By Alicia Cunningham | Feb 15, 2016
Sports Gear Bags
In the competitive gear bag market, David Wunderli, president of OGIO, understands that quality matters. To that end, he hopes that a consumer can recognize an OGIO bag not simply for its name but for its feel, its quality, its style -- its very DNA.
“We have to distinguish ourselves by our innovation, style and quality,” Wunderli says. To that end, Wunderli adds the company will also rethink manufacturing processes this year and adopt 'strategic shifts' to improve the business.
Though the company started by making gym bags, today OGIO is a leader in several other sport and lifestyle categories, particularly golf. OGIO is now the global leader in golf bags, with distribution of its bags on every continent and within every major country where the sport is played.
“We now outpace every other golf bag brand,” says Wunderli. “We transcend golf club ‘brand’ loyalty and offer a bag that stands on its own for style, quality and innovation, no matter the brand of clubs that it carries.”
This advantage has been strong enough to overcome the recent downturn in the golf industry, marked by a steady decline in the number of rounds played in the United States.
“The golf industry has seen a thinning out of brands in recent years. Despite the challenges of an industry that is over inventoried, with several of the big players posting declining sales, OGIO has consistently achieved high-double digit growth year after year,” Wunderli says.
To stay ahead of the competition, OGIO recently released the Silencer club protection system. With its patented design, golf clubs are locked into place with invisible fingers at the base of the bag. The shafts and heads stay secure and do not move, even when the bag does, allowing the golfer to have a quieter experience while at the same time protecting the clubs from the constant head to head battering.
But Wunderli says that OGIO is more than a great golf bag brand. OGIO has been the leader for years in the power sports gear bag industry as well as endurance sports such as triathlons, Ironman competitions, cycling, and running. And OGIO’s lifestyle bags, designed for business and travel, carry the same DNA.
“We have the very best gear bags in the industry and have carried that heritage into our lifestyle bags. We are a premium line that exceeds the expectations of our intelligent and demanding demographic,” Wunderli says.
Challenges: OGIO operates within a competitive category prone to knock-offs. “Our gear bags can be replicated,” Wunderli warns. OGIO addresses this challenge two-fold: by continuing to deliver innovative, higher quality products and through intellectual property protections. “We set the bar high for people to chase us, but we also secure design and utility patents to protect us,” Wunderli says.
Opportunities: Wunderli is excited about the new apparel lines that have been released. “We are getting very good at dialing in a unique design that reflects our aggressive lifestyles,” he says. And yes, being located in Utah helps. “Utah has grown into its own. It is rapidly becoming known as one of the greatest states for outdoor recreation and is home to some of the biggest brand leaders in the outdoor sports industry,” Wunderli says. OGIO also benefits from the design programs offered by local colleges and universities. “We have exceptional designers here at OGIO. Our graphic design team creates every logo. Every color palette. Every catalogue. Every ad. Every P.O.P display. They do it all. I attribute the brand feel and DNA to our designers – most of whom graduated from Utah schools.”
Needs: If he had unlimited funds, Wunderli admits that he would hire more designers and expand into more product categories. “But there is a balance, and we need to match our R&D spend with the markets that are ready for new innovation and that fit within our competitive wheelhouse.” According to Wunderli, OGIO is dedicated to being fiscally responsible and carrying very little debt. “We self-fund everything,” he explains. “For our pace, we are hitting on all cylinders.”