Zoan quickly making its mark
October 31, 2011
Filed under Features
Zoan helmets haven’t been on the market for long, but are quickly becoming hot sellers for dealers. As the exclusive distributor of Zoan helmets, Marshall Distributing has witnessed firsthand just how far the Zoan brand has come.
“We’ve only had the brand for a couple of years now. It’s still in its early stages, but we produce a marvelous helmet for the money,” said Chuck Herman, Marshall’s national sales manager. “They look really good, they fit really well, and the finish on the exterior of the helmets is exquisite.”
Herman said Zoan’s ownership has been involved in the motorcycle industry for several years and was at the ground floor when the helmet business was just beginning to take shape. Because of a prior relationship with Marshall, Zoan’s ownership decided to grant exclusivity to the popular distributor.
Due to Marshall’s exclusivity, the distributor is able to offer plenty of input to Zoan throughout the development process.
“We can help with the design and give our feedback about the features that we think the general public is looking for in helmets,” Herman said. “It’s an evolution process. You discover a few things that you think are going to work and you listen to your customers. You just tweak, tweak, tweak — that’s a constant thing. The helmets just continue to evolve.”
Those continual enhancements are quickly turning the Zoan brand into a strong one.
“The features on the Zoan helmets function properly,” Herman said. “You have to have great materials so that they’re comfortable to wear. For a helmet brand that’s only been on the market for a few years, we’re at the same place and frankly better than most other lines that have been out for years and years. That goes back to the ownership of Zoan knowing helmets for so long and knowing what features to build in the helmets.”
Herman specifically pointed to the ventilation systems on Zoan helmets that provide a selling point for dealers.
“So many helmets in the industry have vents on them, but if the styros are channeled and drilled to allow air circulation around your head, the venting works. It isn’t in many helmets. It is in all of our Zoan helmets. We pay very close attention to that. The venting has to work and it does on Zoan helmets,” he said.
Even with the added emphasis on functionality, Zoan has not forgotten about the importance of style.
“The graphics people that they’re working with are phenomenal. They are throwing more graphics at us that we can probably ever use,” Herman said. “That’s a good thing to have lots of choices when it comes to putting really good looking graphics on helmets. The helmet business is first and foremost about protection, but most of us like to have something on our head that looks nice, too.”
Herman pointed out that Zoan’s motocross helmets have shown particularly strong results, but the brand’s other helmets — such as street helmets, other full-face helmets and half helmets — are catching up.
Herman mentioned that there is now an increased demand for helmets that are held up to both American and European safety standards. ECE-rated helmets require a stronger chin piece. All of Zoan’s full-face helmets are up to ECE standards.
Based on the feedback Herman is receiving from dealers, the helmets are moving.
“Nothing works for us, if it doesn’t work for our dealers,” he said. “If it doesn’t work for them, the customers don’t buy. The best gauge is dealer reorders and we’ve been getting reorders. We’re not just putting them on the dealer’s shelf and not hearing from them again. The helmets sell and they reorder replacements.”
The demand for Zoan helmets is on the rise, but this might be only the beginning as the company plans to roll out more helmet styles in the near future.
“We have a fairly small line. We don’t cover every particular category of every helmet. By next year, we won’t be able to say that. We’ll have everything,” Herman said.