YETI coolers can sell for up to $1,300. Photos show how the brand became a status symbol in less than 10 years.
- YETI coolers have earned the title of status symbol in the US since they first appeared on the market in 2006.
- The brand's expensive, high-tech coolers range between $200 and $1,300 - there is some debate on whether they're worth the price tag.
- The company went public in 2018 and is currently valued at $2.25 billion.
- Both technology and highly effective marketing campaigns have made YETI not just a popular cooler company but also an aspirational lifestyle brand.
- The company now makes apparel, drinkware like the YETI rambler and tumbler, functional bags like backpacks, and pet products, among other things.
- Here's a look at how the coolers are made, why they're so expensive.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
YETI is known for its expensive coolers that have become a status symbol in America.
This is their most expensive, the 82-gallon Tundra 350.Advertisement
It retails for $1,300.
Since the company was founded in 2006, YETI has become an iconic brand.Advertisement
And they now make a lot more than just coolers.
Their product lineup includes things like drinkware ...Advertisement
... apparel ...
... and even dog bowls.Advertisement
But the coolers are what the brand is best known for ...
... like the popular Tundra 35 that retails for $250.Advertisement
But you can get a comparably-sized cooler from legacy brands like Coleman and Igloo ...
... for closer to $40.Advertisement
So why are YETI coolers so expensive?
There are two pretty simple answers: technology ...Advertisement
... and marketing.
The Austin, Texas-based company was founded by the Seiders brothers.Advertisement
They're two avid outdoorsmen who felt there weren't any coolers on the market that kept their catches ...
... kills ...Advertisement
... and beverages cold enough for long enough.
They teamed up with a factory in the Philippines to create a cooler that they described as indestructible ...Advertisement
... with superior ice retention.
Their first cooler hit the market in 2006, and if you were serious about keeping your catches, kills, and "brewskies" as cold as possible, you needed a YETI.Advertisement
So, how do they work?
The cooler's shell is made of a common plastic called polyethylene with a process called rotomolding.Advertisement
Rotomolding uses high temperature and low pressure to create one piece of hollow plastic.
It's the same process used to make kayaks.Advertisement
The shell is pressure injected with up to three inches of commercial-grade polyurethane foam.
And that's what keeps your beers, catches, and kills cold for so long.Advertisement
The coolers feature a full-frame, freezer-quality gasket that seals around the entire lid to minimize air exchange.
And from our personal experience with the coolers, they work.Advertisement
But are they worth the high price tag?
So we asked a people on Facebook, and the responses were mixed.Advertisement
One person said, "Definitely."
Another pointed out that "They're heavy AF" — we agree that they are heavy.Advertisement
And one responder just said, "No."
Another commenter wrote that "There are cheaper brands that work just as well."Advertisement
That person isn't wrong. There are some rotomolded YETI competitors like Orca, OtterBox, and RTIC, that are slightly cheaper, but still comparably priced.
But none of them have been able to create the brand phenomenon that YETI has seen.Advertisement
In October of 2018, YETI went public when they filed an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company's market cap is now estimated at $2.25 billion.Advertisement
So, how are YETI coolers able to carry that high price tag? Marketing. Highly-effective marketing.
And their campaign to ramp up the population of YETI nation is just getting started.Advertisement
The company hired Melisa Goldie, the former head of marketing for Calvin Klein, to be its Chief Marketing Officer.
And the company's effective use of the all-American, rugged, outdoor lifestyle keeps customers coming back for more.Advertisement
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