First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nick Marvik: Hello! Thanks, we’re doing well. Honestly, I feel super lucky and fortunate, given the current circumstances.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Northwest Tech
Nick Marvik: Northwest Tech started with the simple idea of designing a one-of-a-kind ski jacket: A jacket that was customized by the rider, for the rider. A jacket that had exactly what you desired – high-quality waterproofing, technical features, rad colors, and an awesome fit. Fast forward to today, and we’ve expanded our custom product offering – now manufacturing and distributing customizable snow and mountain bike outerwear to winter enthusiasts and mountain bikers worldwide. We were born from the desire to customize and recognized that skiers, snowboarders, and mountain bikers all desire unique style and individuality.
Whether it’s your new winter snow bibs, a new mountain bike jersey, or your full winter outerwear kit – no one wants to see their new gear out on the trail or sitting next to them on the chairlift each season. I started the company in 2012 just out of college at Western Washington University, located in Bellingham, Washington. It’s been a fun ride ever since, and we’re excited to keep providing action sports enthusiasts with high quality, customizable gear made in the USA.
How does Northwest Tech innovate?
Nick Marvik: Our key differentiator is that all our products are custom designed by you. Using our online product builder, our customers get to design their outdoor gear, choose the features they want most (or don’t want), and have it shipped directly to their front door with just a few clicks.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nick Marvik: March and April were tough. Pretty much flat-lined business as all US ski resorts closed early, and our USA made Seattle-based production facility also had to close. Our hands were tied. Since opening back up in June, we’ve bounced back as much of the outdoor recreation market, biking, in particular, is booming right now. Year over year, online demand for all things bike is over-indexing.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nick Marvik: Fortunately, we didn’t; however, many of our partners and vendors did, which was a learning experience in itself. It’s probably fair to say this isn’t over yet either. The downstream effect of Covid I think we’ve yet to really see and realize.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nick Marvik: We’ve got many competitors across both snow sports and mountain biking that all make fantastic products. There’s no question that it’s hard to compete, but we try to serve a specific niche of the market that not many folks are playing in, custom. We’re the leaders in custom snow sports outerwear and are quickly gaining momentum in the US mountain bike market. Listening to customers, implementing product feedback, and continuing to offer something different from our competitors is where our eyes are set. In addition to a killer product, having a slick web experience, multiple payment options, and reduced barriers to buying custom online will be important focus areas for our future.
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