BRAND SPOTLIGHT: Bern helmets

Berning love: Bern’s desirable helmet range has been making a colourful impact on the cycle world and beyond. Ultra Sport’s Pat Neenan talks Jonathon Harker through the versatile brand...
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Can you briefly fill us in on the history behind Bern?
Bern is born out of the vision of Dennis Leedom, who previously ran a very successful winter-sport helmet company. Dennis developed Bern with the idea of creating helmets versatile enough to cross over a multitude of different sports. The company was started up in 2005 and has been growing in size and popularity ever since.

How long has the Bern and Ultra Sport distribution partnership been in place?
Ultra Sport has been working with Bern since summer 2007 and has been successfully increasing numbers in both summer and winter product ever since the deal.

Has the cycle market been a target before, or is this a new approach for Bern?
The cycle market has always been a target, but with Ultra Sports’ existing ties in the watersports and snowsports sectors these were the most obvious areas to start selling into. Bike is fast becoming the focus with Bern’s hugely innovative ‘bike friendly’ constructions such as zip mould and brock foam.

What do Bern helmets offer above and beyond the competition?

Bern helmets are so versatile in their design and construction that they leave the rest behind. No matter what sport you do or how stylish you are, Bern has a lid to suit you – from ultra lightweight cycle and snow helmets to sink fit, low profile fashion pieces such as the iconic Baker and Watts shapes. The variety of colour ways and individual shapes sets them apart from the competition.

Is the ‘cool factor’ a key selling point for Bern?

Of course! The individual styles provide the wearer with a good fitting helmet with low profiles and great graphics.

Are there any new products on the horizon?
The G2 has just been released for the 2010 summer line and incorporates the zip mould (ultra lightweight) technology with added adjustable vents for a variety of climates and sports.

Is there a marketing plan in place to support the brand?
Yep. Bern has a massive team of UK riders covering all the target sports, the team is growing all the time, our wakeboard and snowboard teams boast some of the biggest names in the country and requests come in thick and fast with eager sports boys and girls after a hook up. We gain regular product reviews in loads of consumer magazines that all want a piece of the Bern pie. Getting samples back from reviewing magazines and sites is almost impossible, which indicates how desirable the brand really is.

Do you have any other brands for the cycle market?
We are also the proud distributors of the Ultra Bike Bag (previously the Neil Pryde Bike Bag). It’s a bestseller for us and probably one of the better selling bags in the country, with demand increasing month-on-month due to more and more people travelling with their bikes.

Do you offer retailers any special incentives?

We offer great margins for retailers and have a margin builder programme for those who do volume and commit with decent pre-orders. We also hold in-season product to back up the retailers and have some great POS materials. Our rider focus is the main thrust of our marketing – we’re very much a riders’ brand and we like each retailer to get some key guys and gals on the helmets – there is nothing like seeing a Bern to make you want a Bern. Our website receives thousands of enquiries each month and our Retailer Locator points visitors to their nearest Bern retailer. All that said the product is simply our best marketing tool – the more we sell, the more we sell... And the hungry customers are seeking out the brand.

How can interested dealers get in touch?
To find out more about Bern and what it can do for your customers visit the web site www.bernunlimited.com or the Ultra Sport Website at www.ultrasporteu.com. Alternatively, email at Pat@ultrasporteu.com or call 01332 813150.

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