Find out what’s next for gloves in Skiing Business interview with John Kloser of Swany America

The good folks at Skiing Business conducted a live Facebook chat with John Kloser, Vice President of Sales for Swany America, about the latest in gloves. Here’s a look at the great questions asked by Skiing Business and other Facebook users, along with John’s answers.

Jarl Skibumdad Berg (Facebook user): What is your best choice for spring gloves?

John Kloser: I would recommend our FX-10. This is a light-weight Flexor glove with leather palms and fingers. Flexor has mobile knuckle joints for better dexterity. It also has a 3D mesh on the back and a wrap-around strap.

Skiing Business: Would that be a good backcountry glove too, John?

One of the new gloves with Touchtek leather coming out this fall from Swany

One of the new gloves with Touchtek leather coming out this fall from Swany

Kloser: Yes the FX-10 would be a good ascent glove, lightweight and flexible. But we have developed some backcountry specific gloves for 2013. We are using the NeoShell fabric from Polartec. NeoShell is a waterproof fabric that has unprecedented breathabilty. We have three models (See them here) that are being well received in the marketplace. REI is putting all three of our backcountry gloves into their stores for this fall.

Skiing Business: Speaking of new fabrics and technologies, it seems like more brands are incorporating technology into their handwear. Where do you see that market going?

Kloser: Wearable technology is becoming very important. We are currently selling G-Cell gloves that are bluetooth adaptable and will sync to your phone. You don’t need to take your gloves off to talk on the phone — you feel a vibration and just push a button to talk. The speaker and the receiver are on your thumb. In the next few years, you will have gloves that have heaters, play music, answer texts, it is almost unlimited where the technology will take us. The back of a hand is a natural place for the controls of your technology.

G-Cell gloves let users talk on the phone without taking our the phone

G-Cell gloves let users talk on the phone without taking out their phone

Skiing Business: Who does Swany Gloves see as the market for that kind of technology-enabled handwear?

Kloser: Early adapters are always the first to jump on new technology. But once you ski with a G-Cell glove, or as the technology improves on heated gloves, eventually it will just become a standard feature of a glove. Sort of a like windshield wipers on a car. Just expected.

Skiing Business: Speaking of gloves that have built-in phones, doesn’t Swany also have gloves that allow you to operate a smartphone without taking them off? How many kinds do you have?

Kloser: Yes, we have many touchscreen compatible gloves. All of our G-Cell gloves have Touchtec Leather. We also have several other gloves with touchscreen compatible materials. All of our Toaster Mitts will be touchscreen compatible for 2013.

The newest Toaster includes a smartphone-friendly inner glove.

The newest Toaster includes a smartphone-friendly inner glove.

Skiing Business: What are you doing to separate yourselves from the plethora of handwear brands on the market right now?

Kloser: We have always relied on making a good-fitting, quality glove that keeps your hands warm. We have grown through word of mouth. The best test for a glove is to ski on a cold day. Are your hands warm or not? Swany dominates the Rockies because we make a warm glove.

Skiing Business: You mentioned backcountry and technology, but in what market/category do you see the biggest growth potential for Swany Gloves?

Kloser: We are the #1 ski glove brand for the specialty ski market in the U.S. It will be difficult for us to get a larger market share in ski. I think backcountry is a natural fit for Swany because backcountry enthusiasts want the best product. If you build a better mouse trap, they will beat a path to your doorstep. We can build a better product and this market seems natural for Swany.

Skiing Business: We imagine owning your own factories makes R&D more fun. How does having your own factories play into what you’re putting on the market?

Kloser: Being a vertical producer of gloves gives us total control of our quality. We can develop new products and know our competition will not see it until we put it into the marketplace. The factories also have a vested interest in keeping the Swany brand strong and will show us new fabrics and technologies they find. It allows us to have more people working on growing Swany and making us stronger.

Skiing Business: What are the biggest challenges you guys face in the industry today?

Kloser: The biggest challenge is the warming earth. The winters are getting shorter and coming later. This is creating a very competitive market with an oversaturation of product. This devalues brands and is hurting the specialty ski industry.

The recyclable Eco-Circle

The recyclable Eco-Circle

Skiing Business: Speaking of environmental issues, talk about Swany Gloves’ sustainability initiatives.

Kloser: We are very proud of our Eco Circle perpetual recycling glove program. We have developed a “closed loop” recycling system that uses a recycled polyester shell and recyclable insulation and lining. The consumer buys the gloves and after it finally wears outm they return the glove to Swany to be recycled again into another pair of gloves. This process uses 84% less energy to recycle polyester than to produce it from the original petrochemical base.

Swany Gloves is dedicated to bringing you the best of outdoor adventure. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter.

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