Was out of town for the weekend, getting caught up. I see 2 real questions:
1. Plans for the foil range: I don't know for sure. Right now we have 3 boards (Free Foil, Pro Foil, Hybrid) and two foils (Speedster and Speedster GT). I haven't heard official word on where the 2019 Duotone line will be heading, but I should get some more info in the coming weeks. Anyone who follows our shaper, Sky Solbach, on social media may be aware that he's been working a lot on larger, apparently slower wings that he's been using to prone paddle and ride open ocean swell this winter, so my guess is we'll have something heading in that direction.
2. The naming thing. I understand that there are some names that objectively seem 'better' than others. And I agree with the two seemingly disparate ideas that A. the name is not important as long as the product is solid and B. the name is actually very important and elicits an emotional response. I actually think FLandOBX did a good job of expressing this dichotomy earlier in this thread. I won't speak to our choice in specific other than to say that I didn't love it at first but that Duotone has grown on me quite a lot, especially once I saw the logo. However, just to straighten out some people who think we came by the name on a whim or that it has something to do with being corporate and/or cheap (not sure I really understand that logic)...
We did not have a ton of time to come up with the name... Besides the general graphic design and media/marketing we needed to make, there are tons of molds to produce for all the small details like bar inserts and valve caps and fittings etc. There's an insane amount of work that needs to be done when starting a brand, and much of it depends on knowing the brand's name.
On top of the time crunch there's the legal question... You have to check against existing copyrights in many different countries. This is a real risk. Not sure I'm allowed to discuss specifics even now but several years ago one of our other brands, after several years of producing product, was approached by a small company that had been using the same name name since a couple years before we started our brand. They were tiny and had almost no relation to what we were doing, but they contacted us and threatened a lawsuit and we had to suddenly hit the brakes. It affected everyone involved in the brand. Designers didn't know if we'd be using the same brand going forward so they basically were in a holding pattern. Marketing and sales were the same way. Eventually we settled out of court, but a simple letter from this tiny company that we couldn't have possibly known about ahead of time put an entire year's production cycle in question. So: the first stipulation was that the name had to be clearly legally defensibly ours.
This immediately ruled out basically all English words (and most from other languages as well).
I don't know how much consulting our marketing department did with our design firm regarding branding, but I personally sat down with a former Wieden & Kennedy exec who has done all the branding for Nike retail in Europe (and much more) and it quickly became apparent that although he was a branding expert, he was used to branding to the mass public, not necessarily to the 'kiter' niche. His recommendations were fairly bland, and some of the more popular ideas that had come out of our in-house brainstorming sessions he dismissed. I tend to think that we did the naming process in-house specifically because we market to a select group of people, and as we're all kiters ourselves we felt we could do it better than farming it out to a generic branding consultant.
We had meetings in Europe, meetings in the US, video meetings between the two (and I'm assuming AU/NZ/Asia were also involved). As far as full-on market research, that's a little difficult... We weren't ready to drop the idea of a new brand on the general public so any of our market research had to be done somewhat clandestinely. That said, we definitely polled our partners... Distributors and agents were involved, personal relationships with retailers and consumers were used to get some feedback, we pursued as much outside opinion as possible at the time.
Eventually it came down to several votes and Duotone won out. It's possible that it won because we had been using the name so much previously that we'd grown to like it. We already had access to the name so the fact that it was a legally safe bet could definitely have contributed, but I also know that we paid a lot of lawyers a lot of money to research a lot of other names so it wasn't the only option.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but know that we put a TON of effort into the naming process. We didn't farm it out to some specialist to run focus groups. We sat down and discussed it, emailed about it, pondered it, argued about it, and at the end of the day voted on it and made the call. We knew that no matter what name we chose someone somewhere (definitely on this forum) would complain.
The important thing is that we have a tried and true group of people who now have a brand they can truly call their own and for which they've worked insanely hard over the last several months to build from scratch. I have faith that we will produce great products under the Duotone name, back it up with great service, and whatever may be your initial reaction to the name, I think that through the hardwork, passion, and dedication of the people at B&M, the name Duotone will come to stand for the top brand in kiteboarding.
Hope this helps shed a little light on the process. If anyone has any other questions, again feel free to post here or PM me directly.