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Meet Mark Wallace of Parlor Skis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Wallace.

Mark, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Parlor was founded on the idea that just making the highest quality, most tailored skis on the market wasn’t enough. We felt New England needed a laminate construction ski that could hold up to the intense conditions that are typical in this region – one with a wider platform, combined with more progressive all-mountain shapes.

As we worked to meet rigorous product requirements for an optimal product that performs ideally in New England winter snow and ice – we quickly learned that before Parlor, there wasn’t a brand that represented what it means to be a New England skier, both in terms of grit and individuality as well as the type of skiing New England tends to cultivate. Parlor supports a passionate group of skiers – some travel the world, some move out west, and some ski every weekend at loon, but at the core they all identify as Eastern skiers.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Wallace story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a custom ski builder. We build the highest quality most tailored skis on the market. We make skis for the directional all mountain skier, our designs go from 90-120mm underfoot and are designed for a variety of skiing styles. We believe that in addition to the quality of construction understanding who the skier is and how they like to ski and having the flexibility to tailor the specifications of the ski to that skier is what produces the best on snow experience possible.

The thing that sets us apart as a company is our ability to connect with our customers, this takes on a variety of forms but shows most clearly in the community that has developed around the brand and between our customers. We are lucky enough to connect with some of the most passionate and fun skiers on the planet, and they also connect with each other, I get emails all the time showing pictures of our clients who have never met sharing a beer or a lift ride just to talk about their skis. Another angle where this shows is the ability to do custom graphics since we build our skis one at a time, we can print a graphic on the ski that really lets a clients personality shine.

Do you feel like our city is a good place for businesses like yours? If someone was just starting out, would you recommend them starting out here? If not, what can our city do to improve?
Boston is an amazing place for us to be, not only to a lot of the skiers in New England live or work in and around Boston, so we are very accessible for our clients. It is also an amazing place to be in manufacturing and technology company, we have been able to only leverage the knowledge of a lot of the universities, and other local craftsmen (furniture builders, boat builders, machine shops) as well as working with a some of the tech companies here to build our process and systems to the point where they help us to stand out form many of the other smaller ski companies.

There is a very vibrant community here of like-minded business who are innovating on the process and building amazing products, and it is fun to be part of that. The best thing about Boston is that we have been able to bring a piece of ski culture to the city, Parlor is only 7 min from downtown, but the beer is always cold, the shop smells like wax and someone is always ready to tell a ski story that is mostly true…

I think Boston is an amazing place to start a business, but some of the costs can be intimidating, I urge other startups to look at the structure of the business and what they need in the short and long term and see if it makes sense. I think that the city can continue some of the amazing programs it has to help small businesses.

Pricing:

  • Custom Graphics: Work with one of Parlors graphic designers to develop a pair of skis that are totally your own. Built to order the standard wait time for these skis is 2-3 weeks, we will help you select the platform that best fits your needs and give you a choice of flex and if you would like a backcountry layup for the skis. Price $1,200.
  • Custom Graphics: Work with one of Parlors graphic designers to develop a pair of skis that are totally your own. Built to order the standard wait time for these skis is 2-3 weeks, we will help you select the platform that best fits your needs and give you a choice of flex and if you would like a backcountry layup for the skis. Price $1,200.

Contact Info:

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