Taking on the big Guys
As Uncle Ben said in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
We learned that lesson in winning international awards just months after launching Renoun.
That ISPO Gold was technically a trophy, but also a big red target on our backs. Every major ski company that had been duped out of a prize saw us — little us, a bunch of college engineering geeks — as the reason why they didn't get a Christmas bonus.
Even our HDT supplier turned on us and tried to claim the invention as their own.
So the next four months were a tightrope dance. We had the HDT patent (filed a year before our first ski was even built) but it didn’t stop the other guys from trying to copy us. And we knew if we made one wrong step, we would drown in a sea of legal fees and surely die.
We relate our ultimate success to the amazing people of Burlington, Vermont — our hometown. Three different law firms jumped in, pro bono. The same advisors who helped protect Keurig for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the revolutionary Boa Technology for Burton also helped us protect HDT from the threats.
Rossignol came pretty darn close, buying a full-priced Renoun ski from us and attempting to reverse-engineer it as quickly as possible. But we haven’t seen anything close to what we’ve produced, and with our HDT patent now in hand, we look forward to Rossi’s next move.
All of this stirred up some publicity, and both fueled and solidified our success. The New York Times included Renoun in a 2015 roundup of the top ski gear for the winter, and Hemispheres features us in their in-flight magazine for United Airlines. Marriott Hotels asked to highlight Renoun in an online campaign. We said sure, of course.
Throughout this journey, we’ve tried to stay true to our roots. We began this as engineers and, though we’re a little older (and, hopefully, wiser) now, we still strive to make a simple and elegant product — just what this simple and elegant sport of skiing deserves.
At the end of the day, we’re here to show people that a tiny company from a tiny town can take on some big names in (and out of) the industry and come out on top. We’re here to inspire the men and women working tirelessly on their own invention to keep going. To never quit.
To anyone out there pushing the envelope: Don’t ever give up.
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