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Knockout Adds Personality & Profits

Feb 1, 2010
by Brian Solomon

Just a few short years ago, Pamela Slaughter of Knockout Decals had to educate potential buyers as to what exactly a hitch cover was. Now, her company is one of the largest online wholesalers of hitch covers, in addition to similar car and truck impulse buy products like decals and license plate covers. The company started in 1999, and was not initially web based. Rather, Pamela began by showcasing her products the traditional way, at flea markets, fairs and swap meets. In those display rack days, the fledgling company boasted a whopping 1,000 different designs for gel decals and hitch covers. Since transitioning to an online wholesaler, Knockout has been able to effectively narrow down its product line to what sells best.

"Once we started selling to retailers," Slaughter explains, "we found that 1,000 designs scared them. They didn't want that many. We thought they were kidding, because from our experience, when you have that many, they sell like crazy. But we learned a bit about retail buyers, which is why we narrowed it down to 400 designs." Originally, the enterprise sold strictly to car dealerships, producing mainly hitch covers and decals with the respective customer's company name on them; that is, until customers started requesting product with smiley faces, popular catch phrases, and other custom designs. Knockout plugged away at the show circuit for a couple of years, before working out a distribution deal that enabled them to start selling directly to retail stores.

"We started manufacturing more and more for mom and pop stores, and some bigger stores," says Slaughter. "Walmart and K-Mart came to us; we had all sorts of big companies coming to us. But we figured, why sell to them at a lower cost, when we could still catch a good dollar for the item? We told them we wouldn't sell to them. And we still haven't." Knockout's hitch covers are made of automotive grade plastic, the same material from which bumpers are made. They feature a spring loaded clip, which means that customers experience instant gratification walking out of the store, popping the item on their hitch plug, and driving away with it in full display. The decals themselves, which Pamela calls "stickers on steroids," are made of a polyurethane gel that is designed not to fade, crack, peel or yellow, meaning, as Pamela explained, "they last longer than your vehicle will last."

In 2003, Knockout made the transition to online wholesaler. Since the company never joined up with the big name stores, customers generally find knockoutdecals.com by chance, whenever they happen to be searching for the types of products Knockout carries. But find the website they do, since Knockout has eked out a position as one of the premiere suppliers in the category. The company just added license plate covers to its lineup this year, and currently offers 160 designs. "If you do the research on license plate frames, there's nobody out there that carries the designs that we have," Slaughter points out.

The distance Knockout Decals has come over the past decade is something of which Pamela Slaughter is very proud. It's an achievement brought about through sheer determination and enthusiasm for her product, as evidenced by the many months she spent living in a motor home, bringing her wares around to fairs and guns shows for 52 weeks a year. Today, Slaughter's determination is just as strong, and shows in the painstaking way in which Knockout continues to streamline and refresh its product line. "We bring out new designs on a quarterly basis," she says. "We test market them in a little area before we ever introduce them to the full marketplace. We try to keep it fresh, and narrow it down to what sells."

For more information:

Knockout Decals, Inc.

15 W 1200 N Ste. B & C

Orem, UT 84097

Tel: 801-224-1111

Fax: 801-226-5288

Website: www.knockoutdecals.com

Topic: Company Profiles

Related Articles: hitch cover 

Article ID: 1263

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