YETI Became a $3.5 Billion Comany Selling Premium Coolers to Niche Stores
In 2006, the Seider brother decided to sell durable coolers at 10x the price of commercial ones. 17 years later, YETI is a $3.5 Billion dollar brand.
What's the secret to this company's success? Let's dig in.
Conquer a Market That You Already Know
Roy and Ryan Seider have been avid fishermen from a young age. After college, Ryan started a fishing rod company and Roy sold fishing boats.
While neither of these ventures took off, they did help the brothers understand the fishing equipment market and build valuable relationships with retailers.
While selling boats, Roy searched for sturdy coolers because in fishing, they are not only used to store the catch but also as a casting platform and so they have to bear heavy loads.
He realized that there are several improvements that could be made to commercial coolers and decided to sell his own improved product with stronger lids, handles, and latches, and YETI was born.
Instead of selling at big-box retailers, the brothers decided to focus on fishing equipment stores. Here’s why:
Roy and Ryan already had connections with the stores and were familiar with the fishing expos and conventions.
Fishing equipment stores didn’t have agreements with cooler brands. Most coolers were selling at ~$40 and don’t meet the desired profit margins for specialized stores.
Target Your Believers
Initially, the product YETI sold— $400 coolers— was extremely niche, only targeting fishermen and hunters.
Instead of trying to appeal to everyone with general ads, they partnered with influential people in those communities. Commercial cooler brands weren't interested in such a niche market, so it was easy for YETI to get brand ambassadors— today, the company has over 100 of them.
When running commercials, they would do so in specialized publications targeting ~100,000 hardcore fishermen and hunters who were willing to pay extra for the best gear.
Expand Your Brand Beyond the Product
So YETI started out selling coolers to hunters and fishermen, but then they expanded to other activities like ranching and rodeo.
As the brand became known for all sorts of outdoor activities, they started selling more than just coolers - think drinkware, bags, and stuff like that.
Basically, they made the most of their brand recognition by expanding beyond just one product.
That's all for today, folks. See you in the next one!
Interesting read: How on earth I became an entrepreneur