The Swimfin Conundrum Continues.
By Dan Dobbin.
It’s amazing what can fall out if you shake something just right.
I’ll admit that last Monday’s article about a bitchy little exchange between two fin companies on social media was meant to be a little tongue in cheek, a filler article that wasn’t to be taken too seriously.
Well, yours truly learnt more about the world of swimfins and swimfin design on that evening than I have in the previous 30 odd years that have proceeded it.
Who knew the outlay cost for setting up a mould for a fin was 10,000 dollars! Americana dollars too.
$10,000 dollars for one fin. Double that if your fins are asymmetrical.
Times that by 6 standard sizes from XS to XL and because I failed Mathematics at school you’ll have to do the sums yourself. ( Call it interactive journalism.)
I jest. $120,000 will get you started with a new swimfin business.
Actually, wait, no it won’t. According to Monsieur Rawlins of Found boards fame, if you want to be original with your shit, throw in another 30K for C.A.D. designing, mould manufacturing and production cost.
Add money for advertising dollariedoo’s and this is getting to be an expensive little enterprise for moulded rubber aquatic propulsion units.
So it’s no real surprise I suppose to see that lots of companies wanting to be in the fin market take the road less travelled and pay to use already developed moulds. Tweek a few small design features or colour ways and your on your way. The cultural market place still dictates the the dophin shape is most sought after anyway.
( For those wanting a deeper dive into this topic see here )
Now we have no concrete information on what cost price for a company is to make a pair of fins, but grapevine figures suggest $15 US is a ballpark figure for a pair. Add in currency exchange rates, import taxes, shipping costs and other incidentals and you’re probably doubling your costs. By the time they’re sold to stores for a wholesale price of around $40 / $45 through distributers your profit margin can be as skinny as $15.
So doing some rudimentary maths again, your looking at selling around 10,000 pairs of fins to recoup just your set up costs, in a saturated market place with a clientel cultural adverse to anything asthetically different.
Now I don’t know how often you are compelled to buy new fins, either from desire or loss, but if your lucky and not particularly swayed by fashion, I’d guesstimate an average lifespan of 3-5 yrs on a fin pair purchase.
Not really a high turn over item.
So if your going into the fin market, you’re going to be potentially playing the veerrryy long game with your business.
Which brings us to back to pricepoint. What are we prepared to pay for a pair of fins? Are you prepared to fork out a little (or a lot) extra to encourage innovation in the marketplace? Is innovation even needed? Are we satisfied with what’s available?
Much to ponder once again….