The Authenticity of Selling Direct

hiline-direct-sales-mountain-clothing

HiLine exclusively sells direct.

The theory being that, direct sales allows the customer to purchase a higher quality product at a lower cost by eliminating the middle man. Historically, middle men provided great value in that they provided the only opportunity to purchase goods and services. Modern technology has changed all that, as consumers now have access to more goods, services, and information than at any point in history simply by opening the Google machine. This is true all over the developed world as we are more interconnected than ever before. In turn, the value of the traditional retailer has declined as it would be impossible for them to carry all the inventory and know all the information that is now incredibly accessible to consumers. Eliminating the middle man also allows us to reallocate the margin traditionally gobbled up by the retailer and apply it to labor and materials. There is an additional element, in that selling direct allows us to control every aspect of the customer journey from initial discovery through purchase. This allows us to better craft our story and dictate the relationships we build with customers. To us, this is the authenticity of selling direct.

So, what does this mean for HiLine and you?

  • Selling direct allows us to literally use the best materials on the market.
  • Selling direct is the only way we can build products locally in the US and remain price competitive. It costs a lot more to build things on this side of the proverbial pond. By eliminating the retail margin, we can pay more to the people who build our products and not just the dude who swipes your visa card at the store.

  • Selling direct allows us to be creative. In a traditional retail model, retailers often influence color, styles, price point, quantities, etc. In the end, these drivers ultimately influence the choices on the rack. We believe the two stakeholder model (company + customer) is a way to bring innovation to the industry. It allows us to be decidedly original.

  • Selling direct allows us to literally build a relationship with every single person who buys our products. Our products are an extension of ourselves and selling direct allows us to deliver our product on a personal level.

  • Selling direct allows us to control our story, our products, and our business as a whole. If you put everything you have into something, you want to make sure it doesn’t completely suck. We are far from where we hope to be, but selling direct allows us to control the process.  

Altogether, we are stoked to leverage modern technology to sell a genuine and authentic product using the best materials that you can buy and we hope you are too!

The Meaning of a Name - HiLine

Names.

I once heard this story about a little kid whose parents allowed him to choose his own middle name when he turned 5 years old. The kid choose Helicopter. Why? Because when you’re 5 years old there is nothing cooler than fuckin helicopters so why wouldn’t you want your middle name to be Helicopter. Now I don’t know this kid personally, but there is no way that he doesn’t grow up to be super awesome. Most of us aren’t as fortunate so we go through life with the names that we were given by parents who never would have decided to name their children after inanimate flying objects. It’s a shame really. But when you start a company, you get to name it and you can only hope it’s as cool as having the middle name of Helicopter.

So although HiLine will never be Helicopter, the same deciding principles applied. HILine came from what captures our imagination in the same way helicopters capture the imagination of a 5 year old. The mountains have always been a part of my life, always will be, but there is a subtle beauty to Montana’s HiLine. The HiLine has no mountains, no snow capped peaks, no big faces, but there exists a landscape full of stark contrasts, desolate skies, and beautiful simplicity. This forgotten landscape tucked away to the north captures my imagination and inspires us to build products with clean lines, sharp edges, and a simple aesthetic.

The mountains are our home however, and in turn it is the mountains that determine our products function. Although everything we build is aesthetically simple, it is built to be worn high in the mountains. To this end, the HiLine name takes on another meaning – the high point in the skyline. For us, this is where the fun is, no matter the season.

Lastly, I like the way HiLine sounds. I like the way it looks when it’s written out. I like that it has meaning to me. But honestly, HiLine is just a name that I really liked and no matter what happens with our company down the road, it will never be as cool as having the middle name: Helicopter.

HiLine. You gotta start somewhere.

Origin of HiLine

HiLine… HiLine has been a dream of ours for the last 12 years. The dream itself has changed shape a little bit over the years and started in different places, but it’s always been there no matter what we’re doing at the time. From day one we’ve always wanted to do things that truly interest us and on our own terms. HiLine is just the manifestation of this thinking; a way to chase the proverbial dream to see where it takes us. But before it goes anywhere, it’s important to know what drives us to take a chance on this idea in the first place. 

First and foremost, we really like to ski. I mean we really love to fuckin ski! And we love the mountains, our sleds, our van, and the backcountry that can be explored with all three. We love crushing laps at the resort too, but there is something about the backcountry that will change your life. The smell of 2-Stroke and fresh pow. It’s real, untamed, and it will totally kill you if you make one poor decision. But most of all, riding in the backcountry is a ton of fun! 

We really like clothing. Not as much as we love to ski obviously, but we have a genuine interest in clothing of all forms and we really always have. Clothing is so unique in that it sits squarely between form and function. It is equal parts survival and self-expression. We care about what we wear when we’re cruising in our trucks just as much as we care about what we wear into the backcountry. Few things exist in this same way and we have a great appreciation for the style and craftsmanship of the things we choose to wear. 

We really like creatively thinking about market economics and strategic relationships. We’re not proponents of outsourced manufacturing and the traditional retail model. Not necessarily because we just love all things Merica, but because the traditional way of doing things leads to stagnation in the marketplace. We certainly understand why most brands operate in this way, but we think modern technology has provided a better alternative. A direct sales model with a more robust US supply chain and manufacturing network allows for shorter lead times, higher quality, and greater innovation. It also allows a small brand like HiLine to maintain a closer relationship with all those involved in bringing a product to market. This way of thinking is the driver behind our way of doing things.

Altogether, HiLine reflects a true passion for skiing, clothing, and doing things locally. As a brand, HiLine has set out to design and build aesthetically simple and technically advanced insulating layers for real mountain people. Products are designed to perform well in the mountains, but also be stylistically versatile. We are passionate about all the products we create because they’re more or less an extension of ourselves. HiLine has been 12 years in the making and is rooted in what we truly love to do and care about. We are encouraged to be finally making it happen and we’re stoked to see where we can take it.