Igloo Products Corporation reported that since its October 2008 acquisition by J.H. Whitney, the company's three-year performance set records in all categories.
Company Chairman and CEO, Gary Kiedaisch, reports that Igloo has completely transformed itself by reaching many of its important goals ahead of schedule. The key, he says, was introducing more new products in the past three years than in the previous decade. And the announcement of a new president/COO, Jeffrey Cartwright, a manufacturing and logistics expert, underscores the company's rapid growth. Cartwright will be responsible for day-to-day operations.
According to Kiedaisch, compared to three years ago, factory efficiency is up more than 30%, with significantly improved quality. “We are currently manufacturing 85% of our products domestically, a real plus for the US economy, for deliveries to customers and for overall product quality. We've entered some new verticals with outdoor product categories, including tents, shelters and chairs we're calling Igloo Outdoors. These tents and chairs are designed for recreational camping and address the core of the outdoor market. We've also redefined both our hard and soft-sided businesses. The company started with some real advantages three years ago, including a great name. Now we've moved forward in dramatic fashion to redefine that name and to grow the brand,” he said.
Much of Igloo's growth has been in new products, according to Kiedaisch, his number one priority. This year, the company introduced the three-sized, rotomolded, heavy duty “Yukon by Igloo,” three versions of the new Glide, a 110-quart wheeled cooler, ideal for outdoor use when it's important to be able to easily moving the fully-loaded cooler.
The new, repositioned line of soft-sided, fashion-forward coolers, called DUO, is designed for a wide variety of everyday uses. Says Kiedaisch, “The new, fashion-forward, soft-sided line has a wider variety of models, including insulated bags for carrying lunch to school or to the office, knapsacks for hiking and tote bags for going into town for the day. These multi-purpose bags take Igloo into the everyday realm, to Main Street if you will, a new and heretofore untapped market for the brand,” he said. “They're Igloo technology on the inside and pure fashion on the outside, the best of both worlds.”
Product differentiation is a key element in the new Igloo line, says the Igloo CEO. “We've balanced our line and reinvested in new product, so there's a right cooler, insulated soft-sided bag, tent or chair for every customer in each channel of distribution,” he said. “There are models in each category for the mall shopper, for the specialty store shopper and for the on-line shopper that will do the job, well beyond customers' expectations.” He emphasized, “We're not dumbing down products by eliminating features to make a price point. Rather we're broadening the lines, adding features and maintaining price points to make our brand more attractive across the board.”
Igloo's profile as a global brand is changing, he says. “This year, with Jeff Cartwright and the entire team's help, whether it's for fishing and marine use, for camping and hiking, for the RV or the backyard, for going to school or the office, or just keeping drinks cold on the fence at a little league game, our design staff has outdone themselves. Clearly, this is not your grandfather's Igloo and you'll be seeing us in more places than ever before,” he said.