About Jeff Harbaugh
Jeff Harbaugh received his MBA in finance and international business from the Wharton School and spent some years in international banking, corporate development, cash management, consulting and turnaround management. In 1991, he walked into Nitro Snowboard’s U.S. distributor in a three piece suit. The suit lasted about a day and a half. The involvement with action sports nearly 20 years- so far.
As Nitro’s President, Jeff helped to rationalize the company, raise some capital and ultimately sell it. In the process, he met then Transworld President Brian Sellstrom who taught him the value of a good martini and suggested he write an article for Transworld Snowboarding Business. That article evolved into the Market Watch column that ran for nearly 15 years until Jeff, in a burst of entrepreneurial zeal, decided to take this new direction. Thanks, Transworld, for the support over the years.
As a consultant working with industry companies with issues of transition, an analyst, and an observer of industry trends Jeff has tried to keep retailers and brands ahead of the curve so that they could make inevitable industry evolution work for them.
At the peak of the snowboarding industry in the mid 90s, he explained what the trends in the industry would be as it matured and consolidated.
In 2002, he warned the skateboard industry that decks from China were happening and would fundamentally change the industry.
As early as 2004, he was recommending that retailers focus on inventory turn and gross margin dollars rather than sales growth and gross margin percentage. Current economic issues have made that even more appropriate.
His list of the five characteristics of successful core retailers is even more valid today than it was when first published years ago.
In addition to Transworld Business, Jeff’s analysis has appeared in Ski Area Management, as “The Harbaugh Report” on the SAM web site, in the National Association of Ski Areas Journal, Boardsport Source, Snowboard Canada Business and in Snowsports Industry of America (SIA) publications.
Jeff has been a speaker or panelist for the Board Retailer’s Association, at SIA’s annual Trade Show, TransWorld Snowboard Conferences, the National Ski Areas Association annual convention, TransWorld Skateboarding Conference, and for the International Association of Skateboard Companies.
If you’re in the Action Sports industry and want to run your business better, if you want to enter the industry, or if you just want to understand it because the demographic is interesting to your company or investors, Jeff can help you do it. That’s what this site is about.