Kota Longboards is a Denver-based company that produces high-quality longboards for the general public. Kota’s primary selling point is that he builds professional-grade longboards for regular folks. To have a high-quality longboard with a beautiful design, you shouldn’t have to be a tough rider who bombs steep hills and banks sick turns. You may be completely new to boarding, seeking a unique and exciting way to travel about town, or just wanting to learn a new skill. Kota Longboards offers a board for you, regardless of your ability level. That is, at least, the aim. Beginners will love the Kota longboard, but even experienced riders will have a great time on these boards.
In the year 2012, Kota Longboards was established. Mike Maloney, the company’s creator, built the first Kota longboards in his garage. The firm was dubbed “Knights of the Air,” or KOTA for short. The catchy term is a play on the French infantrymen’s nickname for pilots during World War I. These pilots were among the bravest in history, ready to put their lives on the line for what was then a new, unknown, and frightening technology: human combat flying. The early aircraft were unstable and fragile, and the fights were very hazardous. With each flight, these guys put their lives in jeopardy. Kota Longboards wanted to incorporate some of that daring spirit into their company.
Mike was having trouble scaling up the firm to generate more significant earnings since he was a new business owner. He needed to be able to make more boards, and he wanted to do it at a cheaper cost. He believed Marcus Lemonis would be able to assist the business, so he enlisted The Profit’s assistance to move his company from startup to supernova.
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Profitable Kota Longboards
Episode 16 of Season 3 of The Profit
Marcus may not have been interested in Kota at all if it hadn’t been for the skateboard industry’s recent success and fast growth. Every year, the business brings in billions of dollars and supports whole subcultures of amateur skateboarders, hip hop fans, and professional and aspiring athletes all over the globe. Marcus is constantly on the lookout for outdoor-related businesses. Marcus is sure to be interested in any product that can get people outdoors and active, particularly younger ones.
Mike and Marcus had opposing philosophical viewpoints right away. Mike approaches business in a military-like manner, which Marcus does not always agree with. Mike’s adamant refusal to enter the shortboard market comes off as stubbornness rather than commercial acumen, at least in Marcus’ eyes.
Marcus claims that the skateboard industry is still in its infancy. A shortboard is simpler for children to manage than a longboard. Mike, on the other hand, does not see it that way. One of Marcus’s first major problems is that the boards are too expensive to produce.
The quality is excellent, but if they are to prosper, the manufacturing costs must be reduced. Marcus believes they can still manufacture comparable quality boards at a higher margin per unit. Mike’s adamant refusal to enter the shortboard market, coupled with Marcus’ belief that the shortboard market is where they can earn the most money, results in a squabble. Mike’s target market, according to Marcus, should be young people. Mike, on the other hand, believes that his audience is older. Mike is certain that they will be able to cover the costs of production.
Marcus does some background study on the company. Mike has had difficulty keeping workers in the past, he discovers. He’s also astounded to hear that Mike’s business partner, Josh, put in $50,000 of his own money and works for free. Marcus meets with Mike and his wife to discuss the figures. Despite almost a million dollars in investment, the business is unable to make a profit. Mike and his wife are eager to make a difference.
Marcus makes his offer at this point. He will provide $300,000 to the business. Mike will give up 40% of his stock in exchange. Only 25% of that 40% will go to Marcus, with the remaining 5% going to each of the three workers. Mike and his wife consider it and decide to accept the offer. Mike is hesitant to relinquish control of the decision-making process, but he recognizes that this is the best option.
After Profit, There’s Life
On December 1, 2019, KOTA Longboards ceased operations permanently. “If you are fortunate enough to possess one of our longboards, we hope you appreciate and enjoy it,” their Instagram profile says.
Given the turbulence on The Profit, their collapse is unavoidable, but it may nevertheless serve as a useful lesson in the art of compromise — striking a balance between vision and adaptability – for all businesses.
After the program aired, the business faced a difficult period. Mike’s whole workforce left the business. (Yikes.) Marcus (understandably) no longer wanted to be a part of the company after seeing the huge departure of workers. Mike flew alone for a time after he withdrew his offer. With a new factory, an emphasis on direct sales, and even a nice write-up in Company Week, Mike was able to keep things afloat for a few more months.
Shortly later, the firm fell radio-deafeningly quiet, and it is now officially out of business.
Surprisingly, if you search Kota Longboards and The Profit, you’ll come across several stories connected to the Kota website discussing how Marcus Lemonis isn’t who you think he is. According to some of these stories, the program damages as many companies as its benefits. It’s unclear whether or not this is correct. It does, however, imply that Mike was dissatisfied with the consequences of all that happened. Could the agreement have had a role in the workers’ abrupt disappearance? One of the reasons they were on board in the first place, and ready to accomplish so much for so little, may have been because they trusted in Mike. Is it possible that after Mike gave up his authority to an outsider, they no longer wanted to be a part of it? Who are we to say? In any case, it’s something to think about.
Royal Pitch is not connected with Kota Longboards, The Profit, or any of its subsidiaries, and the information given in this article is only for educational purposes.
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