Jamie Dewar was raised on doing things differently. Now at the helm of the family business, he’s blazing a trail to help Legend Boats lead the way in the marine industry as it grows.
Family businesses are fuelled by passion, and for Legend Boats, a desire to serve customers better. From fishing with the family, to relaxing weekends on the lake, the company is helping its customers make magical memories. We spoke to Jamie Dewar about taking the family business to the next level with the power of technology.
Legend Boats is a second generation family company – my dad and his friend went into business selling tires in 1968. Since then it’s evolved from tires, to lawn equipment, to RVs and boats. In 2000, we realised the marine industry was our passion, and we decided to focus on that.
We started out selling other brands’ boats, but we’ve always been good at marketing. We found that we’d grow to become the biggest dealer for whichever brands we were carrying, and manufacturers were seeing these figures and coming to us to set up another dealership. After a while we realised we were doing a lot of the work for other companies and could be taking our knowledge and putting it into our own designs. When we started manufacturing our own boats, we put in rounded windshields - people told us it wouldn’t work, but we were confident in our design and today, the entire industry has rounded windshields. Our expertise comes from knowing our customers, understanding the Canadian climate and terrain, and not being afraid to break the mould.
I’m the co-CEO alongside the son of my father’s original business partner. I focus on marketing and technology, and my partner focuses on manufacturing and making sure things run smoothly - we compliment each other very well, we have different strengths and weaknesses and we play to that. Being a family business, I’ve been involved in some way or another for most of my life, but I decided to make a career of it after grad school. I love that my job is to basically help people make amazing memories, we get such great feedback from our customers, it’s really touching to hear their stories and be part of those precious moments.
To be honest, when we were looking for a new platform I’d heard the buzz around Salesforce as a CRM platform, and signed up for a free trial with the intention of stealing some ideas! When the team followed up with me after the trial I took our developers to World Tour Toronto, and we realised that Salesforce was actually the answer we’d been looking for. It had the flexibility, the power, and the security to do what we needed without being high maintenance. We went to World Tour looking for inspiration, we left with a scalable, customizable platform and a long-term partner.
I think it’s important to do things properly - don’t just dive in, no matter how tempting and exciting it is! We’re unusual for a marine company in that we’ve got a dedicated team of developers working on Salesforce to make sure it’s serving us as effectively as possible. When we started, we just jumped in, but now we take the time to map our long-term plan and work out how to best use features and functions, which makes development more efficient in the long run. Having said that, don’t limit your imagination! Salesforce really can do anything you can think of. It’s worth picking over ideas and the standard practices we’ve all been taught in the past to work out if they really are the best way of doing things. In a nutshell, I’d say think of your ultimate goal, then work backwards to figure out how to achieve it.