After reading the Price Points Thread on our forum questioning KUIU’s pricing structure, I thought it might be helpful to write a detailed post of where KUIU comes from and what drives our products and pricing.
After reading some of the posts it is clear many of those who commented have not been part of the brand from the beginning. Or have been given wrong information in how our competitor’s gear compares.
I co-founded Sitka in 2005. Our product line was an attempt to bridge the gap in design and technologies between hunting and mountaineering gear. I launched and operated Sitka from my home office and garage in Dixon, California.
In July of 2006 we introduced the first Sitka product line in the Schnee’s Boot catalog, based in Bozeman, Montana. Schnee’s was the only retailer to pick up Sitka that first year and sold the all the 2006 inventory we bought in only 90 days.
In just a few months Sitka had exploded in popularity and demand as the first technical mountain hunting brand in the world. In 2007 Sitka was carried in every major big-box retail store in the United States and Canada.
In 2008, longtime Patagonia designer Richard Siberell introduced me to Toray at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. He explained all the advantages of Toray’s patented Spiral Yarn technology, fabric performance and the industry leading innovations.
I quickly pushed to build a Sitka program with Toray fabrics but could not make the margins work. Our gear prices were going to double and retailer buyers were already complaining Sitka was too expensive.
We had to kill the program, but I could not get the Toray fabrics out of my mind.
In 2009 my business partner and our CFO, feeling pressure from the failing economy made some bad decisions and lied to our shareholders, threw me under the bus, stabbed my family in their backs and sold Sitka to W.L. Gore for pennies. Then forced me out of the company I built. All of it was never needed as Sitka would have survived.
I was down but not out and highly motivated and determined to build a new business model. A business set up to bring to market a line of the most advanced technical mountain hunting products ever produced featuring Toray fabrics.
This new company would be one of integrity, honesty and transparency, focused on making the best products possible with the best possible service. I took everything I learned from creating Sitka and used it to build a much smarter business plan.
I eliminated the retailer to focus on making products without price restrictions. I wanted no limits on materials, design or manufacturing. I would no longer sacrifice quality to hit price points for a retailer. And I wanted an emphasis on service and customer experience.
Rob Moore a loyal friend and investor at Sitka believed in me and financially backed KUIU. Without Rob none of this could have happened.
KUIU is on a growth rate 3 times faster than Sitka, built on a foundation of world-class materials made by the finest factories, relentless innovation and service with total transparency.
KUIU products significantly reduce weight and drying times while increasing moisture management, breathability and durability and hunter performance in the most demanding conditions in the world. The products have driven the growth of this brand.
Behind the products I have assembled an incredible team of people to help me realize my dream of KUIU. The talent and drive at KUIU, the attention to the smallest details, make this customer brand experience like no other.
Below is a brief highlight of the suppliers, materials and innovations we have brought to market to date.
Toray, Osaka Japan
- $20 Billion Company
- Chemistry is the foundation of Toray
- Nano Technology
- Carbon Fiber
- Synthetic Fabrics
- The FINEST performance synthetic fabric supplier in the world.
- More innovation to the performance fabric sector than any other supplier.
- Primeflex Yarn
- Dermizax NX Laminate- World Leading 40,000 mvt breathability rating.
- Kudos DWR
- QUIX DOWN
- Stunner Stretch Down Proof Fabrics
- Dot Air fabric technologies
The Merino Company, Levin New Zealand
- New Zealand’s oldest Merino Wool supplier
- Worlds Leading Innovator in Merino Wool
- New Yarn Technology-2014
- Vertically Integrated Supply Chain
- 100% New Zealand merino wool.
- Exclusively 17.5 Micron Ultra-Fine Merino Wool.
Pittards Leather, Yeovil England
- The Finest Performance leather Supplier for gloves on the planet.
- Oil-tac Enduro Performance Leather
Bemis Heat Bonded Films and Glue
- The #1 film and glue supplier for seam tape and welding.
- #1 performance zipper supplier in the world.
- Exclusive zipper supplier for all of KUIU’s products.
- 160D 100% Nylon Rip Stop Cordura
- Used in all Icon Backpacks
INNOVATIONS TO MARKET
- Toray’s Dermizax NX waterproof breathable membrane. Industries highest breathability rating @ 40,000 MTV with a 200% stretch rating.
- Toray’s QUIX DOWN- nano-technology created the highest performing waterproof down application available.
- Toray’s Primeflex Fabric- Patented Spiral yarn technology allows for 4-way stretch and recovery without elastic.
- 95% to 5% Polish Goose Down
- Toray’s Dot Air Fabric- Micro openings significantly increases airflow through fabric.
- KUIU ICON Molded Carbon Fiber frame- The worlds first molded carbon fiber backpack frame – Patent Pending
- Toray’s KUDOS DWR- the most effective and durable water repellant fabric treatment available.
- Toray’s Stunner Stretch Fabric- first ever stretch down proof fabric.
- Pittards Enduro Oil Tac Performance leather.
Super Down Products
- Quix Down water repellency-significantly better performance than any other waterproofing down application.
- 100% Polish Goose Down
- 850+ fill
- 95% to 5% Down to Feather Ratio.
- Toray Stunner Stretch fabrics.
- The 1st stretch down proof fabrics.
- Super Down Sleeping Bags in 2014
Chugach & Yukon Products
- Toray Dermizax NX Laminate featuring the world leading 40,000 MVT rating.
- The highest breathability rating for a water proof breathable garment ever produced.
- 200% 4-way stretch rating.
- Yukon Gaiter: First ever seamless 4-way stretch gaiter.
Toray Prime Flex Fabrics
- Guide Jacket, Pants and Beanie
- Attack Pants
- Face Fabric for Chugach & Yukon products
- These fabrics used in all of our outer wear fabrics use Toray’s Spiral Yarn which is patented and allows our fabrics to have NO ELASTIC which is so significant to performance, weight and longevity of a fabric.
- Toray fabrics are made exclusively in Japan. Not China or Taiwan like our competition. This is why we get the nice hand feel and longevity out of our gear.
- Patented Carbon Fiber Frame Design made by Rocket Composites in Sacramento, California, USA
- 11 ounces
- Modular System
- Assembled to order at KUIU, Dixon CA.
- Fine Italian made mountaineering footwear.
- KUIU Pamir Boot.
- The most advanced hunting boot ever created.
- Developed a very unique vertical supply chain to insure quality and lower lead times.
- Toray makes all of our products featuring Toray fabrics. This insures the quality and performance of our products versus using an independent factory. Toray implements Japanese technicians and quality control standards, which are the highest in the world.
- The Merino Company produces all of KUIU Merino Wool hunting products.
I am transparent about ALL the ingredients in our products to build trust with our customers. Our gear is expensive to make because it is made only with the best by the best. We have absolutely nothing to hide. This should be evident in the list of suppliers, brand name materials and innovations KUIU has brought to market listed above. A list that is unmatched.
To accurately compare the competitions products against KUIU you need to look at the same product details. The details such as the fabric brand name, the country of origin, quality and percentage of down, the micron in the merino wool and the breathability of the rain-gear all matter. Most brands will not share this information because you would not buy their products if you knew. These small ingredient details are what make great gear.
And please do not listen to Pro-Staffer’s and bribed forum administrators telling you the free gear they promote is just as good as KUIU’s. This industry is filled with these bribed “pro-staffers” who one day are recommending Leica and the next day telling you Nikon is just as good.
KUIU does not have a prostaff because I do not believe in bribing people to promote our products. Instead we invest the money into building products the right way so our customers do the talking for us.
If you care about what is in the gear you buy then put your trust in KUIU and my relentless pursuit of the finest materials and craftsmanship on the planet.
And if you still do not believe me then please ask the over 1,500 Professional Guides whom now only wear KUIU and recommend it to all their clients. Most of them are Sheep Guides working in the most remote and demanding conditions in the world. They demand the best. So should you.
I look forward to your questions and comments.