Keith Simmons, founder and CEO of XTERRA Wetsuits, addressed our class yesterday morning. With an entrepreneurial spirit and proven track record of success, Simmons spoke with a high level of passion and motivation on setting goals and achieving your dreams. As a collegiate runner who made the transition into the sport of triathlon, he soon discovered the swim would be his biggest challenge to overcome. Upon realizing the benefits of wearing a wetsuit in open water competition, Simmons found himself competing in over 100 triathlons, including qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Identifying an opportunity and chasing a dream, he entered the triathlon wetsuit industry. Initially founding a successful retail store on the East Coast, Simmons has since built an empire at XTERRA Wetsuits here in San Diego – the birthplace of triathlon.
A charismatic presenter, Simmons told us of the trials and tribulations on his roadmap to success in running XTERRA Wetsuits. Revolutionizing triathlon wetsuit sales, this distribution company quickly grew to number one market share position in the United States. Through their utilization of an online direct sales model, they have been able to maximize consumer satisfaction by providing the end-user a higher performing product at a better value than their competitors. Simmons highlighted the importance of customer service serving as the foundation from which he built his company. Showing the class their new interactive website, Simmons pointed out the differentiating factors that make the consumer experience at XTERRA Wetsuits both direct and efficient. The company prides themselves on their “quick, personalized, friendly, and excellent service” – this mentality has no doubt played a key factor in their continuing growth.
Addressing such topics as international sales, the manufacturing process, financing a small business, and expanding into new markets, Keith Simmons provided a unique perspective on how to make a splash in the sports industry – we are all looking forward to having him back!