SCMEP is honored to team up with Folbot, a Charleston-based kayak manufacturer who has enjoyed increased sales and a fully retained workforce since partnering with SCMEP. Eric Thome, Partner of Folbot, provided SCMEP with the colorful history of Folbot and how it has evolved over the last 80 years!
Folbot was founded in 1933 in London, England and quickly gained a reputation for building sturdy and stable kayaks. Recognizing that North America offered a large, untapped market, the company relocated to New York City in 1935. It remained here until 1953, ultimately landing in Charleston, South Carolina where Folbot is headquartered today. Folbot has continued to offer new and exciting kayaks to outdoor enthusiasts around the world for more than 8 decades.
Made in the US with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, Folbot kayaks are made of the highest quality materials and proven to withstand years of normal use. Folbot kayaks are more portable and storable than standard hard shell kayaks, fitting comfortably in a convenient backpack. The Folbot kayak is the only one of its kind that delivers on versatility, convenience, and safety. With the Folbot kayak, customers are able to unfold their next adventure year after year.
When looking to become more competitive and grow the business, Folbot leadership called on the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) to help formulate a growth strategy and navigate their way through the process. Folbot leadership was interested in growing their business, including retail and wholesale outlets.
Mr. Thome explained that the company partnered with SCMEP to develop and implement strategies to accomplish several initiatives, including cost reduction and sales and marketing tactics to grow the business.
“Under SCMEP’s guidance, Folbot has used innovative management engineering principles to further improve marketing, increase sales, and generate growth,” shares Mr. Thome. The process began with a marketing messaging session, which outlined Folbot’s desired target markets and overall messages to apply to all sales and marketing efforts. From this marketing messaging session, Folbot and SCMEP decided on several strategies to implement.
A Sales and Marketing Boost training program was introduced and executed as part of Folbot’s growth initiative. The Folbot website was revamped to highlight the new marketing messages developed during the first stage of the project. Increased penetration of the retail and wholesale markets was addressed through website customization tactics, lead generation strategies, and sales training. The lead generation strategy consisted of target market identification, an email and call campaign, and a follow-up email blast campaign designed to direct leads through the sales funnel to the website to ultimately place orders.
The collaboration of Folbot and SCMEP resulted in many positive changes for the company: overall costs were reduced; lead generation resulted in hundreds of new leads; sales training helped the sales staff with new closing tactics; sales increased. Folbot was able to retain all 7 employees and expects to expand in the future. Cost savings totaled $3,500, and an increased capital investment of $3,000 was recorded during the project.
“SCMEP helped Folbot become more competitive by providing cost reduction strategies, sales and marketing training, and website support,” comments Mr. Thome, who looks forward to climbing sales and reduced costs throughout the rest of 2014 and beyond.