Mouth-Guard Company Shock Doctor Aims To Be Next Under Armour With Foray Into Apparel
Shock Doctor Sports CEO Tony Armand "wants to take a much bigger bite of the sports-equipment market" to become "the next Under Armour," according to a cover story by John Vomhof Jr. of the MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL. Shock Doctor in recent years has "moved beyond mouth guards to become a top brand in sports-protective gear, selling products from jock straps and cups to football gloves, knee braces and insoles." The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company is "growing at a rate" of 20-30% per year with annual sales "expected to hit" $100M within two years. Armand "wants to expand in categories like apparel," which would require Shock Doctor to "up its marketing game." Armand said, "I think we're in as good of a position as any brand in sporting goods to be the next great success story, a la Under Armour or Nike." Shock Doctor has "methodically added other sorts of safety equipment, but expansion accelerated after its purchase by Minneapolis-based Norwest Equity Partners" in '08, which was followed by its "acquisition of Cutters Gloves" in '12. Armand wants to grow the brand "through a combination of geographic expansion, innovation within existing product lines and the introduction of new categories." The company is "ramping up its international marketing efforts, seeking to become more of a global brand" through initiatives in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, South America, Central America and Russia. Shock Doctor Senior VP/Marketing & Product Development Jay Turkbas and his team are "working on product innovations for the next five years." The "biggest test of Shock Doctor Sports' branding muscle, however, will come when it breaks deeper into apparel -- a move that's on tap" for late '14. Shock Doctor already has "dabbled with compression attire." But now it has "developed new technology, including gear aimed at runners and triathletes," that Armand and company execs "believe will transform the segment" (MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/22 issue).