The market is sailing in a more than favorable current. Anyone who has visited a body of water in Quebec or elsewhere in North America in recent years has seen the level of popularity of paddleboarding. MarketWatch estimates it to be $1.6 billion in 2022, with sustained growth of 10% per year. In 2028, it should be 2.8 billion USD. In turn, research firm Fact MR sees a market potential of $4.3 billion by 2033, still growing at 10% per year.

Ensuring growth

Even if you sell a few hundred records a year, this alone will not ensure the growth of the company. Here, as in many other sectors of the economy, diversification is an asset that makes a difference. And natür SUP understands this well.

First by drawing and designing no less than 17 different board models. “For kids, for fishing, for yoga on the water, for the person who wants more performance or to be more relaxed,” says Nancy Chamberland. “We have the diversity that makes us stand out on this site. It’s not true that one board model can suit everyone,” he continues.

Furthermore, by offering a large number of accessories and clothing, also designed by the company, which cover all customer needs and enhance the experience on the water. But that’s not enough. In addition to these offerings, there are several courses and partnerships with stores elsewhere in the province (in Alma, Quebec, Percé, Saint-Michel-des-Saints, and Laval) as well as rentals (in Saint-Charles-Borromée, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Shawinigan, Quebec and Gatineau).

Work is also underway to expand these services outside of Quebec, on the Acadian Peninsula, which represents a new avenue for growth for the company. This will allow it to consolidate its place in the market with a growing number of competing companies.

“There aren’t many companies that do design and are on the waterfront with service locations like we are,” says Nancy Chamberland. We are strong in this respect. The 17 boards we have are popular and we have delivery service in two, three days. (…) There is still a lot of room for growth as it is an evolving sport. »

To survive the long winter months, the company embarked on the design of sliding tubes. The first partnership was signed in Lanaudière and more will be added. “It’s new for the 2022-2023 season. We stay active over the winter and our employees continue to work, so that’s good. »

This text was originally published in the April 12, 2023 paper edition.

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