Kit Lender is a company from Stowe, VT, that wonders: "What if you didn't have to bring it with you?" Like BabyQuip from later in the season, Kit Lender ponders a world where the things you need could be delivered to your vacation destination ahead of you. It sounds like a great idea but there are, of course, some problems.
The basic concept is that a lot of people might want to take a single weekend trip up to the mountain to go skiing or snowboarding and find it cost prohibitive to do so. And that's where Kit Lender would step it. Rather than buying all the gear for a single weekend or renting it from some store, Kit Lender will make sure everything you need is delivered to your vacation rental (hotel, AirBnB, condo, whatever) before you even arrive. This includes everything from jackets and pants to goggles and gloves. And shipping is free!
Customers can go online and pick out various "kits" which are usually based on a given jacket. Kit Lender can generally ship within four days of when a customer expects to arrive. Then, when finished, the customer puts the whole kit back into a box with a pre-paid Federal Express label to return it.
The entrepreneur behind Kit Lender came up with the idea because his parents own a ski shop in Stowe, VT. He, himself, lived in New York City after college but he always had clothes for friends who came up from the city to stay with him. He actually founded the company in 2014 and officially launched in 2015.
In the last year, Kit Lender made $755,000 in total sales and $106,000 in EBITDA. Kits for adults range between $30 and $44 per day while kid kits are between $18 and $20.
The downside of the business is that Kit Lender has been buying a lot of inventory to get three seasons worth. Currently, it has $550,000 worth of wholesale inventory.
Pretty quickly Lori states that she's not a skiier and sees the inventory management as a nightmare and drops out of the deal. Mark says that he sees a balance between trying to raise enough money and not wasting too much but thinks that it will cost the company a lot more than they're predicting and, because of that, it's not a fit for him.
Barbara Corcoran, who is well known to own a place on the Deer Valley resort in Park City, UT, says she's taught five kids to ski and has always found the worst part to be outfitting them every year. But, she also thinks that Kit Lender as a company will need more money in order to fund their stock purchases. She also says that rich people would have no problems just buying their own kits but that outfitting children is a continuing problem and the one that the company should focus on. For all the negatives she cited, she says that it's not for her.
Kevin says that skiing presents a unique oportunity since few recreational markets get to know where 80% of the their customers are at any given time. He also thinks the secret is to partner with one of the major passes in order to acquire new customers. Until such a time as he does that though, Kevin doesn't want to be involved.
Robert, as the last shark in the deal, has the ability to share some philosophy. He states that there are two types of companies, the quick and the dead. He believes that Kit Lender needs to be quick and grab customers right when they book their ski vacations. And, though he likes the business, he doesn't believe that the entrepreneur is moving quick enough and decides to drop out.
Unfortunately for the entrepreneur, the business model of having goods waiting for customers where they arrive just isn't very popular with the sharks. Later in the season, the sharks would hear from BabyQuip, a company that would send children's supplies ahead of the family and they, likewise, turned down the deal.
- The reason the ski market knows where its customers are is because so much of it has concentrated onto two passes, Epic by Vail, and Ikon by a different company. Both groups have been on a spending spree, buying up independent mountains in order to have the pass that offers the most mountains to ski.