Warren Light Craft, which has won awards for the design of its curvaceous Little Wing composite kayaks, is seeking dealers. The Massachusetts company made a splash in 2006 when its flashy and extremely light-weight carbon composite boat won a gold medal at the 2006 Industrial Design Excellence Awards.
But founder and yacht designer Ted Warren eschewed the dealer route to sell direct via the web, in part because of concerns over how the high-end boat would be presented. A favorable experience with Billington Sea Kayak in nearby Plymouth, Mass., however, has relieved Warrens concerns.
“Its really turned dour heads on all this,” said Warren, who builds the boats with his son Zac on the waterfront in Salem, MA. “He understands marketing this boat. He keeps the boats immaculate. They look ten times better than anything else and he treats it that way and thats the way you sell high-end product.”
Warren is looking for dealers in major metropolitan areas that are owner operated and already selling composite boats. They need to be on the water so customers can test them.
“And they would get it,” added Warren. “They would not just stick it in corner with a bunch of plastic boats.”
Billington, which carries Heritage, Native, Hurricane, Impex, Necky and Epic brands, picked up the line in February after Warren added 12- and 14-foot versions of the Little Wing in Fiberglas and carbon. The carbon versions weigh in at 22 and 26 pounds and retail for $2,985 and $3,785 on the Warren Light Craft site.
Warren said his sales have taken off since adding the shorter boats. “We are absolutely flat out,” he said. “Things have really taken off this year.”
Billingtons owner Doug Gray said he has sold five of the boats and picked up four more Friday. Warren, who also has a dealer in Norway, said he has had the most success selling to baby boomers – particularly doctors. “They love their medical toys and this is their recreational toy.”