North & South America
The Bladerunner inline & Ice skate collection has become a very important line for Rollerblade®. The Bladerunner collection consists of value driven products for the recreational skater that, for a great price, offer customers quality, comfort, style, and performance. We wanted to give some more insight about the Bladerunner inline skates and talked with Ronnie Kuliecza who is responsible for the Bladerunner line of products.
Q. Ronnie could you give us a short introduction about how you were introduced to inline skating and where you are now?
I was first introduced to inline skates in the late 80s when I worked in a sporting goods shop and received a pair. I was using quads at the time and wanted to try and play hockey with this “new” skate. Now I am responsible for the Bladerunner collection and use my Rollerblade® experience, feedback from customers and salespeople to help refine the collection.
Q. When did the Bladerunner collection hit the shelves?
Bladerunner first entered the market in 1987 as a specific model in the Rollerblade® collection. It was designed to make skating easier and more affordable for kids and recreational skaters with slightly lesser specs for beginners. The look was also intentionally different. The colors of the skate and box were different for the Bladerunner model when compared to the other Rollerblade® skates at the time. Seeing the growth and success of this market, the model evolved into a sub brand of Rollerblade® to provide products for the mass merchants and larger chain stores. This allowed those distributions channels to sell skates while protecting the Pro shops and specialty dealers with Rollerblade®.
I was a buyer at a specialty shop in NYC at the time Bladerunner first entered the market and recall the skating wave it created because inline skates were being introduced at lower prices and helped grow the sport. The feedback and market reception were very positive for price conscious consumers.
Present day, Bladerunner is a large and successful brand, especially in North America, and maintains it vision and goals to make great looking and performing products for entry level skaters. We continue to challenge ourselves in the inline and ice business and want to deliver the best experience to our customers to cultivate a love for skating.
Q. As a product manager you have a vision for the Bladerunner collection, could you share this vision with us?
The vision for Bladerunner is quite simple. We want to make value driven products for the recreational skater that provide quality, comfort, style and performance. We have a different fit and quality story compared to Rollerblade® inline skates, but still deliver a positive skate experience to allow people to enjoy skating. Although Bladerunner is a value brand, we want to stay relevant in the current market with aesthetics and features that new skaters should get but not have to pay a lot of money for. Our focus is providing a Rollerblade® quality experience at an affordable price for kids and recreational skaters for both inline and ice skates. We are proud of the Rollerblade® heritage and being able to develop Bladerunner products with the same exact team that creates Rollerblade® skates ensures the skates are made with the same passion, pride and attention to detail.
Q. How has this vision translated to the Bladerunner collection?
We believe the products represent and support this vision. Our entry level products for adults and kids are best sellers in the markets they are offered in. We intentionally made a streamlined and thoughtful collection because we did not want to overwhelm the consumers with too many choices. The collection has on trend cosmetics, good specs and the right performance levels for its price points. In fact, there have been many people who skated full marathons in Bladerunner skates in the past. While this was not the intention or expected use for Bladerunner skates, I am happy to hear about and see these types of small success in the market with Bladerunner products.