It would be faster to grow KUIU reselling to retai...

It would be faster to grow KUIU reselling to retailers. Do you know why KUIU is a whole sale direct business? Why do I not sell KUIU to retailers like every other brand?

Before starting Sitka, I always asked why hunting gear is decades behind Mountaineering Gear? I believe Mountain Hunting equipment should be leading with innovation, not following. Mountain Hunters and Guides rely on gear in the most demanding conditions on the planet. We hunt despite the weather and many times because of the weather.  There is no lodge at the top of the mountain, weather does not cancel our trips, we don’t stay in the tent, we go anyways.

I firmly believe, because of the demanding conditions, Mountain Hunter’s need uncompromised products made with the finest materials and manufacturing. Products designed without price targets so there are no limitations on what goes into our products.

In building Sitka, I realized how much the retail model strangles innovation. With the growth of big box retail price has become too important to drive sales. Price targets for the retailer cripple innovation. No Toray, no The Merino Company, no Icon Carbon Fiber and no Super Down. What you find are cheap knock off fabrics and low quality manufacturing and poor performing products.

KUIU was created so I can design and build products with as much reliability as money can buy. 

Because of this I have nothing to hide what goes into KUIU products. KUIU is the only brand that is totally transparent in sharing our world-class suppliers; Toray, The Merino Company, Pittards Leather, Cordura, Polish Down, YKK, Duraflex, Polartec, 3M and Bemis. I want you to have confidence in KUIU products. Because KUIU products are made without price targets for retailers, 12 ounce Carbon Fiber pack frames and the most advanced layering system ever created are the results of this model.

Why does the competition not tell you who makes their fabrics? Or who is doing their cut and sew? What ingredients go into their products and why? Maybe they have something to hide?

Fortunately, the Internet has forever changed retail and we no longer have to rely on a sales person to tell us what to buy for a once in a lifetime sheep hunt.  The Internet has given us the power to search and research products and brands, read unbiased reviews, post reviews, post complaints and become experts in the gear we buy.

Because of the internet today’s consumer knows more about the products and has changed retail into a self-service business. Why should you pay a 50% retail mark-up if you are the expert? Why pay a retailer an extra $150 for a pair of Attack Pants to hang them on the rack when you know all the advantages to Toray Primeflex Stretch Woven fabric in the pant?

This wholesale direct business model is what allows KUIU to produce the highest quality gear on the planet. It is what will allow KUIU to continue to lead with cutting edge innovations and push our market further than ever before. In my opinion we all win this way.

Jason

This article has 96 comment(s)

  1. Bryant Reply

    Great post. I love the constant product innovation.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Bryant!

  2. Brian W. Reply

    Thank you for this approach to business!! I can’t wait to get my closet full of your product. Every one I know who owns it can’t speak highly enough about the quality…guides and avid hunters alike!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thank you for commenting Brian.

      J

  3. Mike Reply

    Love your approach and candor Jason!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Mike!

  4. JH Reply

    So … if the retailer has a price point of $199 for product “X” in mind, then the wholesaler/producer can only increase THEIR profit by using cheaper materials and production methods?

    In your experience, what’s the average “mark-up” in a retail situation, and then how much pressure can the retailer put on the producer?

    As you may tell, I’m a fan of your direct-to-consumer model as much as I’m a fan of your products.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      GREAT Question!

      If it costs a manufacture $50.00 for a pair of pants. The manufacture or brand sells the pants to the retailer for $100.00 (50% margins are very typical). The retailer resells the pants to the consumer for $200.00. This is why cheap fabrics and manufacturing now dominate the market.

      Jason

    • David Reply

      Once upon a time I worked at a big box sports store. This store would run a sale on Thanksgiving day, where they would extend a special discount to the employees. The discount was cost + 10%. Needless to say I got some new snowboarding stuff on the cheap. REAL cheap. Like $78 for what went out the door for about $400 cheap. In the case of snowboards the markup was apparently 350-450%. I don’t know what the typical markup is for clothing, but I guarantee it’s way higher than whatever Jason is charging.

      • Jason Hairston Reply

        Thanks for your insight David! Wholesale is half of retail. A $200 Jacket at Wholesale sells for $400 in a store.

  5. Joe Hawkins Reply

    AMEN!!!

    The only thing left to make Kuiu fully transparent would be to show the profit margin. 🙂

    J/k………..

    Been slowly saving up and making the switch over to the kuiu products. Have not been disappointed and there is a significant difference in the quality of the product. Hope you always stay lean, mean, and truly innovative.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Glad to have you on board Joe!

  6. Matt Reply

    That’s why we shop KUIU.. You just need to move out of Komnifornia.. 🙂

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      I like California:) Thanks Matt!

  7. Will Jenkins Reply

    Great explanation. Always excited to see what’s next for KUIU!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Will!

  8. Lawrence Reply

    Lots of informational stuff out these last couple of months….eagerly awaiting the new product announcements due out this month and speculating about the Dermizax NX…is there any truth to this, Jason?

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      More to come on NX soon!

  9. Nigel Ivy Reply

    Great blog, Jason! Love your passion for producing such a great product! Your passion for no compromise is possibly your biggest draw from customers.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thank you so much Nigel!

  10. Allen Harvey Reply

    Kuiu isn’t the only company using Toray or any of the others listed. You have a well made product. Your product sizing is about the worst I have seen in the industry. As to the pricing and direct marketing, in theory its great but in reality its just ok. Reason being is high volume reduces pricing also. Right now where your prices stand they are no bargin and slightly lower then comparables. Now if you had high volume and direct marketing then your prices could/would/should be lower.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Hi Allen,

      Please explain more I am curious. I am not sure what other Toray products you are referencing? If you are going to make statements like this I hope you will back them up with some examples. The examples I find of comparable Toray products are as much as 3 times more expensive.

      Tell me more about the fit of our products you are complaining about?

      Jason

    • Brad Reply

      Please do explain because the last time I checked increase in demand (higher volume) causes prices to go up.
      Also, the addition of a marketing strategy typically means higher prices to cover the cost of doing so and then even higher prices to keep up with the demand for having created a demand from advertising.
      Then…in order to keep up with this new found demand, product innovation is left behind in order to compromise and meet the demands to have product and increase profits. Oh wait…that sounds like Sitka 🙂 (Sitka is still a decent product, just a little pricey)
      Keep up the good work Jason and staff 🙂

      • Jason Hairston Reply

        Thank you for your support Brad!

  11. Suchee Reply

    From a mountaineering perspective, first and foremost your quality and cut(fit)has impressed me the most. Then, you offer it at 50% less than what I’m used too. Sometimes I just have to shake my head.

    I don’t think I’ve ever thanked an outdoor manufacturer before because I’ve always felt I’ve equaled my gratitude by paying so much!
    Just wait till Climbing magazine and others put an editors choice award on most of your product! I hope your servers can handle the traffic!

    Jason thank you for bringing this wholesale direct internet model to the outdoor community, and most importantly to us mountain hunters/junkies.

    Now about that stripped down dermizax NX chugach…?!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thank you! I sincerely appreciate it. I am working on a new product that is what you are looking for. It is in the early development stages so please be patient.

      Jason

  12. Colby Kendell Reply

    This is why I will never use another hunting product other than Kuiu. Aside from your products being the best in the industry…I am so impressed with your customer service and how you care enough to inform all of us (your customers). I work in retail and have seen how mark ups destroy the quality of our products. I will recommend nothing but Kuiu to everyone I know. Keep up the good work!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thank you Colby!!

  13. Josh Wright Reply

    Jason,

    You are making a difference in the hunting industry. Keep moving forward. You are on the right track.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Josh I appreciate the comment.

      JH

  14. Matt Reply

    Great post Jason, reaffirms my decision to hunt in KUIU gear. I am one of many who appreciate posts such s these and your top notch customer service. Time for some summertime hiking and mountaineering now in anticipation of dall sheep, Wyoming mule deer, and Kodiak brown bear this year!!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      You have great year coming ahead to say the least. Please send us lots of photos.

      J

  15. Chris Stagg Reply

    KUIU is a breath of fresh air in this marketplace, and I couldn’t agree more with everything in your post. I hope your lead is followed by others. I will continue to buy KUIU gear for the quality AND value, but it also really makes me feel good to know that this “revolution” in the outdoor equipment/clothing business model is seeing success.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      I really appreciate it Chris!!

  16. Matt Reply

    I meant to post this in my last post in response to those complaining about the fit of KUIU. I am of the opinion that KUIU products are accurate in size but at the same time they have an “athletic” fit. In this day and age a lot of so called sizes are really oversized and they are truly inaccurate. Much like a large soda at the movies has grown substantially in the last few decades, so has clothing sizes across the board. Guys that have found the XL in a Carharrt jacket fits may find that the KUIU XL is tighter. KUIU in my opinion is cut for in shape, athletic hunters and not for those that may be a little less athletic. I don’t mean any disrespect by this, it’s just the way I see it.

    • Justin Starck Reply

      True. Another topic of unjust negative reviews stems from consumers buying gear for something it was never intended to do. That is like giving a negative review on a Civic because it can’t pull your 40’ trailer.

      • Jeff M Valunas Reply

        Justin and Matt-
        Well said!!! 🙂 And VERY P.C.

        You could have said-
        Put the cheeseburger and fries down, and hit the trails/walk paths/parks and outdoors to ‘loosen’ that ATHLETIC FIT gear!!!

        But-
        Maybe that isn’t what you were thinking!?!? 😉
        Keep hunting HARD buddies! I always enjoy seeing the-
        “Fruits of your Commitment/Desire/and Labor”, Justin.
        Matt, I assume you have some of these same characteristics!
        JMV

        • TJ Reply

          The fit of Kuiu gear is perfect for athletic types. It’s performance is second to none in the hunting industry. If you are big boned, buy a size up and quit complaining.

        • Jason Hairston Reply

          JMV well said!

      • Jason Hairston Reply

        That is a great analogy! Thank you Justin.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thank you Matt! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the support!

  17. John Reply

    In response to Allen: I saw a pair of ski pants using Toray fabric and on sale they were too expensive.
    Jason has upped the ante for hunting gear manufacturers, and they haven’t caught up.
    Size- if you got the wrong size did you call the service dept ? I’m “standard size” and still find that sometimes I’m a medium and sometimes large.

    As for price… Last I looked KUIU was reasonable.
    Price out smart wool or blue ice tops (they don’t do camo)

    Yes I’d like prices to be lower especially since I’m unemployed, at the same time KUIU provides something no one else does.

    I’ll keep saving for a pair of attack pants.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thank you John!!

  18. Darryn Reply

    I have and will continue to support your company for many of the exact reasons you present here. Even though it seems momentarily disappointed when we buy products that are improved in a more current version, I can accept that knowing that it’s in an effort to improve the product more than the cost of manufacture. Thanks for your vision and commitment to gear performance as a primary factor, we “gear heads” appreciate it!!

    • Jeff M Valunas Reply

      Jason-
      Enjoyed the post! Because I have been a subscriber to the- ‘Building KUIU Blog’ since nearly its inception, I know and understand this information. I DO see the reason, to state it again, as the amount of customers and those interested in KUIU should be aware of this, important fact and knowledge. I have read every post from you,(here on ‘Building KUIU Blog’) and NEVER get tired of the information presented or the ‘refreshing’ of the understanding it provides. As I stated before-
      “INNOVATION takes a MASSIVE amount of explanation, for the consumer to understand FULLY”(slightly modified/edited version of original statement).
      YOUR ‘DIRECT TO CONSUMER MODEL’ has provided INNOVATION in this market, that has NEVER BEEN MADE AVAILABLE before!
      Thanks, and “Into the future, shall KUIU and its followers GO!!!”

      Darryn-
      I felt that same feeling, when my ‘Original Icon Frame and Harness and 3000/6000 Bags’ were improved upon, in such short order. I hadn’t even owned them for a full year,(closer to 8-10 months) before hearing of a new design. At first, I was disappointed! After some long consideration, I realized that- Such INNOVATION is going to be fluid, and this marketing strategy allows that to happen, at speeds NEVER BEFORE SEEN!!!
      Once I finally realized that- ‘keeping up with the jones’, was not necessarily something that applied to KUIU, I GOT OVER IT.
      My ‘Original Icon Frame and Harness, with 3000/6000 Bags’, is STILL nearly the best pack/frame/and harness available! ONLY the improved version, has the POTENTIAL to be BETTER! 🙂
      It still gets the job done, at a light weight and should perform for many more years to come.
      JMV

      • Darryn Reply

        I did get over it as well and ordered the ICON 5000 as well 🙂

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Innovation never rests.

  19. Glenn Reply

    The only thing wholesale direct to customer internet shopping lacks is the ability for the consumer to touch it, see it, and wear it before they buy it. There are always going to be the customers who want to walk into the store and buy it and have it right now. The youtube video’s are great, the more the better for me when buying new products, and this blog is a huge help. I was fortunate enough to be able to see the product first hand at an expo before I made an order. I believe your products have the ability to go places and be purchased by people who have never hunted a day in their lives, but who want quality, warm, comfortable and good looking outdoor clothing.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Glen for the comment. Well noted.

      J

  20. Mike Keller Reply

    Thanks a lot. Please don’t ever change.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Never!!

  21. Shane Close Reply

    Thanks Jason! This is why I use Kuiu!

    Not to bash Sitka, but the main reason they sell as well as they do is because the were light years beyond anyone else for a number of years. Now they aren’t. With Kuiu you take the core idea of Sitka and take it to the extreme so that everyone wins. Kuiu products surpass Sitka’s and eventually (I doubt it’ll be very long.) the sales will reflect that. People’s eyes were opened with Sitka and now there are a lot more people looking for that kind of clothing. Kuiu is the King of the Mountain. With the products now being more available it would be awesome to see the kind of consistent sales and the numbers you guys will get. Will Sitka die out? No. Some people just like their camo and will take an inferior product because they believe the camo pattern is superior. The only reason I like some of Sitka’s gear is for whitetail hunting, but hey I don’t even own any of it. All I have is Kuiu.

    Anyways, enough rambling. Thanks for starting Kuiu.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      You are more than welcome Shane! I sincerely appreciate your support for KUIU.

      Jason

  22. Joel Biltz Reply

    Great post Jason. Some people are just plain hard headed and will never get the picture but I feel you make one of the best products at a fair price. Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to start getting my new gear that is on preorder. Thanks again Joel

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Joel! I look forward to seeing the photos of you in it with your goat!

  23. Butch Reply

    Great post – its all about how it benefits the consumer. The fabric and workmanship seem to work well for me. I’m willing to trust this internet wholesale company more than some retailers, because of the consumer feedback and involvement. When others ask “What do think about your KUIU camo”, I just say its a lot more than just camo!
    Keep on rockin it Jason

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Butch! I will.

      J

  24. Ryan Kohatsu Reply

    For guides and folks that cannot compromise on performance, it is very good to know few corners, if any, were cut. This is important for folks who don’t have time to waste trying to figure out what works best. I know I don’t have time to mess around. It is nice to know I’m actually getting all this research and innovation for the money and Jason, Shaun, Brendan, and the staff are just nice people too!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks for the comment and continued support Ryan!

  25. sam Reply

    Jason,
    Just to bolster Mr Harvey’s comments:
    1)A 2 second google search for “toray softshell” reveals this company ZAJO, which I do not no details about but they sell a TORAY softshell for 159 euro ~$207 US. Point being you are not the only company pedaling Toray. And you aren’t the cheapest. Toray makes textiles and sells them to whom ever will buy it.
    2)I own clothing from sitka, kuiu, O.R., Arcteryx, Mountain hardware and several other brands of well built gear. (And I don’t just walk around in corn fields in thatgear either. I spent 32 hard earned days scouting for and party to two desert sheep hunts)Yours merino shirts fit fine and are comparable in price to other merino gear, and they do as merino shirts should. Your softshell vest and coat are average in their fit, but could be offered in a “long”. I don’t know how your pants fit because I bought the Sitka Mountain instead. they were comparable price (actualy $10 less at msrp, and I got them on a sale, and lastly I bought locally) but in the end I would have paid the $10 more to try the Kuiu guide pant but the two biggest downfalls were you maintain this “wholesale only” I could not touch them and get a feel for their hand; secondly in the interactions I have had with your company I have been thoroughly disappointed with your customer service.
    3)I have a comment about your fantastic ability to pat yourself on the back about this wholesale approach and how you save us SO much money. Your products are just as expensive as other GREAT company’s products that sell RETAIL! You get the margin in your pocket rather than the retailers! I am very pro-free-enterprise so I commend you for your ability to turn a profit and go on sheep hunting photo shoots three times anally as a result. We should all be so motivated to strive own a profiting company. However the fact remains, bragging about this method doesn’t save the hardcore guys and gals out there any money! So if you are going to keep up this act of helping us all out and being everyone bud then make your prices half of retail on comparable gear and get your customer service in gear and up to speed on HELPING CUSTOMERS.

    4)Lastly I leave you and your readers this to chew on. Other companies who buy textiles from a brand, say like W.L.Gore, aka GoreTEX require a very stringent second tier of inspection on both the garment and the sew house’s process if the company wants to sell that garment boasting a GoreTEX label. Goretex is so proud of their gear, they do not want their name associated with any company who sells half sewn gear. Does Toray require the same of KUIU? or any other brand of gear?

    Jason, you make some good products now, and you made some good stuff with Sitka. Your downfall is how you try to make it look like your on the same team as a bunch of us hardworking hunters who want their money spent on gear to be the best option for the price.

    Regards,
    Sam

    humility is a virtue

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Hi Sam,

      Wow, thank you for such detailed comment. I appreciate your perspective and your bold opinions. I will respond to your claims and opinions to help with clarity.

      1) I went on ZAJO’s website and the only 159 Euro Jacket they sell does is not made with a Toray fabric. Enclosed is a link of this Jacket >http://www.zajo.net/en/highlander-jkt.p1474.html. Please let me know what I am missing here or if this is not the jacket you are referencing.

      Toray does make a range of fabrics just like Gore-tex as you mention below. They are not all the same in price or performance. Just as not all “Gore-tex” products you mention below are priced the same such as a $179 Gore Tex-Packlite jacket is not the same as an Arcteryx $700.00 Gore-tex Pro-shell Jacket. It is important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples in fabrics and apparel products. This is exactly why I believe it is so important to do your research and make sure you know what you are buying. This is why I call out all the fabric details in our products. We exclusively buy only Toray Primeflex fabrics, which is the premium performance line.

      2) I understand the advantages of being able to touch and feel a product before purchasing. It is certainly the downside to this model. I am a big fan of how our product fits our core customer and at 6’3″ I believe the length of our gear is more than generous. I do not build our gear as a one size fits all.

      3) You have missed the whole point to this post, I apparently have not done a good enough job explaining this? Our gear is 1/2 the price of comparable products. You are just not comparing apples to apples. As mentioned in your comment about the Mountain pants you purchased for $10 less on sale than our Guide Pants. You paid a comparable price for a sourced knock off fabric that cost 1/4 of the price of the fabric in our Guide Pant and you paid only $10 less.

      This is exactly the power of our direct model. You are getting a $400 soft shell pant for $200 or your can pay $190 for a $100 pant as you did with the Mountain Pant.

      This is the exact point of the post. Please let me know if you are still not getting it and I will further explain.

      Please note, I only go on 1 sheep hunt a year to test product and shoot photography at KUIU. I can only wish for the day I get to go on 3 in one year!!

      In regards to our customer service, it is the absolute best in the business! I adamantly believe in our people and how dedicated they are to servicing our customers.

      4) I know the inter-workings of W.L. Gore fairly well and have toured their facilities and testing rooms. Gore requires testing on how the garments are made to make sure they do not leak in their rain-room. They require hoods, pockets, and zipper to be made in a certain way to insure they do not leak so the consumer does not blame Gore-tex.

      If you truly believe in Gore-tex over Toray Dermizax Laminate, then by all means wear it. I have done the research for almost a decade and have experienced them both 1st hand and will bet my life on Toray 100% of the time.

      If being totally transparent with who I buy fabrics from and why I include the ingredients of my products is my downfall then I am certainly in trouble. However I believe our customers deserve this!!

      Also you mention you own KUIU products, but I cannot find you in our customer data base? What products do you own and how did you buy them? HEPL ME HERE???????

      Warmest regards,

      Jason

      • Jeff M Valunas Reply

        sam-

        I think that is “Jenga”!!! 🙂

        Jason-

        Your PROFESSIONALISM and CHARACTER, will ALWAYS shine thru the dark and bitter!

        Nothing but LOVE for KUIU here-
        JMV

        • Jason Hairston Reply

          Jenga! GREAT TAKE Jeff!

    • Josh Wright Reply

      There are no words to explain Sam’s post. I bet he has never owned a KUIU product and the fact he is jealous of your sheep hunt says it all.

      • Jason Hairston Reply

        No comment:)

        • JWhite Reply

          Mr. Hairston is a saint, I commend you on your ability to not feed the Troll.

  26. Joel Reply

    Awesome post Jason! I agree completely with your approach and hope the best success for your unselfishness. Keep on doing your thing!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      I appreciate it Joel!

  27. Scott Reply

    I thank you for these informitive explanations,I believe they help us all to understand a market we know little about.I found Kuiu when searching for hunting gear that was U.S. made .I read somewhere that your products were made in Canada. I know this is no longer the case and that initially dissapointed me untill I read a post that you made explaining the reasons. I find it refreshing that this company seems to be genuinely engaged with its customers.I look coward to trying some of your gear.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      I look forward to getting you in some of our gear!! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Jason

  28. ken fiechtner Reply

    when are your pants going to be made in xxxl tall and 34 inch inseam. you mentioned you are 6 ft. 3 inches tall, so you must have 34 inch inseams. I cannot find pants with a 46 inch waist in sitka or kuiu brands.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      We do not make a 46″ waist pant. We do have 34″ inseams.

      Jason

  29. Josborn Reply

    Wow this stuff makes me laugh! I have worked big box outdoor retail, seen the costs and the mark ups. I also was involved in the buying process from manufactures. The pressures of reaching a certain price point for these companies is a huge factor in quality! Jason I love what you have done here Kuiu is in my opinion the best hunting gear you can get your hands on! Also loved trying on all the gear and putting my hands on the new stuff at the show in SLC a few weeks ago. Keep it up!

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Josh!

  30. Greg Perry Reply

    I think you can overcome the “downside” to the manufacturer direct model by trying to make it out to as many hunting shows/expos as possible, and promoting on this blog and facebook where/when you will be. I was sold on Kuiu when I felt the stuff and tried it on at the SLC hunt expo. Another huge benefit to the direct sales model is it gives you direct contact with the end user of the gear. As far as sizing goes, you could assist by giving more detailed measurements as to how Kuiu fits, sort of like REI does with many of their products on their website.

  31. Scott Reply

    Jason,

    No offense but I saw you at WSF and I’m either a tall 6’6″ or you’re a short 6’3″! One sheep hunt a year, dang you’re raping us all of our money! Other than my bad perspective of height (b ball players always look shortwr than listed) and the jealousy of you doing a sheep hunt each year I can’t find much fault in your model or products. BTW – I’m on year 3 of either hunting sheep myself or helping some great friends out on some sheep hunts and I plan to continue.

    I have neither the energy or time to research comparable products to offer any real criticism so I’ll trust you’re honest and continue to replace my Sitka gear with yours little by little. I do plan to ramp this up in prep for a 2014 Stone Sheep hunt and if you could find a way to get some long rain pants that would be really cool…..

    Keep up the great work and if you could find a way to offer some Attack pants without a hem that us tall guys could finish off that’d be aweso e.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Well noted Scott on the talls. Sounds like the sheep bug has a hold on you too!!

  32. Scott Reply

    That sheep bug is tough. I’ve heard you either get it after the first hunt or you don’t and all I know is on my Dall hunt in 2009 my knees were shaking on the first hike the first morning and it only got worse from then on! Drawing a Desert tag here in NV in 2010 after 30 years of applying wasn’t much of a cure either…. Neither was helping out some guides last year…. It’s truly a sickness and I doubt a Stones hunt next year will cure it! That said great gear does make it easier to deal with this sickness though.

    All I have left to say is it’s real good to have to deal with this kind of bug and not something serious (seriously) like cancer or something else. It’s truly unbelievable some guys get so wound up about high end clothing we use to enjoy an activity we’re blessed to be healthy and wealthy enough to pursue. I grew up hunting in jeans, cotton waffle longhorns, cotton socks and Pendeltn wool flannel shirts and to this day my dad still wears that stuff at the ripe age of 75 and somehow has managed to survive and be successful all these years….

    This new, high tech clothing sure does makes the day nicer and ain’t my daddy’s pants!

  33. Rod Reply

    Good products at a fair price. Now if we could talk you into some knee pads for the attack pants and a super down vest the world would be perfect!

  34. Craig Germond Reply

    That’s why I like KUIU. Your a customer driven company not retailer gross income driven. Your always changing the game and coming up with more innovative products that assist hunters in any weather or terrain to help them be successful. Team KUIU keep pushing the envelope with all the great products you produce!

  35. Jon Reply

    “4)Lastly I leave you and your readers this to chew on. Other companies who buy textiles from a brand, say like W.L.Gore, aka GoreTEX require a very stringent second tier of inspection on both the garment and the sew house’s process if the company wants to sell that garment boasting a GoreTEX label. Goretex is so proud of their gear, they do not want their name associated with any company who sells half sewn gear. Does Toray require the same of KUIU? or any other brand of gear?”

    LOL Really Sam?

    I have the ability to buy products from several clothing mfg’s at wholesale pricing and in large volume, from some very high end clothing MFG’s that offer very techincal products. Unfortantly many of those product never get enough sale through due to price point to become a staple line. Jason offers a true direct concept that every one with an understanding of techincal licenses are excited about. Even some retailers are excited by guys like Jason! Why? even thought they may lose some sales becuase of his ablility to under sale techincally comparable products? Becuase we HATE Gore’s business practices that have stunted the ability of Gore’s emerging competitors to enter better techincal technologies into the market place. As new technical products and MFG’s enter the market Gores strong hold will and has decreased, thus as we have seen, making higherend and more techincal fabics become more cost attainable.

    Gore’s business practice are so bad the US Federal Goverment opened a case against them. But I have an odd feeling you already now that.

    I’ve seen some great techincal products grown in house by some clothing companies (that are tired of Gore’s business practices) that smoke goretex specs, but by they time they go through the retail market up process they become to high of a discriminting price point.

    Its a changing world and I’m glad to see Jason using a high end techincal MFG like Toray and selling it direct for a great and highly competetive price point.

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Well said Jon! Thank you for this perspective!

      J

  36. JR Reply

    On a side note… please wholesale direct us some of that new heat gear micro mesh stuff thats been floating around the rumor mill 🙂 I need that for this summer scouting and early season archery.

  37. Colby Kendell Reply

    Sam-

    That’s too bad you had a such a bad experience with KUIU’s customer service. I personally have been nothing but impressed. That’s the great thing about not being able to feel the products you’re purchasing, because if you need to return/exchange something KUIU’s customer service is top of the line (I know from experience).

    My uncle owns a company called Redrock Precision (you can see him wearing all KUIU gear on his website redrockprecision.com). Anyways, he makes long range rifles so he hunts in some pretty gnarly country. He used to wear all Sitka gear for years until he heard of KUIU. He now has us all hooked on it. We only use gear that can withstand the harshest of conditions.

    Lastly, regarding fabric…my brother in law works for Descente clothing who make extremely high quality products as well, comparable to Arcteryx, Gore-Tex, etc. He has been all around the world testing and learning about different fabrics. He is still to this day amazed with how incredibly lite and durable KUIU products are and how they can charge next to nothing for the type of fabric that KUIU uses and the quality that you get (ie, to get a coat comparable to KUIU’s super down hooded jacket through his company it would be two even three times as much $$).

    Jason is obviously the expert here, so let him do what he does!!

  38. kyle peck Reply

    If you were retail, I would not have purchased over $ 3,000 worth of merchandise!

  39. Dennis Reply

    Nicely said Jason. I appreciate your work. As an extreme elk hunter I have been watching your company for a while and since the Verde intro have been stocking items as I can afford them (actually as my wife will let me). I wasn’t one to take the Sitka route instead I was a Russell guy. As you said before, this is not an apples to apples comparison. I really DO feel I am getting $100s off retail. Anyone who does research will not argue with that. Now release the damn hats already! Lol!

  40. Jeremy Reply

    Great article. Stoked to not see Kuiu on every shelf in Bozeman. Can’t wait to hunt in my Kuiu this Fall, Keep up the good work!

  41. Paul Reply

    Jason, I was really struck with your post. I’ve been struggling myself on how to best start a business since almost everyone goes the retail route (it must be right, right?). I’ve been blessed with one great retailer that is eager to work with me, but since I have refused to lower my standards, my profits were completely slashed to nearly nothing. Not to mention that I lost control of customer service. From a completely wet behind the ears newbie, thank you for helping me make up my mind on how to best continue on in this industry. Cut the middle men, not the quality. In my opinion you’re doing it right.

  42. Jay Reply

    Don’t throw the babies out with the bathwater. Sure, not all retailers offer a lot of value to the manufacturer, especially manufacturers of premium gear. But not all retailers are box shops. Many of them are small pro shops that have guys working there who are in fact experts with gear. Add local knowledge of the areas a customer may be hunting, and an ability to match your product with the local environment. Not to mention the ability to walk into a store, see the product, touch the product, try the product on, and take it home without having to ship it, then return it when the product doesn’t fit.

    I’m not saying your condemnation of the retail world is entirely wrong… to the contrary, the box shops you mention probably don’t add a lot to the value chain (the best bow manufacturers still don’t sell bows through box shops), but stereotyping all retailers based on your experience with Cabelas is shortsighted, in my opinion. Most of your customers probably aren’t the guys buying the knock off crap sold at those joints anyway.

    I don’t think it would be hard to identify and work with dozens of really great shops run by guys who are as passionate and as knowledgeable as you are about serious mountain hunting.

  43. Tom Reply

    First, excellent post, Jason. Everyone lives within their own budget so whether or not you choose to purchase KUIU clothing is simply a personal decision. What’s nice is the honesty in knowing what your getting. Some may be able to pull the trigger on a $2-3K order. Fine. Others may need to save and budget for a high-end piece of gear. Fine too. It is what it is – without huge supply chain mark-up. It’s expensive. You get what you pay for without the mark ups. Deal with it.

    Secondly, since Gore was brought up – GoreTex is an inferior product, period. It fails within minutes or if your lucky hours of light use. After that, it’s a poor excuse for “rain gear”.

  44. Rudy Reply

    This was really a great read. It takes brass balls to take a stand like this against the norms of a huge industry. Kudos!

    Rudy
    Founder & Filmmaker, Huntography

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Thanks Rudy!

  45. Todd Watkins Reply

    Hey Jason, I just preordered the 1850 pack/suspension and can’t wait to get my hands on it. While researching I came across the Tenzing suspension that looks very similar but is $700. What makes it $700? That blows my mind, is there really that much mark up? Makes me even more proud to say that I use KUIU, thanks!

  46. Matt Reply

    Jason,

    I know this post is old, but I just stumbled across it while researching some of your products and searching for “Kuiu Retailers”. While I will most likely order some of your products in the future I wanted to give you some feedback on how you could improve this model. This is a bit long winded, but I hope you take the time to read it as I believe I have captured the thought process being someone who is an avid hunter yet just becoming familiar with your brand. The main issue here is being able to get your hands on the product. I am an avid online shopper, however there are a few things that I avoid shopping for online: clothing and shoes, with the exception of stores with policies that I will discuss later…

    There are 2 main reasons why a well informed consumer would want to get their hands on a product: fit and feel.

    Feel is an easy one. Unless you are a fabric expert you don’t know by name what every fabric feels like and what it’s properties are. This isn’t enough for me to not buy a product, but it is an annoyance. A solution is to sell samples of your fabrics and camo patterns so that I can cheaply know what I’m going to be getting. As a software engineer I know that almost no computer monitors are calibrated correctly and a patterns look depends on lighting. This is a major decision when ordering camouflage and deciding what will work best for a person’s intended hunting area. For instance, I was at Cabela’s this weekend and a salesman was helping a guy pick out camo and he said something to the effect of: “well here’s what we carry, but it’s all mossy oak and since we don’t have any hardwoods in Colorado, it’s way too dark.” But how would the inexperienced know that shopping in a store under florescent light? So we can see this issue isn’t isolated to the wholesale model, just more easily remedied with the ability to readily return and exchange products, which brings me to my next point.

    Fit is the bigger concern for me and there are different concerns for different products. I am a tall guy (6’5″) and most of my height is in my torso. Therefore even tall sizes are often too short in the arms, hence why I stick to USGI ACU as they come in extra tall sizes. You mention that you believe that your products are long enough for taller guys and it just might work for me, however it’s not worth being out a lot of shipping and the hassle to give it a shot. Same thing goes for hats, I have a huge head and virtually no beanies cover my ears (the Sitka ones don’t even come close), so while your large may do the trick, starting at 7.25″ (relatively small compared to my 7.75″) I am not confident enough to order. If you were as confident in your products as you say you are, you should implement some sort of free return policy. The main concern here is discouraging people from abusing the policy, so maybe you limit it to one item per category (shirt, pant, etc…). I know the goal is to limit overhead, but companies like Eastbay and Shoebuy have realized that the increase in volume due to consumer confidence helps offset the cost of the few people that take advantage of it.

    Lastly, there is something to say about retail in that it gets your product out there and also there is always the economics of scale. From what I can tell Kuiu makes a quality product, however it isn’t well known outside of certain circles. Us technical guys have a hard time with this, but a good social marketing campaign could help solve this problem.

    Matt

    • Jason Hairston Reply

      Matt,
      Thank you! We appreciate your suggestions and advice.

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