Author: Cassie Scott
Victory Archery has been in business 11 years and is doing well. In the past year alone the company added 30 distributors worldwide, grew its international business 42 percent, and released a revolutionary carbon-fiber/stainless-steel-infused hybrid arrow.
We talked to Steve Greenwood at Victory Archery to learn how the company succeeds in an ever-changing market.
The Mitsubishi Rayon Corp., which makes high-strength carbon products, bought Aldila in April 2013, giving it access to carbon-fiber technologies to increase its growth opportunities. Photo Courtesy: Victory Archery
History and Growth
Victory Archery is a worldwide carbon-arrow manufacturing company based in Carlsbad, California. It was founded in 2007 by MSV and sold to Aldila Golf Corp. in December 2010. The Mitsubishi Rayon Corp., which makes high-strength carbon products, bought Aldila in April 2013, giving it access to carbon-fiber technologies to increase its growth opportunities.
Greenwood, Victory Archery’s general manager, has worked in the outdoor industry most of his life, and joined the company in 2014. He manages about 80 employees; conducts business worldwide; and credits Victory’s success to its staff, business relationships, and internal control of its entire design and production process.
“The heart of Victory is the Victory team,” Greenwood said. “We have the best staff, but being a vertically integrated company is really what sets us apart from everyone else. It lets us control our costs, and everything from the concept to the finished product is created in-house under one roof.”
Greenwood said he’s grateful Victory Archery has “the right product mix and formula to be successful.” He said it also helps that everyone who works for Victory bowhunts, competes in tournaments, or shoots its equipment recreationally. He shoots the 350-spine VAP TKO when bowhunting hogs on his California property. By using and testing the equipment, Victory’s employees help drive the process for creating and improving its products.
“Our newest arrow [Xtortion] took three years to develop,” Greenwood said. “It was trial and error. We used it on weekend hunting trips to ensure it did what it was supposed to do. And it does. It’s very innovative. It has a stainless-steel core and high-strength carbon on the outside. The demand on this arrow is great.”
Victory Archery debuted the Xtortion at the 2018 ATA Trade Show, which Greenwood considers one of the best shows Victory attends each year. Product hype and incoming orders haven’t slowed since. Although the product was back-ordered five months in April, Victory Archery staff are trying to meet their clients’ needs. Xtortion arrows start shipping to dealers in June.
Because he’s confident in his company’s capabilities, Greenwood is certain Victory will meet demands for the Xtortion. By focusing on its internal relationships, Victory’s external relationships flourish. Victory employees like to shoot archery equipment, and most of them have worked in archery retail stores, which gives them valuable insight for connecting with dealers and business partners.
Greenwood requires Victory’s sales representatives to provide good customer service, listen to their customers’ requests, and know archery dealers on a first-name basis. The company also attends major wholesaler shows and meets one-on-one with most dealers.
“All of this has helped build strong relationships with retailers,” Greenwood said. “The biggest reason why our brand has grown is because we offer dealers a quality product at a very reasonable price, and they can profit from our products. Our margins vary, but retailers can make anywhere from 40 to 60 percent on Victory products.”
Greenwood requires Victory’s sales representatives to provide good customer service, listen to their customers’ requests, and know archery dealers on a first-name basis. The company also attends major wholesaler shows and meets one-on-one with most dealers. Photo Courtesy: Victory Archery.
Other Business Partners
Victory works with buying groups like Sports Inc., Nation’s Best Sports, National Archery Buyers Association, and the Archery Range and Retailers Organization.
Victory also builds private-label arrows for buying groups, which ensures brick-and-mortar stores can sell products not found online. That eliminates online shopping and price comparisons on its products. That move strengthened Victory’s partnerships with retailers and buying groups.
“Retailers recognized Victory supports them,” Greenwood said. “It was a turning point. We picked up a huge market share of dealers because they realized Victory’s commitment to them. There’s no business without pro shops. Without them, we’re gone, too.”
The brand also has strategic partnerships with bow and crossbow manufacturers, and builds custom bows and arrows for a number of top selling brands in the industry. Greenwood said those partnerships helped build Victory’s brand.
“We have to decide where and who we want to align ourselves with,” Greenwood said. “It’s been a tough road for us, but we made the right choices and formed strategic alliances with people and companies that are as passionate [about archery] as we are.”
Victory Archery is also passionate about enforcing its minimum advertised prices, a policy that outlines the lowest advertised price that retailers can offer for each product.
“MAP is something we fight with every day,” Greenwood said. “It’s extremely concerning, but we’re 100 percent behind policing MAP. Our policy is in the ATA’s MAP resource library, and our MAP prices are clearly published in our price guides, as are our margins.”
Greenwood said Victory Archery strives to develop relationships with dealers, and feels disappointed when it must cut ties with businesses that don’t abide by MAP. However, it’s necessary for long-term success.
MAP policies help small businesses compete and sell on service and value, rather than waging price wars with other retailers. The policies ensure a fair marketplace for retailers, while helping manufacturers protect their brand’s integrity and worth.
That’s also why Victory Archery is working with TrackStreet, a software company that protects brand identities online. TrackStreet will monitor 125 of Victory’s top-of-the-line products 24/7, and report MAP violations and other valuable information to the company. Victory Archery can then document the incident and violator, and determine whether to take legal action.
Victory also builds private-label arrows for buying groups, which ensures brick-and-mortar stores can sell products not found online. That eliminates online shopping and price comparisons on its products. Photo Courtesy: Victory Archery
Enlisting the ATA’s Help
Greenwood said the ATA has been a vital ally and resource for facing business challenges.
“Victory has been an ATA member since (Victory’s) inception,” Greenwood said. “Being a member is critical. Everything the ATA is doing today – from legislative help to giving us accurate information on counterfeiting or federal excise taxes – improves the industry.”
Greenwood analyzes the ATA’s quarterly FET reports to discover market trends, and help forecast Victory Archery’s sales, profits and expenditures. He also reads the ATA’s emails, articles and newsletters to stay informed.
“I pay attention to information the ATA shares with us,” Greenwood said. “Having data at my fingertips gives our business a better opportunity to plan for the future.”
For information about resources and business practices in this article, or to learn more about ATA membership, contact the ATA’s business and membership office at (866) 266-2776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.