By Alicia Cunningham | Feb 14, 2016
Salt Lake City, Utah
Luxury Camping Equipment
Salt Lake City, Utah
Tired of camping? The struggle to set up the tent? The air mattress that deflates to nothing overnight? Getting dressed by laying on your back and pulling your pants on because you cannot stand up in the tiny tent?
Then stop. Because Matt Lawrence, Director of Operations for Blackpine Sports, wants you to experience glamping.
“Glamping is a new thing,” explains Lawrence. “It’s a movement for people who want to go car camping but want to be comfortable.”
To support this movement, Blackpine Sports offers the Turbo Tents: tents that are seven feet tall and can be assembled in about a minute. No lost poles. No fights. “And our Grizzly single person sleeping bags are oversized. They are 40 inches wide and 90 inches long. You can sleep with your arms and legs out. We also make a double sleeping bag that can fit two people: 65 inches wide and 90 inches long. They are the size of a queen mattress. You are going to sleep like a dream as opposed to cramped like a mummy,” Lawrence says.
Lawrence believes people want to spend more time outside, but they avoid it because they also want to be comfortable. They want to sleep well. They want to be clean. They don’t want to go to the bathroom in a pit. But even in that category, Blackpine Sports has it covered.
“Blackpine Sports Turbo Toilet sets up in seconds. No one wants to talk about it, but everyone wants to have it,” Lawrence says. The portable toilet “is our most underrated product, but our must unique,” Lawrence explains. “People only want to go camping as long as they can stay clean, and it makes it easier to camp with kids.”
Currently, Blackpine Sports offers its products online and in a number of brick-and-mortar shops. “But we are trying to get picked up in more shops. It’s hard. No one has heard about us.” Online commerce has its own challenge as Blackpine Sport fights to get seen, purchased and reviewed. “Our products are reviewed rather well,” Lawrence says. “We need more people screaming out: you have to try this!”
Blackpine manufacturers its products in China. "We have a great relationship with our factories," says Lawrence. "They have been really good to us and are easy to work with." But being half a world a way does have its challenges, especially when it comes to lead times. "We have about a 3-4 month lead time on some of our products. This can make it hard to forecast and to always make sure you have everything everyone wants in stock at all times."
Challenges: Finding its niche in a market flooded with established, household names. “We’re trying to get individuals to understand that a brand name does not guarantee quality,” Lawrence says.
This challenge is compounded Blackpine’s higher price point. New consumers may not want to take a chance. “They need to see them, use them, experience them,” Lawrence says, “And then they are convinced. Our customers are very happy.”
Opportunities: More focus on the Grizzly sleeping bag line. “Once campers have used ours, they never want to go back,” Lawrence explains. “But we need to raise awareness and help campers know there is a better way to sleep.”
Needs: Lawrence admits that his greatest need is marketing: getting the word out. “Our products will stomp 85 percent of what people are using now to camp with,” Lawrence boasts. But in a market where consumers rely on personal experience or word-of-mouth recommendations, Lawrence is trying to expand outside of Utah and its neighboring states.
“How can I reach that person in North Carolina? Someone out there is one or two bad camping trips from deciding they do not want to go ever again. I need to reach that person. They need to know that the outdoors can be awesome.”