10 Minutes With…Steve Nadler, Vice President, Wenzel and Mass Brands, American Rec
November 21, 2013
It’s hard to find a college campus these days where the tailgating lifestyle hasn’t taken hold. That includes Boulder, Colorado, even as new head football coach Mike MacIntyre tries to rebuild a once-proud program. The continued growth of the tailgating category isn’t lost on another Boulder stalwart, American Rec. According to Steve Nadler, who joined the American Rec team last year after more than a decade developing products for the home improvement industry, the company is positioned to make big strides in 2014 with the Tailgaterz brand.
LOGO: Obviously, American Rec focuses on outdoor products, but the tailgating market is a growing segment for you. Why?
Steve Nadler: Tailgating is a renewed focus for our business. We do sell some products used while tailgating, but it was not a key focus. Today we are committed to being the most innovative product company in this space.
LOGO: How does licensing fit into the picture?
Steve Nadler: Our company is very experienced in licensing. We have current licenses for Serta (air beds), National Geographic (camping), and Roots (outdoors in Canada). We do not have any licenses for Tailgaterz. Licensing will come at a later time.
LOGO: What are some of the challenges of bringing a new brand to market?
Steve Nadler: Consumers are looking for great value and high quality. One key thing we discovered in our research was that consumers wanted help to get organized and stay organized before, during, and after their events. Some of our products, like the Hang n’ Haul and the Cool n’ Carry, are designed to help you arrive at your event, enjoy it, and return home as easily as possible.
Another key need we’ve identified are products that can serve more than one purpose It’s also clear that there hasn’t been a lot of product differentiation. A lot of the “same old chairs” get sold each year. We are trying to differentiate that.
LOGO: Where do you see the Tailgaterz brand five years from now?
Steve Nadler: We are a camping company first and foremost. However, I fully expect that Tailgaterz will be our fastest growing brand over the next five years.
What we do:
American Rec is known for outdoor and camping products. The company has a large family of brands, including Kelty, Sierra Designs, and Wenzel. Whether you are going on your first camping trip or a 10-day hiking trek, American Rec is focused on keeping consumers safe, warm, and dry.
Two products of note for the tailgating marketplace are the Tavern (above) and the Take-Out Seat (right). The Tavern is an easy-to-set-up bar or serving table that is great for a parking lot party or at the sideline of a youth soccer game. The Take-Out Seat is a taller director’s chair seat with a footrest. It includes a built-in cushion that can be removed and used as a stadium seat. The Take-Out Seat provides more comfort in the parking lot and then doubles as your stadium seat.