The Discmania CEO goes deeper on the company's expansion
February 15, 2019 by Bennett Wineka in Interview, News with 0 comments
Discmania shook up the disc golf world yesterday by announcing it would be adding Latitude 64 and Yikun as disc manufacturers in addition to maintaining its relationship with Innova Champion Discs. The company will now offer three unique disc lines from the three manufacturers and have supply chains across the world.
Charlie Eisenhood and Jamie Thomas talked with Discmania CEO Jussi Meresmaa on The Upshot podcast after the announcement. Below are some transcribed quotes from the interview.
Ultiworld Disc Golf: Can you go into your strategy with each company and how those partnerships came to be?
Jussi Meresmaa: We definitely want to do a lot of business with Innova and our heritage brand with them. Innova is the biggest manufacturer, so having them in our biggest market in the U.S. is a no brainer. But also we want to serve new and emerging markets in Europe, Asia, all over the world. Yikun is a perfect fit for that. They have actually a long history of manufacturing discs. Many people and disc golfers don’t even know what they can do, what they have done. I’m super excited to start working with them in the long run and show what we can do on that market segment.
A lot of people listening to this podcast know Latitude already. I was playing against them in the ’90s and now we are business partners, which is pretty cool. There’s a lot of Trilogy fans we want to introduce Discmania-branded plastic to. And all three manufacturers make sense. They all exist on a different continent, so [from a] supply perspective and lead time perspective this is a good option for us at Discmania.
UWDG: How is Innova with this? Have they been okay with the fact that you’re going to be extending out to other manufacturing partners?
JM: This has been one of the hardest questions. I have a personal relationship with the Innova owners since the early 2000s. Dave [Dunipace] and Harold [Duvall] have pretty much made the platform where we all can enjoy our disc golf businesses. And those were the two guys I wanted to tell first about our new plans and strategy when the time was right.
I can’t really form what’s the official Innova opinion on this because obviously this is a really new thing and this has been pretty secret for most of the people around the tight core group. Harold and Dave understand our business decisions and our relationship will continue. I don’t know exactly how it’s going to form over the next couple of years, but I’m pretty sure that they also want us to succeed. We are still distributing Innova in Europe where we’re their main business partner when it comes to disc golf in Europe. So it’s a complicated question to answer, especially if I’m not representing them. But the feeling I have got with the discussions with these fine gentlemen, our partnership will continue and most likely going to be stronger.
UWDG: You mentioned lead times and supply and demand as a factor in this decision. Is this a solution to that problem?
JM: We need to deliver on time and it makes our job easier if we have more opportunities and more places we can actually get the supply. Obviously, we want to build the Discmania brand. We’re talking today about our partners Latitude, Innova, and Yikun, but I want to transfer that discussion into the future that we are talking about Discmania. That’s our brand that we want to thrive. Wherever there is a manufacturer, a supply partner, for us that can bring us value we are open to the discussion.
In the long run, we want to serve our customers whether it’s you, the fan, or a sporting goods chain, in the best possible way. Having a factory in Europe, China, and the US makes that job easier for us.
UWDG: Do you ever foresee there being any kind of crossover, for example, a Lux line PD?
JM: All the Discmania discs people know today we definitely want to keep manufactured by Innova. That’s not going to change. Whatever comes from the Evolution line is going to be totally different. We are not turning our back to Innova and the Discmania Originals line. We’re just adding more, so now there are more options.
UWDG: Can pros throw any of these lines or are their contracts stipulating that they stay with Discmania Originals?
JM: Absolutely they can throw our new Discmania lines. If it is a Discmania disc you can throw it.
UWDG: The Yikun partnership and the lower price point on the Active discs make complete sense. I’m still trying to figure out exactly where Evolution fits. Is this an upscale brand for more premium plastic and higher end discs, or is it more like a European-distributed and manufactured version of what you’re doing with Innova in the United States?
JM: I would say a little bit of both. The plastic blends we’re working with Latitude are going to be unique. The price point will be a little bit higher, so there’s going to be a vertical extension to our price points upwards. Personally, I believe that there is room for higher price points when there is a reason for the price. So this will be a really interesting offering for that $20 price point.