"Skootying" into Asia: Woman-Owned SME Finds Success in Korea
Kentucky-based Valley Vista Ski Products is a small, woman-owned manufacturer of ski boot protectors, sold under the names: “SkiSkootys” and “Skooty Claws.” Designed in-house, these patented products provide traction and a curved comfort sole to ski boots. The products were designed to protect expensive equipment, and provide a more natural gait when walking to an from the slopes at ski resorts.
SkiSkootys contacted the U.S. Commercial Service in search of a proactive strategy to globally grow their brand - targeting major ski venues in Asia and Europe, as well as high-profile events such as the Winter Olympics. Specifically, the client expressed their need for market intelligence on ski distributors and retailers regarding their purchasing strategies for their SkiSkootys product ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Through counseling with Commercial Service staff in Louisville and several Asian markets, Valley Vista Ski Products was provided extensive background details on prospective distributors. The client leveraged federal grant funding to provide these prospects with sample units for testing and evaluation with end-use consumers. Additionally, the company secured a high-profile advertisement in a publication targeting customers ahead of the Olympics.
Valley Vista Ski Products reported that Commercial Service efforts aided them in securing a distribution agreement with Korean-based company Danwoo SFG. As a result, Valley Vista began selling products to Danwoo with numerous orders to support the market’s ski seasons, and set up for an even greater push of sales during the Olympics. Additionally, the guidance CS provided on pricing models allowed the client to maintain their required profitability, while increasing competitiveness in the market under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.