Our product manager met Franky Moiss, pro snowboarder and now DREAMSCAPE technical partner.
Franky tells us about his co-design work over the past three years on our snowboards,
as well as how we have worked together, starting from a blank sheet, to design our new Freestyle boots.
(Yohann, product manager at Dreamscape) Hello Franky, today we are here to speak of our work. Before beginning, can I introduce you, for those who don't know you?
I am called Frank Moissonnier. I am often known as Franky Moiss. Moiss because Moissonnier is far to long on the international scene and I had to shorten it a bit so that people could pronounce my surname. I do understand, in English it doesn't work great. (laughs)
I was a professional snowboarder for about fifteen years. I say professional as I did some competitions, but it was more the brand image side that made my career, rather than competition. Although I competed in quite a few, like Air & Style, the team challenge, the Empire check down, all those mythical snowboarding events.
Can you tell us your first snowboarding memory? How old were you?
My first snowboarding memory, I think I had rented a Look. It must have been in 92. I was 15.
With ski boots... and plates. I remember being on my butt quite a bit. It was in La Clusaz, on quite a flat slope... to learn. We were on our butts quite a bit, but since we were skateboarders, I soon got the hand of it I think I managed to do Ollies on the first day "yippee"! It wasn't very stylish, but it must have been cool at the time Then the next season, I bought a board with bindings from a friend. It was a Burton Air 600. No! It was before the Burton Air, it was a Burton Free Six. It was my first real snowboard.
For the people watching us, how long have you worked with Dreamscape?
It has been 3 years now. These past two seasons, we designed products and filmed together. The first year, I already did a few tests and gave product feedback.
The first thing I liked was that we make boards at an affordable price, making our sport accessible.
Why did you want to work with Dreamscape?
The first thing I liked was that we make boards at an affordable price, making our sport accessible, as it can be pretty exclusive in its pricing. And here we allow almost anyone to do that.. So the aim for me was to make Decathlon Dreamscape boards at an affordable price, either high performance or accessible. Basically, good boards for a good price! You can make good boards for a good price, there is no need for them to cost 500 or 700 euros... There you go.
You also told us about distributors and brands?
Yes, and another passion is to develop snowboards, I love doing that. Before I worked with Hammer, Apo, I worked with quite a few brands. Actually, in France, there aren't any distributors any more, there are only brands left. You are almost the only ones to develop products and have a real development process. This means we work on prototypes before validating them and sending them to the factory and checking that is exactly what we want.
Great transition! How do you feel about the work you do with us? In your organisation? At what point in the development process do you intervene?
Usually, we speak about the project together. We define what we want. Sometimes, products need to be improved... and here the project is a "simpler" process, we improve the process. But when we start from nothing, like with these boots (freestyle Endzone 500 boots), which we will probably speak about later. we state what we want, everyone gives their opinion, we make a first prototype, test it, we say what is wrong, we make a second one, test it, say what is wrong and so on... Up to 3 to 4 prototypes are made before making the final version.
I would like to express why we wanted to work with you. I am a product manager, particularly for the products we are going to talk about.
I am one of two product managers at Dreamscape. So what made us want to work with you is what you have just spoken about, your background having already worked with brands and product development.
As well as your opinions as a rider... Being able to feel things and after many repetitions, being able to give us feedback that is coherent with the product. Not all riders are capable (of this this sensitivity), and we are the first to have learnt a lot while working with you. How do I ride the product? How do I feel? What feedback do we give? It has been a major advantage for us in our relationship, getting useful and constructive feedback that enables us to modify the design of a product and see a real change in its behaviour...
It is also a question of vision and experience. There are many people that started snowboarding very young and who were talented, and therefore didn't need to ask themselves any questions. They just ride...
I started later and moved to the mountains when I was 19 or 20 years old. And I was far from the best! So to progress, I had to question myself a great deal. Why did I press down on my board like that? Why did I do that, like that? How can I improve this? So I think that is also how I learned to feel what was under my feet.
After, super early with the magazine Windsurf neige, I did my first tests. I had only spent 3 seasons in the snow. So I started testing boards for magazines...
And that developed your ability to feel what was under your feet...
Exactly, to feel boards. They (testers) taught me their methods and I used mine on top of those.
Even though you already had a feel. You are talking about the period when you were a professional, with your pro models...
Yes, that came later. When I started testing boards, I had only spent 3 seasons in the snow. My first pro-models... I got my first when I was 24 or 25 No, I got my first at age 26!
Without any transition, we will speak about these boots that we developed with great reliance on your expertise. From the get go, you advised us on boards as well as freestyle. This enabled us to improve our boards, to push them further in their programme and sometimes make them more affordable.
This time, rather than working on improving products, we asked you to start from a blank sheet on these Freestyle boots.
Can you tell us how you worked on the co-design of this product? How did this co-design process work? At what stage did you intervene?
Well from the start. We discussed what you wanted for the boots.
The aim was to make a Freestyle boot accessible to all. So we all gave our opinion.
Of course, when you work for Decathlon, you must innovate... it's important!
It is part of the company's philosophy, to have a real product advantage.
So when everyone agreed on what we wanted to do, I told you about what was super important in a boot, also in terms of technology. That is: minimal deformation, hence this fold area, so that the boot can fold without becoming too deformed. The second thing is to support the ankle with a possible separation: the possibility to differentiate the top and bottom lacing around the ankle.
Whether you want to go for performance and tighten harder. Or be more flexible, to be more playful.
And did you put these boots on?
I put them on each time there was a new iteration, a prototype. We even had to negotiate with the factory to make prototypes in my size.
Yes, because design prototypes are in size 9 and you are a size 7.
And once that was settled, I got each new prototype. I put my feet in them. We did tests on the snow, in the winter or on glaciers, depending on the time of year.
It wasn't always easy for the first prototypes, in terms of comfort particularly...
Yes, during the first iterations, the factory often botches them a bit, they rush them out. They know that they are the first prototype and there will be many things to change. However, we had a good idea of the product we were going for.
About the co-design process, did you see anything you would like to improve?
I gave feedback to the product managers and product engineer, then we discussed it. Why I didn't like this... Why I liked that.. What we could do to improve them. And here, working on the details, we ended up with this product, which we are rather proud of today!
What did you like about working with Dreamscape? What would make you want to work with us in the future?
You asked me for my opinion, input and you listened to me. That is already something.. Sometimes they call on someone to gain credibility and in the end they aren't listened to...
These boots will be out in our stores this season, how would you describe them?
They are Freestyle boots that I would use everyday in any situation as I can increase its rigidity by tightening them up to the max.
You can see that in the middle, there is a bit of Nike inspiration (from when I rode with Nike) and you can really see the separation between the laces. Here, you can lock the ankle downwards. You can have the top more or less flexible or rigid. There is also this turnwheel that locks the ankles to be sure it does not move.
Their design is not the top of the range, but they are packed with technology and whoever uses them will enjoy them. They are very comfortable. And all of that at an affordable price!
They are packed with technology and will enable all users to adapt them to their foot, their riding style, and feel really great in them. That is what really matters, to put your feet in your boots and feel instantly comfortable!
I have had plenty of boots that were brilliant, but I had to ride intensely for 2 weeks before feeling comfortable in them