August 6, 2012 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
With Race-Proven LED Lighting Solutions for Off Road Trucks, ATV’s and UTV’s being Built in the USA, Bulldog-Lighting© is Now on a Level Playing Field with the Competition
Ms. Keren Mentz
Bulldog-Lighting(c)© - GET TUFF!
Bulldog-Lighting(c)© is your
source for high quality, race-proven LED Lighting Solutions for Off Road
trucks, ATV’s, UTV’s and more. From the Baja 1000, to the trails of the
Rubicon, Bulldog-Lighting(c)© LED Light Bars are used by the Pros and Off
Road enthusiasts. Our products are built off our experiences both on and off
the beaten path. Our mission is to provide High Quality, Durable Lighting
Solutions for nearly any application. When you install Bulldog-Lighting©
products on your vehicle, you are installing Baja proven components. We
guarantee you will be completely satisfied with the quality and durability
of our LED Lighting products.
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – August 6, 2012
Bulldog-Lighting© started in September of 2011 because of my 17 year old
son, (co-founder) Dylan Sievers. Dylan was a co-driver in off road racing
with Chris Reinertson of Reinertson Racing. One of the reasons that we
started the business was because there was not really an affordable option
out there for LED Off Road Light Bars. With my previous companies, I had
extensive manufacturing and production experience and decided that we needed
to be able to offer these off road light bars. We could do it at an
affordable price, so we went to China and found a manufacturer that would
create or do molds for our designs. We designed the engineering aspects that
we wanted to incorporate into the light bar; the things that we needed it to
do as far as it being heavy-duty, durable, bright, and keep it affordable.
CEOCFO: What are the advantages of an LED Light Bar?
LED lights are really the new technology in terms of less wattage consumed,
better light, less emissions issues, and they last longer up to 50,000
hours. There are fewer problems with broken parts. The LED is encapsulated,
it is indestructible, it is waterproof, durable, and just uses less power.
When it comes to running any kind of auto accessory, usually the Off Road
LED Light Bars are auxiliary lights on vehicles, and power consumption is
everything. You leave your lights on in your car and your battery goes dead.
With our Spike Edition, which is our two-inch LED light, it can run off a
nine-volt battery and it puts out eight hundred lumens.
CEOCFO: Have your customers been looking for a better solution or is it something they are happy to know exists when they find it?
I believe that our customers are happy to find an affordable alternative to
an Off Road LED Light Bar. What we hear from our customers is that they did
not buy LED Light Bars before because they simply could not afford it. Our
prices range from 20% to 40% less than our major competitor does.
CEOCFO: How are you able to provide this lower cost alternative?
Ms. Mentz: We do not have the mark-up, even with bringing production to the US. We have to explain to our dealers that we do not have the margins in there that our competitor does. However, we believe that volume, and the market is there to put more LED Light Bars on off-road vehicles. The dealers will benefit because the consumers know that the dealer cares about offering affordable solutions. This is a tough economy, consumers care about a well-built product at an affordable price. And we hope that companies interesting in being a dealer will appreciate their consumers and offer a quality product at an affordable price.
Ms. Mentz: We made our debut with our DUAL Off Road LED Light Bar which is a patent pending dual color, whereby we switch it up and it is a bright white light, and then you switch down and it is an amber light, so it kind of serves as two bars in one. We took our time to come to market. We spent this time and energy and money on our patent and our copyrights, however, we continued to hear from customers that they wanted a bar that was Made in the USA. Our major competitor has been in the business for about seven years, and without any real competition. They have said they are Made in the USA, thus the reason their products cost more. It has resonated with the public and the consumers want to support them. We decided that we could do the same thing and build our products here in the US. We are trying to work right now on bringing our PC board to the US as far as manufacturing that piece of it, then getting other parts from China, and building them here. You cannot say you are MADE in the USA, if you are not. Many companies say that they are Made in the USA. However, there are very strict federal guidelines to be able to claim that. Rather than say we are made in the USA, we did not want to be misleading, so we say we are Built in the USA, and that is exactly what we do. We bring all the parts together and we build them here in our San Carlos shop. We are working to have more of the components come from the US. But not all material is made here so we must source to China for those parts.
Ms. Mentz: I think it is both, and to the demographic, that we reach it is important. I personally see a growing trend that people want to spend their money where it can support and benefit us here in the US. That was another reason that we thought it was a good thing for us to decide whether we make it here or not. We may not make as much profit on one item but we will make it up in volume. We want to be able to do our own quality inspections, be closer to our R&D, and we just feel that we can build a better product by having it close to home. Not to mention we add jobs to our economy.
Ms. Mentz: We are focused on building our dealer base. We also sell online at Bulldog-lighting.com. We are doing a lot with the Off Road Race circuits. As well as SEMA, custom builds. We have made a few mistakes along the way with websites and are trying to get that corrected. In the beginning we did not have our dealer packets as quickly available as we would like. We have corrected that. We do not want to over-saturate the market with so many dealers. As we speak, we are redesigning our website because it is not as user-friendly as we would like. We are committed to our dealers though and providing them with full support.
Ms. Mentz: Our major competitor, Rigid Industries, has been in the industry for several years, with a few others companies that are competitors. However, those competitors as a small business are not fully engaged in providing a product that they completely support. We know that the market is wide open for our products because the #1 reason people have not bought LED light bars is because they were too expensive. The Off Road Industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are a few Chinese companies that offer similar products. They are not built to the same quality standards and are made in China. No support, no warranty. We offer limited lifetime warranty on our product, which is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. As far as market opportunity, it is about getting our name and our brand out there. Then showing how tough we are and now being Built in the USA, the market is wide open for us.
Ms. Mentz: We have several sponsorships that we are doing with Off Road Racing, ATV, UTV, and 4 Wheel Drive events. We use social media, print marketing, and everything we can do to get our name out there. We have an uphill battle with our major competitor as they have been in the market for a while. Consumers recognize them as the only off road led light bar Made in the USA. At least they used to say that. We have to let consumers know that we too build our products here yet we are 20-40% less. It will be about getting the word out that we are here for the consumer. We have quality products that are durable and affordable. The business name Bulldog-Lighting© was chosen because we knew we had to be tough and tenacious like a Bulldog to compete.
Ms. Mentz: Off-road LED Light Bars are primarily for just that, and are not DOT approved. However, as auxiliary lights, any vehicle can have them. As far as the light output, it is five times greater than a regular halogen lamp. We are working hard to try to use different applications in terms of farm equipment, warehouse equipment, cars, and boats. We are looking to install on a few cars, particularly a Mustang GT right now. No matter what, if you are in areas with fog, you need that additional light. One of the areas that we would like to focus on more is big rigs, with tractor-trailers. We believe there is definitely room to expand the market for big rigs, especially in foggy areas such as the farm belt in California. There is a safety factor in having these lights on vehicles. LED lights are low power consumption and they offer a better light that we would love to see on the tractor-trailer rigs. We believe they will benefit greatly from our DUAL LED Light Bar. Something we are working on is getting our DOT approval for our lights.
Ms. Mentz: It is extreme and very difficult; however, we have the testing and other items needed. We are committed to getting them approved for our customers. DOT approval is a very tedious process that will probably end up taking us about a year or more. Our patent pending design, the DUAL LED light bar will be a huge addition to the market. Our goal is to have that DOT approved.
Ms. Mentz: LED technology in the past has been so expensive and kind of out of reach and out of touch for many consumers. There is an initiative now in the US especially to go with LED lights, to retrofit existing lights. Prices have come down. They are a fifth of the power consumption, and when you take that and multiply it by all those millions of cars on the road, it is a benefit to go with LED, less lamps in landfill. A Halogen lamp last about 2000-3000 hours, LED lights are about 50,000 hours. As they come to their life end and burn out, they slowly fade rather than just stop working, so there is not a warm-up or a start-up period. They are a true bright white light that is very efficient and effective. As far as green groups or safety groups, one of the things that I look to do is work on those relationships with these groups for us to get a little more information, even for ourselves, about educating our consumers. As off-roaders, you are in the backwoods all the time. We definitely do not want to have a huge carbon footprint, so maybe LED lights on vehicles will help that a bit. We need to get some additional information. LED technology changes all the time and we have to keep up with those changes. They have higher wattage LED’s that are available now but the issue with that is the higher wattage LED’s are more power consuming.
Ms. Mentz: We have personal financing. Although our 17-year-old son saw the potential in this market first, he was too young to own the business. Therefore, we collaborated. I am a third-generation electrician with a partner in our electrical business that supports our goal. I have been in electrical for twenty years, which was the other reason we decided to get into the business. We understood LED lighting and the design. With being in manufacturing in a previous business, it was very easy for me to do. I sold that business a few years ago, it was personally financed, and we grew it to a couple million per year. We have one major competitor, and when we made our debut at the Mint-400, the greatest off-road race in Las Vegas, NV we were approached by our competitor with a notice that they crush little companies. It was quite interesting. That is one of the things for me as a woman, fuels me even more. It fuels the fire in me to make sure that we get the Bulldog-Lighting© name out there and that we continue to be the leaders in creating innovative design and creating product for consumers, continually making it affordable. If our consumers are trying to be green and they cannot afford it, then it is our fault because we want to be greedy or we want to charge more. I do not see the business plus in doing that. We are making enough money. Our customers are important to us! Bulldog-Lighting being Built in the USA now puts us on a level playing field with our competitor. They have revised their company statement as now being Assembled in the USA, no longer Made in the USA. We know the opportunity for our growth is huge and we plan to take it! We will be at SEMA 2012.
People should be paying attention to Bulldog-Lighting today because they
will see the growth against the industry giant. We want to be known for
being the innovator in LED Light Bars. We will continually create products
for the consumers that they need, and continue to keep them at an affordable
Bulldog-Lighting being Built in the USA now puts us on a level playing field with our competitor. They have revised their company statement as now being Assembled in the USA, no longer Made in the USA. We know the opportunity for our growth is huge and we plan to take it! We will be at SEMA 2012. - Ms. Keren Mentz
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