February 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 2
The Shred Sled Carves a New Niche
Innovative Hybrid Fuses Snowboarding With Skateboarding
From the moment he saw the product at the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Show in April 2008, Eric King knew he’d found something special. Six months later, just in time for Christmas, he introduced the Shred Sled in the United States — and watched it sell out.
FROM APPAREL TO TOYS
Eric, president of The Shred Sled, had no prior toy experience when he got into the business. “I had been an importer of women’s clothing my whole life, and had a vast knowledge of importing products,” he told TDmonthly Magazine. “I figured I would catch a plane and go to some trade shows to see if I saw anything that sparked my interest.”
As he ambled the aisles, he saw people “zipping all over the place.” Closer inspection revealed a four-wheeled board that reminded him of the popular two-wheeled Wave [from Street Surfing] and the Ripstik [from Razor]. “It looked like the next generation of caster boards, so I brought home two. I put the board in front of my oldest son, he got on it, and it was awesome. I decided to dive into it and see what I could do.”
He trademarked the name The Shred Sled, contacted creative designers with whom he had previously worked to develop the packaging, and ordered a full container — 2,200 units.
SNOWBOARDING MEETS THE STREETS
Eric described the Shred Sled as bringing the thrills and carving movements of snowboarding to the streets.
“It combines snowboarding and skateboarding,” he explained. “The four inline wheels provide a smoother ride and much more control than the usual two wheels. The concave decks make for better foot control. The component in the middle is flexible, which is different from older models, making for tighter turns and more tricks.” He added that the polyurethane wheels and bearings are smoother and stronger than on other boards, and rarely need replacement.
With coverage on NBC’s “Today” show during a Christmas toys segment and placement on Hammacher Schlemmer’s website, in addition to the Shred Sled’s own website, King said that they were literally “flying out — at $110, including shipping. Consumers love them, and the return rate is nonexistent.”
Sandi Washer, buyer for Hammacher Schlemmer, explained that the company was willing to gamble on a new-to-market product during the important holiday season because, “We look for the new and different — the Shred Sled represented an item, the skateboard, with an updated concept.”
THE FUN FACTOR
Although the Shred Sled is targeted at children ages 8 and up, Eric suggested the appeal ranges all the way up to adults. “There’s even an exerciser component to the Shred Sled; you move your arms and hips in a coordinated effort to propel yourself back and forth, so it does tone the core.”
Sandi credits the fun factor as one of the Shred Sled’s key appeals. “It lets everyone skateboard. You don't have to be the most coordinated. It represents fun for all.” She added, “The product is quality. The company has been a joy to deal with. What they say they'll do, they do. They [deliver the] utmost in professionalism topped with enthusiasm. They love their product and care about their company — it shows!”
Even in preparation for Toy Fair 2009 [booth 5779], Eric admitted that fear of the unknown was a big factor when he jumped into this venture. “Here I was just diving into it and seeing where the chips were going to fall. It’s been a giant learning process.”
Of course, he’s looking forward to carving an even bigger success this year.
This 4-wheel, dual-deck carve board makes it smoother and easier to start carving up the streets. Its fun and much easier to control than older 2-wheel generation boards. The 4-80mm polyurethane wheels and ABEC-5 Bearings are smoother and stronger and rarely need to be replaced. Due to the inline wheels, the Shred Sled offers the feel of snowboarding while skateboarding. Editor's Note: Effective September 2010, the recommended retail price for the Shred Sled is reduced from $119.99 to $59.99. According to a press release, "The affordably priced Shred Sled will offer all of its original features that have proven to be a major success, including 4 x 80mm polyurethane wheels and ABEC-5 bearings."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22083 (added 1/13/2009)
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Writer's Bio: Claudia Newcorn has been a freelance writer and editor for over 10 years, after having spent more than a decade in marketing and product management. She writes for both businesses and individual clients, crafting copy, content and advertising. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines and specialty publications nationwide (www.acornmarketing.com). She is also the author of an award-winning fantasy fiction book, "Crossover," and several published short stories (www.claudianewcorn.com). Read more articles by this author
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