I became involved in the heated apparel industry a few years ago, as it became clear the benefits were endless, and the potential for growth was astronomical. Nevertheless, I was amazed at how little ground the industry had gained in recent years. A technology with meaningful advancements that remains hidden from the mainstream, despite a proven demand.
It begs the question, why are coat manufacturers not making their own heated apparel? I was perplexed and I had to find the answer. It didn’t add up. With a clear demand, why would a company like Burton, the North Face, Patagonia or Columbia not offer their own heated jacket?
I decided to ask the people who developed new products for these major coat companies. The SIA Snow Show in Denver Colorado seemed the perfect place to do so, plus we were already attending to promote our recently launched Torch Coat Heaters. My inquiries took me down a rabbit hole, and when I emerged I had come to the conclusion that everything was about to change, but not how you might think..
As I talked to people from these major brands, I became aware of a pattern that brought me to 3 clear reasons why major coat companies will not come out with a heated jacket anytime soon. Which incidentally led me to a solution, but first let’s explore these 3 main reasons.
1. Been there done that
The first reason coat companies will not offer heated apparel is because they had tried it before with little success. One gentleman who was the owner of a coat company that specialized in ski patrol jackets said they had tried the technology years before and it was unsuccessful. He motioned with his hands to give me an idea of the size of the battery they used and it appeared to be the size of an iPad. I grinned as I showed him the battery we used that weighed a mere 4 ounces. But even with the advances in the technology they were unwilling to try something so drastic. Batteries and electrical wiring were so foreign to their business they didn’t even want to entertain the idea. This was a common theme for most of the brands I talked to, and the only way to get them to change will be for other companies to first blaze the trail, and only when they are faced with the ultimatum to change or die, will they contemplate the change.
2. Do what you do best
The next group of jacket manufacturers were open to the possibility of exploring the technology knowing that it is safer and more effective than ever before. But they were hesitant to move forward because it simply was not their forte. They specialized in making coats, not batteries or anything electrical. Sure, they could invest in the development, but as I was told, they succeed by being the best at what they do, and innovating with brands that are the best at what they do. They extrapolated on the parallel via their buying department who will buy weather-proof fabric from Gore-Tex, and zippers from YKK rather than replicating the technology.
The third reason you will not see a major brand release a heated jacket is separate from the first two reasons and is the absolute dead end. It should be no surprise that electrical wiring and batteries will have a higher rate of failure than a fabric or seam. This is the biggest hurdle and it was explained to me very succinctly. Imagine you are a high-end brand and some of your jackets retail for over $600, now add a couple hundred dollars to that price to account for the heating elements and battery. If there was a problem with any of the wiring you will end up replacing a very expensive jacket. It will also be a challenge deciphering between manufacturer defects and negligence, which will be even more costly.
The solution to every brand’s problem is found right in our patent pending technology, and is the reason everything is going to change. Our product Torch is a battery-operated heater with technology much like that found in other heated apparel, except Torch is removable from the jacket. With a simple integration, any coat manufacturer can offer a heated jacket without ever touching a wire or battery. Since Torch is removable from the jacket, the warranties are completely separate as well.
With the needs of the manufacturer clear, we were able to effectively communicate the benefits of our technology and were able to land deals with companies that will soon be offering coats with the option to be heated. The first domino has tipped and it is just a matter of time before every other coat manufacturer follows suit.
Shop all of our heated clothing here.
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