Brand shares underdog story of growth and credits loyal fans for success
Whitmore Lake, Mich – The year was 1986. Vanguard was a brand-new camera tripod maker with a small manufacturing facility. The company’s odds for success in a crowded market were slim, but this didn’t stop a determined young woman from believing in her young business.
Today, Vanguard announced that this year, the company is celebrating 30 years in business. Vanguard is an award-winning, globally-beloved brand well known in 76 countries. Every day, hundreds of thousands of photographers rely on Vanguard tripods, monopods, ball heads, bags, and cases. Tens of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts appreciate Vanguard’s sporting optics collections of premium binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, and related goods that bring them closer to nature.
But in the company’s early days, industry experts and manufacturers predicted that the startup company wouldn’t survive long in the competitive consumer electronics accessory market. Naysayers cited a lack of expertise and brand recognition as a few of the primary reasons Vanguard would face inevitable failure.
So, how did a tiny manufacturer with a few tripod models and many challenges back in 1986 become one of the world’s top brands today with an extensive collection of photography products, sporting optics, and accessories?
Credit for Vanguard’s success, says the company’s leaders, is due to the community of people who chose Vanguard products from among more well-known brands, provided candid and valuable feedback and took time to share about the growing brand to friends, family, and colleagues.
The result of these people focus? Vanguard has earned trust and a globally solid reputation for creating quality products with features people need and want. That’s why, over its three decades, Vanguard’s leadership and product idea teams have expressed deep appreciation to the thousands of photographers, outdoor enthusiasts, retailers, distributors and sales representatives across the globe who’ve given supportive and critical feedback about product quality, features and price points.
- 1986: Vanguard is founded in Asia with a few simple tripod models in its portfolio.
- The early 1990s: U.S. office opens in Michigan, USA. Vanguard-branded and private-label tripods are available in big-box retailers throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
- The mid-1990s: Vanguard tripod distribution grows, as the brand offers game-changing features at affordable prices. The brand expands its manufacturing facility and creates camera storage gear including bags and cases with features never before introduced.
- The late 1990s: Vanguard tripods, bags and cases are available in dozens of countries.
- The 2000s:
- Pro photographers’ recommendations about product features inspire product development focus on products for the professional market
- Interest from outdoor enthusiasts in Vanguard tripods and cases prompts brand to expand into the outdoor enthusiast market and introduce firearm and bow cases and shooting accessories. With this move, the brand begins an exploration into manufacturing sporting optics, too.
- Vanguard expands its manufacturing facility, invests millions into one of the industry’s most sophisticated optical facilities. Echoing the concerns shared in 1986, industry professionals warned that the move was too risky, as the market is well represented by staple brands with a century-old history.
- Vanguard introduces its flagship Endeavor ED binoculars, followed by spotting scopes and later, riflescopes. Standout features at industry-changing pricing earned the brand fast attention and growth in this new category.
- The brand earns multiple awards for innovation after introducing several new collections of tripods, ball heads and sporting optics with first-of-its-kind features.
Vanguard remains a woman-owned and family-led business. It’s among the few brands in its industries with true product life cycle ownership. Vanguard carefully orchestrates every step of the product life cycle in its own facilities – from idea and design to manufacturing and distribution to launch, marketing and ongoing conversations with the people who use the products. This control enables the brand to offer exceptional quality, including backing its products with a lifetime guarantee.
This anniversary comes on the heels of the launch of notably successful products including the travel-friendly VEO Collection and multiple award-winning Alta Pro tripod that empowers photographers to access new angles.
Vanguard has a team of the industry’s brightest product engineers working at robust research and development facilities. In every aspect, say Vanguard leaders, the brand is fully committed to its mission of providing high-quality products with game-changing features. New tripod, bag, and sporting optics collections are slated for launch at Photokina in fall 2016.
Now in its 30th year of business, VANGUARD’s award-winning camera accessories and sporting optics empower hundreds of thousands of photographers and outdoor enthusiasts around the world, every day. The brand’s photo-video tripods, ball heads, bags, cases, binoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes are available in over 76 countries. A commitment to listening to the brand’s fans about product needs and wants is the heart of the company’s success. The company invites photographers and outdoor enthusiasts to visit www.vanguardworld.com and to connect with the brand on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.