ISSUE #071. JUNE/JULY 2014. €5 BIG WIG INTERVIEW: GLOBE CEO MATT HILL TREND REPORTS: SKATE HARDGOODS, BOARDSHORTS, STREETWEAR & SWIMWEAR
E U R O P E A N S U R F / S K AT E / S N O W B U S I N E S S
TRADESHOW PREVIEWS: BRIGHT, JACKET REQUIRED, BREAD & BUTTER
PLUS: NEWS, WHAT’S THE POINT IN POS? BRAND PROFILES: MACBETH, VIMANA & MELON AND MUCH MORE…
Surf & French Editor Iker Aguirre email@example.com
Welcome to the Summer Skate & Street Issue. Summer time is a big deal in Europe. Winter is when European skateboarders survive, summer is when we thrive. Once the days get longer and temperatures climb across the continent, there’s a certain kind of buzz in the air. Super-charged on sunlight, the skateboard scene is alive with activity, from grassroots barbecues and backyard sessions, to contests and demos, all the way to industry tradeshows. This summer will show where the road is headed for many companies and businesses in skateboarding, large and small. In this issue, the special Skateboard & Street Issue, we want to analyze the status quo, shine a light on the things to come and celebrate the history. Let’s start with history: In our Big Wig Interview, we talk to CEO Matt Hill of Globe, the company started by his brothers 30 years ago in a warehouse in Melbourne, Australia. Today, their products are sold in over 100 countries – and none other than Rodney Mullen helps design their trucks and nextgeneration board constructions. In this issue’s Buyer Interview, one of Europe’s oldest and most respected skateboard shops, Slam City Skates, drops some knowledge on how to stay in business. Armed with their tablets and smart
Snowboard Editor Rémi Forsans firstname.lastname@example.org Skate Editor Dirk Vogel email@example.com German Editor Stefan Dongus firstname.lastname@example.org Content Manager Harry Mitchell Thompson email@example.com Design & Art Direction Owen Tozer firstname.lastname@example.org Design Assistant Roddy Bow email@example.com Web Media Manager Denis Houillé firstname.lastname@example.org Proofreaders: Insa Muth, Marie-Laure Ducos, Chelsea van der Merwe Contributors: Dirk Vogel, Asier Zabarte, Benoît Brecq, Gordon Way, Fabien Grisel, Franz Holler, Miriam Deller, Jade PersaudWalters, Daisy Maddinson, Anna Langer, Holly Gear, William Maddinson, Samuel Peek, Chelsea van der Merwe. Advertising & Marketing email@example.com Accounts Manager firstname.lastname@example.org To Subscribe www.boardsportsource.com email@example.com Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org Published by ESB 22 Friars Street, Sudbury Suffolk, CO10 2AA. UK Boardsport SOURCE is published bi-monthly © ESB All Rights Reserved
phones, digital price hunters are on the prowl, ready to strike when the opportunity for catching a hot item at super low prices occurs. In our feature story, we detail what the rise of predatory consumers means for our industry, and how companies can maintain brand value. On that note, proper in-store presentation is the first step of the value chain, and this issue’s Retailer Help section details how – and how NOT – to use point-of-sale materials. Looking ahead, our Brand Profiles feature some new and upcoming brands including Vimana Snowboards, Melon and Macbeth Footwear. And to help retailers make informed buying decisions during the summer tradeshow circuit, our Trend Reports offer the latest on skate hardgoods and streetwear (men’s and women’s) and for those stocking up for the beach, what’s hot in swimwear and boardshorts. Keep your eyes and ears open this summer, and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. Because before you know it, summer will be over. But before the cold season rears its ugly head, we get to write history. Stay sideways, Dirk Vogel, Skateboard Editor
CONTENT 11. NEWS
51. BUYER INTERVIEW: SLAM CITY
14. TRADESHOW PREVIEWS
53. GREEN PAGE
17. SKATE HARDGOODS TREND REPORT
54. BRAND PROFILE – VIMANA
20. DIGITAL EHUNTERS AND GATHERERS
56. BRAND PROFILE – MELON
25. BOARDSHORTS TREND REPORT
59. BRAND PROFILE – MACBETH
30. BIG WIG INTERVIEW: GLOBE CEO MATT HILL
60. NEW PRODUCTS
33. MEN’S STREETWEAR TREND REPORT
63. MARKET INTELLIGENCE
39. WOMEN’S STREETWEAR TREND REPORT
43. WHAT’S THE POINT OF POINT OF SALE?
44. RETAILER PROFILE: TOM’S SKATESHOP
74. ONE EYED MONSTER
47. WOMEN’S SWIMWEAR TREND REPORT
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GOPRO FILES IPO & PLANS TO BECOME MEDIA COMPANY
ACTIVE BRANDS ACQUIRE SWEET PROTECTION
GoPro have filed an IPO, which comes as no surprise as the company announced their plan to go public in February. GoPro has announced some extraordinary figures, which speak for themselves, doubling their revenue in 2012 ($234.2 million to $526 million) and improving by 87.4% to $985.7 million in 2013. GoPro plan to raise $100 million from the initial public offering, and will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol GPRO.
Protection and technical outerwear company Sweet Protection have been acquired by Active Brands AS. Active Brands AS is a Norwegian ‘brand house’ for the sporting goods industry. The company had a turnover of NOK 64 Million in 2013, a growth of 25% from the previous year. Three main focus areas explain the growth: Broadening the distribution in Norway, regaining momentum in the European Alps as well as launching a new mountain bike collection.
SWEDISH TELECOM COMPANY INVESTS IN ASP ACQUIRES XXL BIG WAVE AWARDS, ZOUND INDUSTRIES TeliaSonera, a Swedish telecom company has acquired a stake in LICENSE FOR VANS TRIPLE CROWN & Zound Industries. TeliaSonera will acquire a stake in Zound Industries, SWATCH SPONSORS WOMEN’S STOP AT enabling the telecom operator to bundle fashion headphones, audio speakers and device accessories together with their mobile TRESTLES telecommunications, giving customers a great wherever they are, whenever they want.
RHYTHM LAUNCH INTO WOMEN’S SWIMWEAR Rhythm have been strong in the surf scene for a number of years in Europe, and now the Australian brand is launching into the women’s swimwear market. The ‘You, Me & The Sea’ swimwear collection broadens Rhythm Girls product offering at a time when the brand is experiencing good momentum in the global market.
JD SPORTS MOVE INTO GERMANY UK trainer and sports fashion retailer JD Sports are furthering their European reach with the acquisition of Berlin-based Isico Sports. The German company has 10 doors in Germany, which are all closed for re-branding and due to open May 22. JD Sports will be opening a store in both Dortmund and Viernheim in June. JD Sports now has stores in the UK, Ireland, Spain, France and Holland.
#AMAZONCART ALLOWS USERS TO ADD ITEMS TO CART VIA TWITTER Amazon & Twitter have formed a partnership that promises to change consumer purchasing habits. The partnership - #amazoncart, allows Twitter users to add items from Amazon to their shopping cart, simply by tagging #amazoncart in their tweet. This move will allow brands to see just where the client ‘s intent to buy was sparked, tying the allimportant ‘product discovery’ moment with sales.
RVCA APPOINTS BILL BETTENCOURT AS NEW GLOBAL GM
RVCA have appointed Bill Bettencourt as their new Global GM. Previously Bill served as VP of Product & Marketing at Vans, head of global marketing at Reebok and most recently had a successful stint at Sperry Top-Sider shoes. Billabong has now completed their executive leadership team reporting to CEO Neil Fiske.
CHOPPY WATER NEW EU DISTRIBUTORS OF FLUX BINDINGS German distribution company Choppy Water have scored the European distribution for FLUX bindings (excluding Switzerland). Choppy Water currently handles distribution for Never Summer and BIC.
Continuing their impressive elevation of competitive surfing, the ASP have announced their license agreement with the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Hawaii. This now takes the number of ASP stops up to 21, with a total prize purse of $8 Million. Following the acquisition of the Big Wave Tour in 2013, the ASP has now also acquired the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards. The ASP have also announced that Swatch will be the main sponsor of the Women’s Pro at Trestles, California. Swatch are now sponsoring two stops on the ASP Women’s World Tour, the other being Hossegor, France.
BURTON NEW CEO IS MIKE REES Mike Rees has been promoted from within to become the new Burton Snowboards CEO. Previously Rees served as COO at the company, and his appointment will see Jake Burton become Chairman to oversee the evolution of the brand’s product lines.
ELECTRIC APPOINTS OLIVIER RICHARD AS SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Electric have appointed Olivier Richard as their EMEA Sales & Marketing Director. Richards previously worked as Sales & Marketing Manager at Peak Performance, and most recently headed up soft goods sales at Rossignol.
HOBIE ALTER PADDLE OUT Hundreds of surfers and rowers paddled out Friday April 18 in memory of Hobie Alter, the man behind the Hobie Cat and was responsible for developing the first lightweight, maneuverable foam surfboard. Alter died age 80, after a long battle with cancer.
BERND PÖSL APPOINTED EUROPEAN BRAND MANAGER FOR ARBOR Bernd Pösl is the new European Brand manager for Arbors skate, snow and apparel product lines and will be responsible for marketing, sales and team management. In 1998 Pösl founded the snowboard crew ISENSEVEN and worked for Millhaus as International team manager for Head snowboards. After this he moved to Head as international team and marketing manager where he remained until the end of 2013. Bernd also assists with rider management for Air and Style. Bernd will be based in Untereisesheim in Germany at Open Ocean Sports GmbH who also handle distribution for brands such as Cool shoes and Amplifi.
BILLABONG APPOINTS JEFF STREADER AS NEW C00
AAS APPOINT MBC SOLE DISTRIBUTOR FOR SHRED & SLYTECH IN UK
Billabong have appointed Jeff Streader as their new Chief Operating Officer. Streader has previously headed up operations at Guess?, Kellwood, VF Corporation, Fasturn, and Oxford Industries, with his most recent stint coming at Marlin Equity, where Neff was just one of the brands Jeff looked after. This is the latest in a string of appointments made by the Australian company as a part of their turnaround strategy.
Anomaly Action Sports have appointed Mountain Boot Company as the sole distributor of SHRED & SLYTECH in the UK. AAS, who will now join a list of high-calibre brands including; Scarpa, Black Crows, Deuter, Grivel and Outdoor Research within MBC’s portfolio.
SLIDE TO TAKE PLACE JANUARY 27-29, 2015 Slide has moved to earlier dates for their 2015 show at the Telford Internation Conference Centre. The show will be January 27-29, and the decision to move the dates earlier is due to the moving back of ISPO’s dates, and in order to allow UK retailers and brands to take full advantage of the busy half-term holiday period.
COALISION INC UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP Coalision, parent group of Paradox and Lole has had a majority stake purchased by Bernard Mariette, chief exec and president of the company as well as a group of investors. Previous controlling investors Kilmer Capital Partners purchased the shares and this has all been done in an effort to help Lole improve its retailer and online activities. Coalision sold Orage in 2013.
ULTRA SPORT EUROPE TO DISTRIBUTE ARBOR SKATEBOARDS IN THE UK Ultra Sport Europe have signed a contract to distribute Arbor Skateboards in the UK. Ultrasport already holds accounts including: Bern, Bic, Contour, Drake, Neff, Nitro and Smith Optics to name a few.
COCONA CHANGE NAME TO 37.5 & APPOINT NEW EURO MARKETING MANAGER & EXEC VP High performance apparel technology company Cocona have changed their name to 37.5. Cocona provides the technology behind many of the world’s leading outerwear brands .The re-naming to 37.5 (number in °C is the ideal body temperature and the % of relative humidity) signifies the technology’s ability to capture and release moisture in order to provide ultimate comfort for the user. Along with the change in name, 37.5 are also welcoming Susanne Fischer as their new European Marketing Manager and Scott Branscum as their new Executive Vice President
VANS ANNOUNCES NEW GLOBAL VP OF MARKETING
Vans have announced Fara Howard as their new Global Vice President of Marketing. Doug Palladini previously held this role before being made VP/ GM of the Americas in 2013. Howard was previously head of marketing for Dell in North America and previous to that worked for Gatorade.
BLACK DIAMOND MAKES KEY EUROPEAN HIRES Black Diamond has made a number of key appointments in order to make their trans-Atlantic operations a more “functional-centric model”. Leading the changes is Olav Nietzer, who will become sales and brand director for Europe, as Christian Jaeggi steps down (June 1) from his role as brand leader & MD. Jaeggi has formulated a management team to operate in his place.
NORTH WALES’ WAVEPOOL PROJECT SIGNS OFFICIAL WAVEGARDEN CONTRACT ONE DISTRIBUTION RELOCATE EMEA & The Conwy Adventure Leisure (CAL) in Wales have confirmed they have SECURES DISTRIBUTION IN GREECE signed an official contract with Wavegarden to bring the planned Snowdonia Wavepool to North Wales in 2015. Original plans had the wavepool to open in 2014, but even though the plans have been pushed back - the proposal is now confirmed.
CONTOUR CAMERAS ARE BACK Contour cameras are back after a one-year hiatus. The announcement comes with the news that Danny Lysenko, who was previously head of Apple’s Worldwide reseller operations is joining the team. The camera outfit took their one-year break in order to benefit from “fresh legs and a leader with a different set of experiences” after the action camera boom.
REEF APPOINT NATHAN HILL AS GENERAL MANAGER EMEA Nathan Hill, Sales Director Reef EMEA, has been promoted to General Manager Reef EMEA. Nathan’s been with the company since 2006 and will have Marco Mombelli (Marketing Manager EMEA) & Claude Cornu (Category Manager Footwear and Apparel) report directly to him. 12
ONE Distribution, parent company of SUPRA footwear and KR3W Denim have relocated their EMEA HQ to Barcelona, Spain. Internationally renowned architect Josep Mià designed the new 1,000 metre squared building in the city’s Poblenou area. ONE have also reached an agreement with Blue Distribution from Verona, Italy who will now distribute KR3W and SUPRA products in Greece. ONE Distribution now has offices in USA, UK, Spain, France, Germany, China, Australia and has distributors in 58 countries worldwide.
BLUE TOMATO OPENS MORE DOORS The international boardsports and lifestyle specialist Blue Tomato keeps on expanding. After being taken over by Zumiez.com in 2012 Blue Tomato has opened up nine more shops adding to the four existing ones. The shops are located all over Germany and Austria in: Innsbruck, Vienna, Hamburg, Munich and more. Blue Tomato relaunched their e-business-platform in 2013 as well. And now they have opened two more shops: one in Villach (Austria) and one in Bremen (Germany) meaning the company is now 15 shops strong.
TRADE SHOW PREVIEWS BREAD & BUTTER RHYTHM METHOD. TEMPELHOF AIRPORT BERLIN JULY 8 - 10 This summer Berlin fashion week and the World Cup come together, so if you can’t beat them, join them. With this in mind it looks like BBB has gone to BBBrazil. No they have not sambaed across the ocean but gone all Carnival style in Berlin. Well if fashion does not draw the crowds anymore then football might, B&B will build a gigantic screen in the middle of the Luna Park for the World Cup Semi-Finals on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Brands of interest for action sports retailers include Bench, Barts, Crocs, Ocean Minded, Deus ex Machina, Dickies, Herschel Supply Co , Hex, Lightning Bolt, Maui and Sons, Poler and WESC. As usual the show will be the well-oiled trade show it’s always been but with the clientele as fickle as the product one hopes the show can still deliver on its promise. www.breadandbutter.com
BRIGHT GOES UP A FLOOR AND MORE. BRUNNENSTRASSE 19-21 BERLIN JULY 8-10 Following on from the success of the new venue and more central location, Bright has increased its floor space by 30% to cope with demand from streetware, skateboarding and sneaker brands who now see the show as the real credible destination for targeting the youth market. This opening up of an additional floor creates space for new exhibitors including Reebok, Kangaroos, King Apparel, Alis, Qhuit, Dope and for the return of Obey, Converse, Altamont, Primitive, Sweet and C1RCA. Additionally #2floor; a specially curated space catering for brands rooted in modern street and skate culture, and aimed at premium and boutique retailers is launching with brands such as Obey, Lakai and Altamont. ArtBright is back with a vengeance reflecting modern street culture: Spaces include The LB Project, including Jeremy Fish, Todd Bratrud, Michael Sieben, Funeral French, Mike Kershnar, Kid Creature, Mark Foster, Jeremyville, Chad Eaton, BB bastidas and Lucas Beaufort. Frame of Reference, by Bitchslap Magazine. A private show by Brian Lotti and Clint Peterson. Lamono Bright Hunter retrospective; Christian Hundertmark & Cranio, presented by O’neill. And finally, Olanski, presented by Kangaroos. Summer means evenings of fun, not only across the city but also with Bright’s full-on program. On the evening of the first day it’s the Bright Death Race, presented by C1RCA with a €1000 winner take all crash course contest followed by a screening of the first World Cup Semi Final, located at Gitschiner Strasse in Kreuzberg. It’s Invite only so grab ’em while you can. Fear not skaters, the skate park will be open for a further six weeks if you can’t make it on the Tuesday. The next evening it’s the Place & LB Project ollie contest from 7-10pm and on the final evening starting at 7pm it’s the CONS Project Berlin with €5000 prize money for the best trick contest followed by a Secret Gig. Bright’s organisers have worked hard to maintain their independent status offering a more ‘roots’ event in contrast to the bigger more corporate shows, so get on down for some authenticity. www.brighttradeshow.com
JACKET REQUIRED THE OLD TRUMAN BREWERY LONDON JULY 30-31 Jacket Required is an invitation-only menswear tradeshow, showcasing premium menswear casuals over two floors within a newly refurbished space at The Old Truman Brewery, London. With the demise of the Ledge show this is one of the few opportunities for action sports apparel brands to show their lines. This next show will see brands such as Altamont, Dickies, Element, Globe, Herschal, Lightning Bolt, Satta, RVCA, The Critical Slide Society and Wemoto. Brands new to the show include Hancock, Etonic, Borough 33, Brixton, Staple Pigeon, Kaibosh and LFANT and returning brands include Edwin, Sandqvist, Satta, Altamont and Le Coq Sportif. The Show is Strictly by invitation only so apply to www.jacket-required. com/visit/ for your tickets. www.jacket-required.com 14
Pic: Vans / Greenfilms
CELEBRATE DIVERSITY THE 7 BIGGEST TRENDS IN SKATEBOARD HARDWARE RETAIL There’s no denying it: We are witnessing a special moment in history right now. Never before has skateboarding been more diverse and versatile than today. And it’s not just because of the mass influx of trendy cruisers and longboards. The kind of “serious” skateboarding happening on the streets and skate parks right now is an incredibly mixed bag – and so is skate hardware. In 2014, modern-day street skaters are popping 360 kickflips on 9-inch decks with asymmetrical shapes and slide rails. Kids are riding bowls and pools on 1980s-style hammerhead planks with pointed noses and square tails. Meanwhile, traditionalists hang on to their 8-inch, 1990s-style popsicle shapes with 52mm wheels and midhigh aluminium trucks. At the end of the day it’s all good, and it’s all skateboarding. As industry veteran Bob Denike, CEO and President of NHS (Flip Skateboards, Creature Skateboards, Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Krux Trucks, Mob Grip, Ricta Wheel Dynamics, OJ Wheels and Road Rider Wheels etc.) observed: “We sell to 77 countries around the world and it’s starting to get really specialized and regional depending upon where and what you skate. We believe in all types of skating. It’s just so diverse now and skateboarding needs that to become and remain a healthy industry.” BUSINESS AS USUAL? While footwear and apparel have followed seasonal ordering patterns since the dawn of boardsports, the hardgoods segment always tended
to march to its own drum. But for the past few years, a growing number of hardware brands have settled into pre-set order cycles, ultimately allowing shops to plan ahead. Scott Howes, marketing manager at Dwindle (Almost, enjoi, Blind, Tensor, etc.) confirms: “We have five main delivery pre-book windows per year and a few quick strikes deliveries – so we are seeing more structure. Pre-booking allows us to plan better for us and for our customers.” Keith Wilson at Independent trucks said: “We’ve focused on seasonal releases for hardgoods for many years. We have essentially four seasons; spring, summer, fall, and holiday with spring and fall being our larger, main seasons. For Independent we look to have at least two to three new truck models or colourways released each main season and one new release each secondary season.” These regular intervals can provide a competitive edge to savvy retailers who know when it’s time to restock on proven sellers. “The better-run shops and distributors now realize they have to plan their businesses more in order to be successful and the brands are reacting to that with seasonal hardgood drops. You can no longer operate with an ‘at once’ hardgood mentality – you will end up with empty shelves of the brands that consistently sell through,” said Bob Denike at NHS. MANUFACTURING: STEADY AS A ROCK Despite the new-found diversity, the majority of the skate hardware market moves along widely unchanged. Asked about major deck sizes, Romy Bertrand at Element/Plan B said: “Not much different to last
“We believe in all types of skating. It’s just so diverse now and skateboarding needs that to become and remain a healthy industry.” Bob Denike, CEO and President of NHS 17
“We made quite a few changes when it comes to which glue, what concave and mould when it comes to pressing. This is to diversify our boards a bit more in terms of weight, shape and feeling depending on the customers demands in different countries that actually varies more than one would think,” SWEET Skateboards
year, 8 inch is still strong, and maybe a slight increase on 8.1 and 8.25.” Jean Toussaint, International Sales Manager at Iron Distribution in France pointed out: “We’ve seen an explosion of large boards these past years, up to 9 inches! Smaller decks around 7.6 are also selling good, which means that more and more kids are getting on a board.”
Sticking to their guns, New York City mainstays SHUT are, “still using Hard Rock Maple from the Great Lakes Region pressed on the East Coast, USA,” says Dan Fitzgerald, SHUT EU brand manager. Newcomers Z-Flex’s, “best seller so far is the Z-Beam, which retails at £150. We have been able to achieve a high price for our decks because of the quality, all boards are made in America by Paul Schmitt and retail at £50–55,” said Liz Reynolds at Absolute Board Co (Seven Wheels and Z Flex). As a strategy to justify higher price tags for pro model boards, Antiz skateboards, “decided to add Epoxy resin glue to the pro boards, giving them a long-lasting pop and more reactivity. The Antiz team only skates those now, and customers really noticed a change in quality and are more inclined to buy pro boards,” said Jean Toussaint at Iron Distribution. Scandinavian outfit SWEET Skateboards, “made quite a few changes when it comes to which glue, what concave and mould when it comes to pressing. This is to diversify our boards a bit more in terms of weight, shape and feeling depending on the customers demands in different countries that actually varies more than one would think,” said marketing manager Björn Holmenäs. Ethics may come as a surprise in a business inherently built on chopping down pristine, half-century old Canadian maple trees by the hundreds, then slicing the wood into delicate layers, pressed into 7-ply planks held together by ultra-toxic resin glue. But after a visit to Asian manufacturing sites, Polar Skateboards mastermind Pontus Alv decided to shift production to Mexican wood shop Generator. Pontus comments: “I can only speak for myself and for Polar. The human conditions in this one Chinese factory that used to produce our EU decks are not up to our standard. I went there and I saw what I saw and it is not something I want to be a part of or support.” Whether or not responsible skateboard manufacturing will become a trend remains to be seen. Until then, here’s a look at the seven biggest trends for selling skateboard hardgoods right now: 1. BOARD SHAPES: OLD SCHOOL, NEW WOOD Symmetrical popsicle shapes have reigned supreme since the Mike V. 18
Pic: Vans / Sam Partaix
When it comes to deck manufacturing, most brands are aiming to provide state-of-the-art technologies in the premium ranges, while making sure that baseline quality is outstanding regardless of price levels. Scott Howes at Dwindle notes: “We offer a whole range of technologies to meet everyone’s price range. Every single one of our decks comes from a single deck press, one deck per mould. Standard manufacturing presses five decks at a time, resulting in five similar, yet distinct variations.” Dwindle’s range goes from “standard lay up” 7-ply maple boards sold “pan-European at €39.95 (£29.99 in the UK)” all the way to “Uber, the most advanced and expensive [boards] we make, this is the board that Rodney Mullen rides.”
Barnyard deck defined the mould in 1989. But now the cat is out of the bag and board shapes are exploding with diversity: “It’s the same as in the ‘80s when every pro rider had his own shaped board. Everyone wants to stand out at the moment within skateboarding, if it’s the shape of your board or the new take on old tricks,” said Liz Reynolds, Absolute Board Co. “Traditional old school skateboards seem to experience a comeback and somehow bridge the gap between street skate and cruisers,” said Gunnar Lubahn, Export Sales Manager at HOFF Distribution (Cartel, Hubba, Lucky). But make no mistake: Despite their classic shapes, this blend of boards is built on current deck constructions and performance technologies. 2. COLLABOS: BACK TO KICK IT! Collaborative projects between brands were “played out” for a while – now they’re back with a vengeance. For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, footwear specialist adidas are teaming up with the deck brands of six adidas Skateboarding teammates for the Skate Copa deck series. Decks for pros such as Rodrigo TX, Lem Villemin and Mark Gonzales are accompanied by matching football jerseys. Way to kick it! Having mastered the art of the collab with partners such as The Simpsons, Colt 45 and Pabst Blue Ribbon, Santa Cruz Skateboards is taking it to a galaxy far, far away: The new collector’s edition Star Wars X Santa Cruz decks feature Cardback packaging and certificates of authenticity, plus superb artwork of characters such as Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Yoda. Killing it, they are. “What Star Wars and collabs are to us is simply innovation and creativity. We like to do what has never been done before and not be afraid to turn right, when everyone else is going left,” said Bob Denike.
“Traditional old school skateboards seem to experience a comeback and somehow bridge the gap between street skate and cruisers,” Gunnar Lubahn, HOFF Distribution (Cartel, Hubba, Lucky).
3. BOARD GRAPHICS: ART MATTERS In a recent Jenkem magazine interview, skateboard artist Marc McKee discusses why skateboard graphics have become so boring. But the legendary designer also shakes things up with the beautiful ‘Haircup Series’ for Cliché Skateboards, putting soccer player mullets on the European company’s team riders. Also stepping it up on the art front, SWEET skateboards is unveiling a collab with Sean Cliver. SHUT is keeping it classic, said Dan Fitzgerald: “SHUT is NYC’s first skate brand and the company stays true to its roots. Graphics and constructions just as they have been done since 1986.” Further artistic breakthroughs include: The Flip Skateboards ‘Brigadier’ and ‘Multi Vato’ models for Lance Mountain; Polar Skateboards releases with Jacob Ovgren and Stefan Narancic. The Magenta Artist Program is even giving away art for free: Download pieces by Soy Panday and cohorts – and print at home. Merci! 4. TRUCKS: LIGHTNESS AIN’T EVERYTHING When it comes to choosing trucks, customers want lightness, and then some. “Geometry, how they grind, the weight and the cost. The good thing is we tick all the boxes,” said Scott at Dwindle, adding: “Tensor Mag Lights are the lightest truck available on the market weighing 231.0g.”
7. THE FUTURE: PREPARE TO BE SURPRISED Speaking of what’s next, major hardgoods have some new tricks up their sleeve. NHS has seen great success with their patented P2 deck construction (www.p2skateboards.com), adopted by brands including Habitat, Flip, Toy Machine, Zero, Plan B, Creature, Santa Cruz and Skate Mental. Now Bob Denike announced: “We are developing some new composite construction decks right now that will expand on P2.” Another major player in the hardgoods technology segment, Dwindle is setting its sights on urethane. “Our main focus for next year is to have our own wheel brand so we have scaled back our wheel offerings per brand... but more on that next year!” said Scott Howes. Up in Scandinavia, SWEET skateboards are cooking up, “old school-looking wheels with a new better formula that we will be bringing to more of our regular wheels for next year.”
TRENDS AT A GLANCE
Keith Wilson at Independent said: “Indy didn’t just want to play the light game, we set out to use proven materials and technology. We haven’t sacrificed any performance in our lightweight trucks–they’re the best turning, most stable trucks on the market and offer modern performance features like our No Hang-up Yoke and exceptional grind clearance.” And did we mention all the collabs (see 2.) in the truck segment? Check the Krux Silas Baxter Neal truck in cooperation with the three stripes brand, adidas.
- Diverse shapes and board widths replace standard popsicles
5. WHEELS: PREMIUM VS. NO-NAME The wheel segment is at a crossroads with some consumers asking for quality, and others ‘blanking’ on the subject. “Right now, really stepping up your urethane formulations is a must. You can’t fake it any more with off the shelf urethanes. You need a perfect mix of speed, rebound, flat spot durability, abrasion, and slide,” said Bob Denike at NHS, pointing to the new “NRG” formula for Ricta, developed at the inhouse NHS Innovation Lab.
- Next-generation technologies in progress
On the other hand, customers in some regions have yet to discover the advantages of advanced urethane: “We sell tons of blank wheels and colour wheels around 52mm. They are really good quality and the customers seem to look less for brands on those than on decks and trucks,” said Gunnar at HOFF Distribution in France. 6. ACCESSORIES: A NEW GOLD RUSH The success of Bones bushings as the gold standard for board ‘tune ups’ has the accessories segment abuzz with activity. Keith Wilson at Independent agrees: “We’re revamping our Genuine Parts Cushion program this fall, sub-branding the program as Independent Suspension Cushions. We’ve added new shapes and hardnesses and made it easier to buy across the line by offering 4-set boxes rather than the previous 12-set cases. We’re also releasing new Genuine Parts bearings called Genuine Parts “Black” in addition to our current, proven 5s and 7s.” 20
Mob Grip is adding flair to the top of the deck with laser-cut patterns and top graphics such as the PBR beer X Screaming Hand collab. What’s next? “Maybe wider and longer grip tape for all the weird new boards,” said Björn Holmenäs at SWEET SKTBS (see 1. Shapes).
- Collabs between hardgoods and softgoods brands - Customers want trucks to be more than lightweight - Board graphics by renowned designers add artistic value - Wheels caught between premium and no-name products - Gold rush in accessories segment - Brands re-thinking manufacturing for ethical reasons?
SKATE DECKS LOGO EXPOSURE RANKING JAN – MAR 2014, EUROPEAN SKATE PRINT PRESS Source: Rideometer. Rank
Anti Hero Skateboards
“Brand exposure” gathers the value of all the brand’s assets exposure (riders, products, events…), in both editorial and advertising. The value is based on the advertising equivalency method and is related to the size and the location of each clipping in the mag. “Logo Factor” represents the % of the brand’s exposure value where its logo is visible.
DIGITAL HUNTERS & GATHERERS: SEVEN STRATEGIES FOR MAINTAINING BRAND VALUE IN THE AGE OF THE PREDATORY ONLINE CONSUMER The boardsports industry is currently adapting to unprecedented shifts in consumer behavior. Supercharged with information, today’s customer is evolving into a whole different beast. Four out of five consumers are using their smartphones for shopping (comScore), and nearly 50% of shoppers already believe to be better informed than professional sales staff (Motorola)! This new breed of Internet-savvy shoppers is highly aggressive and predatory when it comes to ‘hunting down’ products at the best possible price. And they’re getting what they want. Analysis by Dirk Vogel. Online shopping is growing at an average of 20% right now, says the Center for Online Retail. Major brands are ramping up their online storefronts while walking the fine line between offering competitive price points and maintaining sustainable brand value. This, however, is just treating the symptoms. Because at the heart of the issue is something bigger than boardsports and bigger than retail and bigger than the way consumers perceive brands. Something that the Internet is doing to our brains, on a cognitive level, affecting the way we relate to the world at large – both online and offline. In short: The new generation of digitally native consumers is, by default, a generation of digital hunters and gatherers, in the truest sense of the word. INTERNET AGE TECHNOLOGY VS. STONE AGE HARDWARE Leading cognitive scientists have long-since agreed that although humans have evolved to the point of inventing computers and the Internet, the fundamental wiring of the human brain is, for the most part, running on Stone Age circuits. Cognitive psychologist Gary Marcus said in the thought-provoking documentary Surviving Progress: “The basic structure of the [human] brain is much older than the human species. Very little of it [has] changed in the last 50,000 22
years. And so, most of what we do, we do with hardware components that are much older than any of the problems that we face.” In other words, humans relate to the abundance of information in today’s Internet Age with the same old cognitive strategies from a time when our survival depended on hunting mammoths. Except that instead of food, we hunt down information. Welcome to the Age of the Predatory Online Consumer. According to German cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han, author of The Transparency Society, the Internet is encouraging this hunter mentality – accelerating it even: “We are all turning into happy information hunters. In the process, we are subordinating to a predatory viewpoint,” Byung-Chul Han wrote in Der Spiegel. This predatory search for information also comes with its own perceptive filter: “Those fields of vision, from which no information can be expected, are faded from view.” TROPHY VALUE When “happy information hunters” turn their eyes towards boardsports retail, every bit of product-related data is fair game: Factors such as price, availability, unique features, product story, and ultimately, coolness,
“The basic structure of the [human] brain is much older than the human species. Very little of it [has] changed in the last 50,000 years. And so, most of what we do, we do with hardware components that are much older than any of the problems that we face.” Cognitive psychologist Gary Marcus
are dissected and analysed with cold-blooded precision. If everything looks appetizing, the predator goes in for the kill – making the purchase.
right channels of distribution is fundamental in maintaining this balance,” confirms Mike Xavier at Globe.
Catering to these consumers, brands are making sure to offer plenty of high-calorie content for happy hunting. “The online shopping experience is driven by up-to-date information and lots of it! A key way to stand out is through detailed multi-angle photography and product videos,” said Mike Xavier, European marketing manager at Globe.
3. TRAVEL IN SMALL PACKS Shooting fish in a barrel is easy. Aiming your sights at a lone specimen or small flock is harder, and makes for more valuable trophies. Even larger brands can bank on this effect by offering limited runs or capsule collections, available at select retailers. “There will always be products that aren’t widely available, which can be a reward in itself for both the consumer and retailer when someone goes the extra mile to find them,” advises Mike Xavier at Globe.
The predatory viewpoint also dictates its own value perception, much akin to actual big game hunting in the wild: trophy value. Go to any hunting lodge, the proudly displayed trophies over the mantelpieces are always hard-to-track-down, ultra-rare animals, like rhinos, gazelles, or mountain lions. And in the digital realm, what more is an Instagram post (hashtag #veryrare) of an ultra-limited edition sneaker, capsule collection jacket or a gourmet cheeseburger than boasting: “Look what I hunted down!” THE NEW RULES OF BRAND VALUE The predatory view permeates far into the real world. “The human eye itself is transforming into a highly efficient search engine,” wrote Byung-Chul Han. Accordingly, consumers are viewing real-life, brickand-mortar shopping environments with the same, information-hungry gaze as online shopping platforms. But make no mistake: hunting for product online does not equal shopping online. According to a 2013 Cisco survey, 65% of U.S. shoppers use their computers to research products and services, but then make their purchase in-store. This is good news, as it puts an emphasis on specialty retailers as a place where boardsports brands live, and where digital hunters should be directed for making their purchase. Fortunately, as opposed to a big horn sheep staring down the business end of a hunting rifle, boardsports brands have a choice of how to face this brave new world of the predatory online consumer. With that being said, here are seven strategies for maintaining brand value this next (hunting) season: 1. DON’T BE A TIGER TROUT. For sports fishers, pulling a super-hard-to-catch brown trout out of the water used to be the ultimate test of skill. But this treasured species has been replaced almost entirely by large numbers of tiger trout, idiot fish that require no skill to hunt – with no trophy value whatsoever. Flooding the market with branded product is the boardsports equivalent of being a tiger trout. So is selling at discount prices, which savvy brands avoid for a good reason: “We don’t like to run many discounts and sales too often, as it dilutes the product,” said Cody Koester, marketing manager at Huf. 2. CONTROL THE HUNTING GROUNDS The best way to prevent products from being poached by priceslashers and bargain bin shopping websites is to get a grip on distribution. For boardsports brands, there is a fine line between being too widely available (perceived as uncool), and too limited (potentially frustrating when customers can’t find product). The solution: “Being able to segment your product offering through the
4. CONTROL THE HUNTING SEASON Attracting hunters with bargain deals for limited amounts of time won’t hurt brand value in the long run. In the U.S., 24-hour deals on Cyber Monday are becoming a tradition, attracting more than 131 million shoppers in 2013, up from 129 million in 2012. Huf sometimes offers current collections at discounted prices for small windows of time, only to return to full-price the next day. “Occasionally we will offer a promotion for special holidays,” said Cody Koester at Huf HQ. 5. BE AN ALBINO DEER The white deer is the rarest of creatures and the stuff of legends from Native American tribes to the court of King Arthur. Some brands and stores – also store/brands including Supreme – have mastered the art of luring in predatory consumers with ultra-rare products. Rare sneakers such as the recently released Supreme x Nike Air Foamposite model (sold out within hours at $250 a pair, now fetching +$690 on eBay) are the albino deer that have digital hunters waiting overnight in their camping chairs outside the store. 6. REWARD THE HUNTERS Predatory consumers are not going away anytime soon. Plus, they are cognitively hardwired to behave this way. Many brands have taken to rewarding online hunters for stalking their brand by supplying coupons or rebate codes to newsletter subscribers or Facebook followers. “It is a good idea to look after those willing to hunt down the niche offerings each season and those who really support your brand,” said Mike Xavier at Globe. Cody at Huf said: “We really don’t offer much in the line of online rebates, but what we tend to try to do is motivate our fans to participate and engage with the brand by offering them chances to win special Huf product by way of online giveaways or contests.” 7. STAY OUT OF THE FOREST The best way to avoid becoming the prey of online predators is keeping products offline, entirely. But that’s the fast-track on the road to extinction for any brand, right? Not necessarily: The Big Green Egg brand of ceramic outdoor grills, started in 1974, is exclusively available through a network of 2,000 brick-and-mortar retailers. The brand maintains a full-fledged website feeding customers plenty of relevant information, there are no retail prices or a single “BUY” button for digital purchases anywhere. Nevertheless, the Big Green Egg has achieved constant double-digit sales growth over the past decade. Staying offline entirely may not be a suitable business model for boardsports brands, but it sure provides food for thought. Remember: It’s a jungle out there, but if consumers are able to adapt to the times and get what they want, so can brands. 23
BOARDSHORTS TREND REPORT SPRING/SUMMER 2015 Season after season the product segment of boardshorts is innovating and continually pushing its limits, as much in terms of design as in functionality. Manufacturers’ collections are expanding and segmenting to the joy of the increasing number of surfers who have become as sensitive to the fashion side as they are to performance. Boardshort? Walk Short? Pool Short? It doesn’t matter what you call them, what you use them for or what your target market is, the summer 2015 creations are arriving in force and await only to be incorporated into your orders… By Denis Houllé A STRONG SECTOR Boardshort racks are constantly gaining ground space in the shops. With the unquestionable rise of surfing and its exploding population, the supply on offer really should be considerable. This is what Mark Little from Patagonia confirms for us, reckoning that “Surfing is more popular than ever and as a result surfers differentiate themselves more than ever.” Manufacturers have cottoned on to this and are no longer shying away from investing in advertising dedicated to the rise of boardshorts. Advertising campaigns in the press and clips popping up online between the series of each stage of the World Tour are evidence of this. This category has even become priority number one for manufacturers like Hurley since the technological challenge is so great and the needs of their athletes require the brand’s complete attention. This is also backed up by Laura Chu, Brand Manager of Fox Europe who suggests a “constant evolution as much in terms of style as technical development from one season to the next. You can position this piece of ultra-technical textile halfway between clothing and equipment considering how impressive the applied engineering and design is.”
“Consumers are asking us for a more added-value product that is recognized as superior” says Peter Smith of Hurley Europe. As a result the value of the product continues to increase and at retail the maths is simple. With a margin coefficient almost as high as a T-Shirt, boardshorts can quickly boost turnovers. With this in mind, in terms of price, we see that brands generally position themselves on three levels: the basic entry level (nylon, elastic at the waist), the hybrid ‘surfable and wearable’ and the top-ofthe-range (stretch, poly/cotton). Segmentation comes almost naturally to each manufacturer’s range, as well as to each different point of sale. It’s up to the individual to define their style between the 20” models designed for performance, the more hybrid 18” or the very trendy 16”. Just as for trousers, season after season the trend is for shorter and more tailored. From swim shorts to pool shorts, the categories are diversifying. But watch out, cut and comfort go hand in hand. Vans have understood this completely. Since they started out, they have made sure that all their models have different fits and specific materials.
“Surfing is more popular than ever and as a result surfers differentiate themselves more than ever.” Mark Little, Patagonia MATERIALS Although cotton/nylon mixes continue to dominate collections, the traditional composition of the swimming short is still being revisited now and then. Denim, twilled cotton, linen or hemp fibres…the possibilities are numerous, and so are their uses…
by its success last season, the capsule collection Liberty by RVCA returns in force with 4 all-over prints that branch out onto shirts and caps. At Rip Curl, 2 capsule collections are retained: ‘Brash Youth’, which has strong colours and all-over flowers and ‘Surf Craft’ that is based on more natural tones.
Poly/cotton stretch proclaims itself as the must in terms of touch, comfort and output. In addition, faded and other kinds of finish constitute an aspect sought after by each manufacturer: aesthetic fading by Volcom, aquatic nuances by Fox and more acidic tones from Afends.
You must also create your own print to distinguish yourself. For this, Globe decided to call upon a group of aboriginal designers for the development of a uniquely Australian print. Volcom have taken the ‘Primitive Modern’ direction, “an artistic mixture inspired by authentic African prints combined with modern details and functionality” says Joe Frizelle, Volcom’s boardshort designer. At Osprey, Hawaiian influences will be reworked to bring a bit of fun and humour to the range. Finally, concerned with not falling into the ‘trap’ which trends of the moment represent, Patagonia are letting their inspiration flow from the mountains and point breaks that surround their HQ in Ventura, California.
Oliver Cousins, Globe design manager insists on a new French material called ‘Aqua Tech’ that according to its developers is “a unique pleasure to surf in due to its unrivalled comfort and performance.” At Brakeburn they have decided to abandon the 100% polyester, turning towards a more comfortable mix of cotton that’s “simple and commercial while remaining functional” specifies their marketing manager Joe Harrison. The chino/Bermuda look will of course still be honoured and thanks to fitted polyester used by Brunotti for example, the achieved effect is elegant and can be worn “in the daytime, before or after your surf session,” assures Lonneke Mulder, Marketing Manager. COLOURS Glancing at the colour palettes used by the designers for spring/ summer 2015, you can already feel all the fun of summer. The overall impression is minimalist design and summer colours- bright or subdued. The motto at Vans is simplicity; they have been applying just that in their shoes for 40 years and are loyal to this in designing their boardshorts as they reveal, “we were really looking to remove, rather than add anything to our shorts.” At Globe this minimalism is expressed “without flashy or metallic garnish, just a super functional short with a really cool look” as is the case of their Hikari model developed in collaboration with Misfit Surfboards. Volcom evokes a “purified style with a vintage look” and Protest are also talking about a ‘clean look’ with different faded colour combos. The same goes for Lost where they have added a few more mellow tones to the palette under the name ‘earth and water’. Meanwhile at Rip Curl, “bringing colour back to the shop aisle was the premier objective in creating this range” says Mael Armellini, Head of Surfwear Products at Rip Curl. It’s a similar story at Reef where the explosive, almost saturated tones reflect the South American character of the brand. PRINTS On the prints front, and already highly visible this season (SS/14, right now in shops), 2015 will pursue the trend of a multitude of nautical, geometric and tropical themes. Colour blocking will also be used at Nike, Quiksilver and Fox amongst others. Camo will pop up here and there in its different forms of army or safari but above all the vintage floral print will keep pride of place next summer. Hurley brings a contemporary abstract aspect to it and Billabong are preferring to mix it with geometric lines and motifs. Encouraged 26
VERSATILE Surf, swim, fish, trek, relax… consumers want to be able to do everything in their boardshorts. The hybrid side will therefore retain its popularity next season. But from now on you’ll have to make an outfit to include your boardshorts. This requires being able to easily match it with a T-Shirt, a shirt and shoes… Far from the beach scene. By listening to the demands of each client, as much in terms of fashion as performance, you quickly understand that ‘surfable fashion’ will be standard. Protest even dedicated a range to this called ‘surfables’, which plays on two levels: casual look and technical performance. At Reef, this versatile line is called ‘Surfaris’ and declares themselves as your partner of choice, no matter where you are. Lastly at Fox, this trend is illustrated by the ‘cruise control’ collection that symbolises the ultimate alliance between functionality and the retro style: “Cruise for the comfort and ease and control for performance.” At Patagonia, this ‘social camouflage’ is pursued through a type of shorts “with a sufficiently well-dressed look to allow you to approach any buffet while remaining just as functional in the water” muses Jason McCaffrey. In their creations, Osprey also manage to recreate this spirit of “cross-over between hard-core surfers and those who hang out at the beach or beside the pool.” Nike goes even further, and their surf models are becoming the benchmarks of the summer. Equally popular amongst skaters for their fit, these walk shorts are pushing comfort and everyday use. Also, if we want to optimise sales further, this versatility has to be verified by the target market. At Brakeburn, marketing manager Joe Harrison confirms that each of their models can suit “all of their clients, no matter what their age.” DETAILS It’s hard to put your finger on what the deciding factor is in purchasing boardshorts. Beyond the cut, comfort and colours, the decision is sometimes made because of one detail. The print of the liner, a little hermetically sealed inside pocket, a k-way type fold, a drawstring whose colour contrasts…all good things for tipping the balance. Next season, retro elastic at the waist seems to be back in force in ranges from Globe, Vans, Fox and Lost. On their Phantom Elite model, Hurley have managed to perfect their waist band which is now able
“Consumers are asking us for a more added-value product that is recognized as superior” Peter Smith, Hurley
to move according to your body movements while remaining in place, avoiding any slippage. Reef have also focussed on the inner part of this band of brushed material, making it lighter for maximum comfort using spandex. At BodyGlove, this patented ‘360’ band proclaims strict performance and guarantees to “remain in place no matter how big a wave falls on you” ensures their head of product Jr Jenks. The drawstring itself has become a point not to be neglected: printed, antigrip and if possible contrasting to the rest of the shorts’ colours. Directly borrowed from the Bermuda format, western pockets, wallet pockets and belt loops are also becoming common currency, especially in the superstar hybrid models. Moreover, in water repellence, each manufacturer has its own strategy. The ‘secret sauce’ that BodyGlove apply to their boardshorts allow them not only to dry quickly but to also prevent salt from impregnating and wearing out the fabric’s fibres. Quiksilver for their part are using a patented Scotchguard™ treatment by 3M that has proven unquestionably effective.
Furthermore, in terms of performance, Oakley have once more placed the bar really high and remained loyal to their motto of “if it’s not good enough for the best athletes in the world, it’s not good enough.” With the Blade and its compression programme, “we are taking surfing towards new horizons by applying science and technology to the sport” declares Jeff Baillargeon, Global Surf Manager. ECO vs. POWER With all due respect to the elitist power that controls it, the textiles industry is in the process of change. Clean materials that use little water and even less harmful chemicals in production have appeared on the production line. Hemp is the best example of this as its fibres possess unmatched advantages in terms of construction. A strong response to the catastrophe inflicted for too long on the modern world by the textiles industry. Recycled polyester has practically become commonplace and now comprises the most part and sometimes the entirety of the fibres used to make boardshorts. Plastic is gradually making way for biodegradable packaging. Patagonia, for whom reducing its impact on the environment is priority number one, is proud to announce that “for the first time, the entirety of its surf textile range is composed of organic cotton, recycled fibres or Bluesign certified fabrics.” CONCLUSION The range of boardshorts on offer has generally widened. The good thing is that the brands, and as a result the retailers, all benefit from segmenting their ranges. The smaller labels pick their points of sale; the bigger ones segment their collections.
Borrowing S-seam technology that’s used on their wetsuits, O’Neill have succeeded in making boardshorts without seams, providing optimal freedom of movement…even the pockets are soldered by ultrasound.
WHAT’S HOT IN 2015 - Shorter, more tailored “pool short” - Retro elastic at the waist - Popping summer colours and minimalist designs - All-rounders and versatility of chino/Bermuda look models - Inescapable vintage floral prints - Basic, entry-level swim shorts at ¤35-50
BOARDSHORTS EDITORIAL TEAM EXPOSURE RANKING JAN – MAR 2014, GLOBAL SURF WEB PRESS Source: Rideometer. Rank
“Exposure” gathers the value all the brand’s team riders editorial exposure on websites over the period. The value is based on the advertising equivalency method. Clipping is the number of clippings cumulated over the period by the brand’s team riders.
BIG WIG INTERVIEW MATT HILL : CEO GLOBE In the fast-moving world of boardsports, 30 years are a very long time. Three decades ago, international surf and skateboard company Globe had its start as a distribution outfit in a small warehouse in Melbourne, Australia. Globe’s CEO Matt Hill was there from the beginning. Asked how long he’s been with the company, the 43-year-old, who grew up as a skateboarder and filmmaker, said: “A lifetime!” And that’s not an understatement... At the age of 15, Matt Hill helped unloading the first shipment of skateboards ever received by Globe’s predecessor, Hardcore Enterprises, the distribution company founded by his older brothers, Peter and Stephen Hill in 1984. Working his way up from the warehouse, Matt applied himself in all segments of the company, including sales, marketing, and events. In 1995, he moved to the U.S. to attend the Masters program at USC Cinema Television School and establish the freshly launched Globe brand’s U.S. operations with fellow Australian Gary Valentine. By the time Hill took over the reins as CEO of Globe International in 2004, the company founded by his brothers Peter and Stephen – both still active parts of Globe – had grown into a publicly listed company in Australia, and a major player on the international boardsports market thanks to power moves including the acquisition of Dwindle Distribution (home of Almost, Blind, Darkstar, Tensor, etc.). In this issue’s Big Wig Interview, Globe’s CEO Matt Hill speaks on the past and future of the influential boardsports brand from the Land Down Under. By Dirk Vogel Congrats on the 20th anniversary of your brand. If you had to sum up what Globe stands for in 2014 in a few words, what would you say? United by Fate. It’s the brand tagline and represents the fact that while the brand started as a skate and surf heritage brand, its company origins were far more diverse coming from people who had backgrounds not just in surf and skate but also streetwear, fashion, filmmaking and art. Today that holds true with Globe staff and representatives being an eclectic crew of people with really diverse backgrounds but who connect creatively. We know there is a coffee table book on Globe in the works. Who is the author and when will it be released? The book is titled Hardcore; The Globe Story. It’s being written by Jason Boulter, who is a filmmaker, documentarian and has an extensive background as a published social science researcher. The book is a celebration of our 30-year anniversary of the original founding company, Hardcore Enterprises, which was a skateboard distribution company and then apparel and footwear licensing company 30
in Australia. Hardcore still operates today as the number one skate distribution company in Australia and New Zealand. So there really are two company anniversaries happening for you right now – 20 years and 30 years? Yes, for the first ten years we operated as exclusive licensee and distributor for third party, US-based brands in Australia, New Zealand and some parts of Asia. In 1995 we launched the Globe brand and it took us internationally first into Europe and then the USA and other territories. In 2002, we acquired Dwindle distribution and so completed the circle so to speak having gone from a distributor of hardgoods initially to an owner and manufacturer of skate hardgoods, footwear and apparel worldwide. So 2015 is both a 30-year overall company anniversary and 20 year Globe brand anniversary. What learning experiences from operating as a distribution company went into becoming a fully-fledged brand? We spent the first phase of our company development seeing so
We were the first brand to launch equally as surf and skate. Back then never should the two paths cross! And initially some people were confused and some were scathing on it!
many different brands, strategies, personality types and distribution channels that we learnt so many lessons of what to do and what not to do. Also, you see the challenges people face in business, and hopefully it gave us a degree of humility even when business was good to realize you are never in control of all the elements, and not to get too cocky when your brand is on fire. That is a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way! MAINTAINING A ‘GLOBAL’ BRAND Did Globe’s Australian background open up a unique perspective on the otherwise California-centric boardsports business? I think it did. Having been a distributor and licensee for a decade before starting our own brands, we understood competitive pricing and good margin were critical, and that we needed to travel and see the markets first hand and work with distributors on tweaks in product and marketing for their local markets. All our distributors told us it was a breath of fresh air to have this type of approach and that it felt far more collaborative than with other brands they worked with, and that we were building the brand together. In the mid-1990s, there seemed to be a real divide between California and the rest of the world, in terms of culture and meeting on the same level. At that time also, the California based brand staff were not very well-travelled and mostly did not understand the European or any international markets. There were exceptions like Stussy, but mostly the brands of the day were very US-focused. And in many ways the USA market was booming at such a rate, why wouldn’t they be? I think also, not being from California, the European distributors were more prone to believe our approach and pitch was truly different. So Globe was really a ‘global’ company early on? Even today we are very global looking company whether it’s how we exchange intel between the territories, how we approach product and monitor trends or our ways of doing business. I think this remains a good advantage for us and is ingrained in our company DNA. We are a boardsports company from Melbourne, Australia, and Melbourne being an urban, cosmopolitan city right near one of the most famous surf coastlines in the world makes it very unique in perspective. Globe covers core skateboarding as well as surfing – with success. How do you achieve this rare feat and stay relevant to these demographics? This was risky when we launched, as we were the first brand to launch equally as surf and skate. Back then never should the two paths cross! And initially some people were confused and some were scathing on it! However, we considered it closely at the time and decided it was who we were, and who we wanted to sell the brand to around the world. To maintain now, the key is to make sure we don’t let it water down our attention to either sector. We need to make sure we’re making the best surf product (for example our Hikari boardshort) with the highest level of marketing support like our team and movies like the upcoming Strange Rumblings. In skate, it’s about technically superior footwear for skate, technologies we bring in to our skate hardgoods and again great team support and marketing. EUROPEAN RETAIL What are the advantages for retailers in Europe selling Globe and Dwindle, and how do you support them? Specifically for Globe, we have a reputation as being one of the most
reliable clothing, footwear and hardgoods suppliers in our industry in Europe. We back that up with a great B2B online support which helps, particularly given all the markets we deal with in Europe. We always try to have best quality, at the best price for the European market obviously combined with progressive, technical, on-point product. Skateboard footwear retail has been transformed over the past decade by the successful entry of athletic sports brands. What have been some of the main consequences? Personally, and obviously I am biased on this topic, I think it’s a shame the way our retail account base has really opened the doors to such widely distributed brands. By opening that channel to athletic sports brands that can always be found in multiple places within a mile of our speciality retail account base means that uniqueness of a “specialty” account base is eroding. Consumer behaviour is constantly evolving. What are the biggest lessons from staying relevant as a brand for 20 years? The biggest lesson is you need to adapt and progress without losing sight of your heritage and the core values of the brand and the company. Every brand will hit a bump in the road and you need to react and change, but you have to find ways to do that in such a way that you can still preserve the foundation of the brand. THE FUTURE OF BOARDSPORTS How about the overall health of active participation in boardsports right now? I think boardsports are in a great spot now. We have seen the market grow and become more diverse than ever with both high levels of core fanatical participants combined with mainstream, more casual lifestyle participants. This is a great market for us as brands and retailers to service. On an industry level, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges for boardsports at the moment? The boardsports industry was built on unique relationships between brands, retailers and customer/participants. Whether its bricks and mortar or online, that relationship is the key to everyone prospering. If that gets too watered down, we no longer have a collective opportunity for high margin business and an ability to keep investing back in the activities and to keep the excitement and innovation high enough to continually attract young crew to our industry. Where would you like to see the industry five years from now? Back to its roots more, recognizing the benefits of exclusive brandretail relationships. What does the near future hold for Globe? Briefly enjoy the recognition of making it through the first thirty years and still being in business! Then use that focus to further reinforce those company values and really remind people of our company heritage. We have been in skate for thirty years. Our founders still surf, skate and snowboard non-stop. We are one of the last family run boardsports companies with size and scale left out there. Thanks for the interview, Matt, and congratulations.
Pic: Vans / Anthony Acosta
STYLE & COMFORT
Men’s Streetwear 2015 trend report by Dirk Vogel
Men’s streetwear became a little formal for a while, with all the tight fits, vintage fabrics and chambray shirts buttoned all the way to the top. Now it’s time to loosen up and feel at home in your own skin. For Spring/Summer 15, there’s a whole new breed of men’s streetwear for hanging loose, without looking like a loser. Comfy but dressy. Stylish but casual. Flexible, not sloppy. With nice materials that feel soft on the skin, easy to wear all day and all night floating in the summer breeze. As Blake Harrington at Jimmy’Z sums it up: “Everyone wants to be comfortable right now... and lazy!?” But even if you want to be active, next year’s streetwear lines support lifestyles from the beach to the job to the yoga studio to the skate spot: “The main mission is to adapt functional clothing to street and fashion looks to make it wearable in every situation of life!” said Tina Meyer at bleed clothing. It’s all about being flexible in SS15, agreed Matt Ross, Creative Director of Apparel for Burton Snowboards: “We understand that when you leave your home in the morning you could be subject to many environments and we want to make sure you are covered. A quick trip to the store could quickly turn into a swim in the river or an afternoon with friends so we made sure to keep this in mind when choosing fabrics.”
TRENDING OUTFITS Speaking of fabrics, next year puts a focus on quality materials with interesting structures and subtle performance features such as waterproofing or stretch. All combined into classic looking pieces – not too crazy on the colours – blending the streetwear edge of refined silhouettes with the nonchalance of workout garments. Case in point: the new hybrid jogger-chino pants retailers need to order (like, now!). Gabe Clement at Matix calls the trend athleisure: “Matix has some nice, lightweight fleece tops that mix well with that whole trend.“ Aside from tops, what’s a quintessential SS15 outfit on these mean streets? “A trendy outfit is definitely jogger-chino pants, Vans Sk8 HIs and a heavyweight Oxford long sleeve shirt. A premium canvas tote would complete the best style,” said Luca Canali, Vans Product Manager for Apparel & Accessories. Sneakers are a key part of the equation, emphasized by the elastic leg openings on jogger pants. Mike Xavier, European marketing manager at Globe, describes the SS15 outfit: “Trainers paired with joggers or cropped chinos, tall tees, sweat shirts. Monotone apparel, with pop colour footwear or accessories.” For SS15 Volcom are “focusing on jackets, walk shorts and t-shirts as our main season drivers. These are categories we are performing well in and intend to go deeper in terms of offering,” explains European Marketing Director Phil Lalemant.
“It’s now becoming very important to match product quality with price level, based on market competition. Price hot spots are very sensitive nowadays and very different across each product category. For our main categories, jackets are around €120, tees €25–30, and fleeces €50–70.” The Element design team 33
“Tees and shirts are a little longer to tie back to new slouchier bottoms silhouettes like the Goodstock Jogger and Goodstock Beach Pant.” Mike Xavier, Globe
PRICE POINTS The emphasis on quality materials requires a delicate balancing act when it comes to price points. Emblematic of the ongoing economic crisis, some of skateboarding’s leading professionals – and thousands of their teenage followers – are content to hit the streets in ‘recession outfits’: Work wear pants, tucked-in plain white T-shirts, canvas Vulc shoes – done! An entire outfit for less than ¤50. Fortunately, things are starting to look up. Internationally, menswear sales grew nearly 5% in 2013 according to a recent Euromonitor report, outpacing global sales of women’s apparel. Nevertheless, most of the streetwear brands queried for this article are steering clear of raising price levels, while offering customers good bang for their buck. The Element design team said: “It’s now becoming very important to match product quality with price level, based on market competition. Price hot spots are very sensitive nowadays and very different across each product category. For our main categories, jackets are around ¤120, tees ¤25–30, and fleeces ¤50–70.” Meanwhile, workwear mainstays such as Dickies are maintaining their value proposition: “Price architecture is very important and we fight to keep the same excellent ratio of quality and price, ensuring we have products to meet the needs of Dickies customers all over Europe,” said Streetwear Marketing Manager Kevin Penney. THEMES Enough about cold, hard cash – streetwear is about dreams and visions... and themes. Finnish clothing outfit Makia is looking forward to spending SS15 with a beer in hand. Nicolas Prieto explains the ‘Brewing Makia’ collection: “One of our most intriguing designs is our all-over hops print, that will be available throughout the line in different shirts, jackets, shorts and pants. The colour theme also comes from beer brewing: copper, hops, barley and water.” Cheers! RVCA Head Designer Camille Jean points out the ‘Take This Job and Shove it’ collection: “This delivery is characterized by its traditional workwear pieces that come with psychedelic treatments and aged washes. It’s heavily influenced by our skate team with Julian Davidson designing his own signature pieces featuring a clean workwear style with chambray fabrics and ANP artist Kelsey Brookes’ prints on the inside patches of short and long sleeves.” The ‘sustainable island’ collection from bleed is keeping you dry with “Atlantic rain jackets with Sympatex fabric and 100% recycled polyester for a perfect mixture between function and street look, inspired by fishermen’s jackets. And we have a lot of new functional and sustainable materials as such as TENCEL, a cellulose fibre from eucalyptus trees.” European Marketing Director Phil Lalement tells of how they’re shaking things up over at Volcom. “We are moving from the big ‘heritage’ trend to something more mutated with modern things, ‘heritage’ pieces are reworked with modern/ technical details.” On a side note, Volcom also looked to Africa for inspiration with their ‘Dan Eldon’ artist collaboration. L1 are embracing their rebellious roots, said Andi Aurhammer: “Our main story for this upcoming season is the people who represent our brand, we call them the Left Handed Bastards. It’s an ever-changing group of people who inspire us to do what we do, through their 34
passions, talents and personalities.” adidas is riffing on its own style with their ‘Stolen From Sport’ theme: “Utilizing traditional sport details, styles and graphics we have reinterpreted these iconic cues to be relevant to a subversive action sports culture. Mashing pieces with our favourite jersey and fabrics such as jacquards or cotton meshes to create a very sporty, active and core collection,” said Sally Braid at adidas.
Another major trend, the juxtaposition of short legs with long sleeves – or vice-versa – is finding its way into SS15 collections. “I would say opposites attract. Slim meets baggie and long meets short. I would recommend our long bomber parka in light weight micro polyester, printed short sleeve shirt and slim stretch pants cuffed at the leg end,” said Neil Slinger at Colour Wear.
COLOURS While fabrics and functional features are leaning towards athletic attire, colour palettes for SS15 give nods to classic menswear. “We have a larger portion of black, white, and grey throughout the line. Trends are leaning towards a more monotone look,” said Mike Xavier at Globe. Adriana Matthews at Brixton said: “Some of the main colours in the Spring 2015 line include blue, burgundy, rust and copper.” Rust! Eco-conscious bleed clothing also has its mind on metallurgy: “Main colours are a rust tone, yellow and dark blue.” For Luca at Vans, it’s about three colour trends: “A vintage washed out colour palette, with muted shades of earth, sky and water. Then we have a heavily sport influenced palette, utilizing classic colours with a nod to vintage athletics and the great outdoors. And the last one features blacks mixed with primary colours with muted bright accents, resulting in a late 70s punk inspired creativity.” The ‘colour pop’ trend of past seasons is alive and well in some collections, while brands including KR3W are sticking to their guns: “You won’t see any fluorescent colours or forced pop colours in our line,” said Jack Toledo, Senior Apparel Designer at KR3W, adding: “When it comes to our colour palette for the Spring and Summer 15 seasons we wanted to keep it tight and wearable. Less is more with colour. We are providing nice earth tones along with our staple blacks and greys. Our seasonal colours are Dark Teal and Eggshell and you will see these utilized across all categories.” At Santa Cruz Skateboards, “colours are washed out for this season with a strong focus on sun-bleached neons and vintage monochrome tones given the distress over-dye treatment. In our ‘Santa Cruz Black Collection’ a striking monochrome colour palette, vintage wash treatments and textured over-dyes twinned with iconic graphics such as the Jessee Guadalupe make for a story that gets stronger season on season,” said Andrew Maclean, Santa Cruz Head Designer. PRINTS One of last season’s major trends is still gaining momentum. “Prints are a major trend in streetwear right now and we have applied that to almost every category in our collection from button-downs to knits as well as bottoms. Without prints your collection could look dull
“The biggest trend currently is quality, with subtle details that don’t scream ‘I’m wearing a specific brand!’ People want to find something that feels like it’s worth what’s on that price tag and get behind a brand because of what it represents.” Andi Aurhammer, L1
and boring,” said Gabe Clement at Matix. “Printed wovens are still retailing very well so we have a strong offer there,” confirmed Mike Xavier at Globe. But make no mistake: While patterns and photo prints are coming in, big logos are headed out. “Less logo prints, but more subtle branding is seen in both the men’s and women’s collection. The major trends will be well-fitted shirts in calm colours or with nice art work,” said Nadine Hunkeler at Zimtstern. Andi at L1 is on the same page: “The biggest trend currently is quality, with subtle details that don’t scream ‘I’m wearing a specific brand!’ People want to find something that feels like it’s worth what’s on that price tag and get behind a brand because of what it represents.” Known for their signature blend of workwear and street fashion, Carhartt WIP said: “Patterns and prints play a big part in every Carhartt WIP collection, with camouflage leading the way. For SS15, the classic Camo Isle has been stretched, pixelated and distorted to add soul and character to the entire collection. The Tropic Prints also play a key role in the collection, making their way onto both tops and accessories.” Tropical flowers are also trending at Element: “Patterns include the sketched Floral which has a really summerish hand-drawn Cactus Floral art, and The Batik for high-end products.” Luca Canali at Vans makes an important observation: “All-over prints and monogram patterns are still important in apparel, but now we are playing with them using different washes and fabrics to give more emphasis to the whole garment rather than to the print only.” FITS & SILHOUETTES Hardly anything defines personal style to a larger degree than fits – the difference between bro and Yo! – and the free-spirited SS15 season is offering something for everybody. “In bottoms we try to offer a range of fits to suit each person’s individual style. We have introduced a wider pant in the line, a style that was requested by some of the Brixton Union riders,” said Brian Reichel at Brixton. On a similar note, Kevin at Dickies said: “We have had a great response with our skinny fit and tapered fit, but are starting to see the market move towards a more relaxed, loose fit.” Traditionally coming from the relaxed end of the spectrum, Jimmy’Z “modified the original EZ-IN-EZ-OUT Velcro short to a more tailored fit, which our team riders have tested and re-tested and are stoked on the evolution of our signature item. Pants and shorts are less baggy than previous seasons, but definitely not skinny.” When it comes to tops, Element is running a more loose fit in knits, while Mike Xavier at Globe notes: “Tees and shirts are a little longer to tie back to new slouchier bottoms silhouettes like the Goodstock Jogger and Goodstock Beach Pant.” At Bench they’re all about the “multipurpose, functional clothing suited to the fast pace of everyday life,” with “slim fit tops starting to get replaced by looser silhouettes,” and “sweat pants are relaxed with cropped crotch and tapered or cuffed bottoms.” Jack Toledo, Senior Apparel Designer at KR3W, said: “We are seeing a re-emergence of the 90s movement with kids running baggy straightlegged bottoms, specifically in the chino silhouette, however we don’t want to chase trends.” Instead, KR3W is sticking to its guns: “We introduced the Kstandard fit for the Fall 14 season in the denim category. The fit has a comfortable upper, slightly dropped rise and mild tapered leg opening. The fit was well received and we are growing the amount of SKUs offered in denim as well as introducing it into our chino program for the Spring 15 season.”
MUST-HAVE PIECES FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2015 Jogger khakis Meet your new favourite pants. With a slim fit and elastic waistline and leg opening, this hybrid of jogger and chino feels comfy while looking sleek. Highlights include the Vans Excerpt jogger chino, Quiksilver Happy Hour pant and Globe Goodstock jogger. Mike Xavier at Globe says: “These are lower dropped crotch or slouchy fits, tapering in towards the hem. Elastic waist and bottoms are trending across chinos, joggers, pool shorts.” Beer cooler X jacket Cheers to Makia for creating the ultimate summer festival companion. “The Tempest jacket looks like a very classic and clean-cut Makia Jacket. The jacket is one of our more technical summer jackets and has a cool urban feature: It comes with a mosquito hat that can also be used as a sinkable beer cooler,” said Nicolas Prieto. Fitted tops, not tight Flexible, relaxed bottoms call for tees and tops that are longer and tailored, but not too tight –KR3W have it down: “We have made a conscious effort to streamline our fits within the tops categories in order to provide a tailored, yet forgiving end product. It seems everyone was gravitating towards slimmer fits in tops and bottoms a couple of years ago. However now we are making garments from more of a mature perspective and want our fits to reflect that,” said Jack Toledo, Senior Apparel Designer at KR3W. Pop on a poncho Summer outdoor adventures can last well into the evening, and Burton keeps you covered in the night breeze. “The Freelight Poncho is a poncho version of Burton’s iconic Freelight Jacket. The Freelight Poncho is perfect for the summer festival season and can double as a blanket for relaxing outside,” said Matt Ross at Burton. Tie-dye: Back from the (Grateful) Dead! The psychedelic swirl pattern – trippy, man! – is everywhere in SS15, including the RVCA Alex Knost Signature Collection: “The Californian surfer, musician, photographer, and hippie loves everything about the past. His new signature collection is all about vintage and tiedye. Shirts with colourful vertical stripes, retro trunks and tie-dye cardigan sweaters.”
TRENDS AT A GLANCE · All-day outfits for relaxing and action · Quality materials at sensitive price points · Fitted, longer tops – but not too tight · Pattern prints, no large logos · Metallurgy-inspired colours – rust and copper · Comfortable materials with soft feel and interesting textures · Looser fits in knit tops, more relaxed pants · Washes more important than prints · Short legs paired with long sleeves
WOMEN’S STREETWEAR 2015 TREND REPORT With the rise of fashionable sports clothes that girls wear everywhere from the gym to the office, streetwear for women faces a new challenge beyond the competition between brands and with high street stores. This has prompted a serious reduction of female streetwear collections as well as a new hybrid of apparel that isn’t specified to ‘streetwear’ alone anymore. While for some brands this meant a retreat from this sector altogether, others are happily embracing the challenge and rejoicing in a new kind of playground. “It’s an exciting time for Vans to grow our apparel line, and we have a great story to tell. There are so many brands out there, but not one with a heritage like Vans, it’s incredible,” comments Oli from Vans and Volcom, too, believe that “there’s a market for our product, we just have to have a clear story, the right sales channels and great product to make it sell.” By Anna Langer SOFT GLAM & FEMME FATAL VS. GRITTY SKATER GIRL In 2015, this is done through two main approaches that address both sides of the modern woman: the feminine, sexy lady standing out in fashionable silhouettes, and the wild tom-boy, who enjoys a more casual look facilitating her active lifestyle. Volcom work with “soft feminine” fits to create a “sexy but laid back” look, RVCA play with sexy dresses, skirts and cropped tops, that Vans will offer in a tight fit next year. Zimtstern is going for a “less sporty, more feminine” look too, just like Carhartt, whose silhouettes are becoming “slightly slimmer and more feminine” in 2015, just like O’Neill’s. The latter also introduce “short shorts”, for a fun, layering “festival look”, while RVCA (with their Ashley Smith Capsule Collection) and Vans go for fashionable high-waist pants and denims. In general, Vans use a lot more “fashion silhouettes instead of
core basics” and top these off with stylish cut outs and other details. Details are also gaining importance at Zimtstern, RVCA, Element and O’Neill, who add crochet and lace details and even fringes for the perfect, carefree summer look. For summer, “dresses remain very important” too obviously, and “have really taken off for us!” report Vans, but also O’Neill and RVCA state them as important pieces of their 2015 collections, that “emphasize the feminine side”. Fashion pioneers Nikita pair them with “cut-out shoulders and peek-a-boo backs” but also offer their aggressive “signature cuts” with “chunky, oversized dresses” and tops with open backs. Clothes that are made to be taken to the streets also need to provide functionality with style for those who enjoy the more feminine 39
“We see a bit of soft glam and femme mixed with a gritty girl skate sensation balancing the urban street aesthetic,” Volcom summarize.
looks, and we’re also seeing a “gritty skater girl” vibe (Volcom) that addresses the more casual, tom-boy girls. “We see a bit of soft glam and femme mixed with a gritty girl skate sensation balancing the urban street aesthetic,” Volcom summarize. “Loose clothes for loose people” is how this concept is described at Jimmy’Z, with oversized tops (Jimmy’Z & Vans), cropped loose fit tops (O’Neill), loose fit beach pants (O’Neill), relaxed tees (Vans), boyfriend sweaters (RVCA) and even a “Velcro wrap skirt like in the good old days” from Jimmy’Z. Zimtstern designed their whole collection around “being outside and feeling nature.” Colour Wear and Burton focus on an active sportswear look. “We spent a lot of time working with our fit team to make sure freedom of movement was kept in mind when creating the patterns. We want to make sure our products are comfortable and don’t restrict you in your activities,” says Burton Marketing Manager Birgit. Despite a strong influence from the 80s and early 90s, (at Colour Wear, Volcom, Jimmy’Z) the sporty vibes can’t be too bold though, but rather incorporating the heritage aspect of this lifestyle, with “new life for time-honoured classics” (Carhartt), creating an “urban sporty look with loose, comfortable fits” (Element). “We wanted to produce a lifestyle collection that was casual in its appearance but was very technical in its function,” Burton explains. This strong trend for “boyfriend” looks in high fashion as well as the main stream is obviously not making things easier for women’s specific streetwear. And so many core skate and streetwear brands actively invite and welcome female customers to shop their men’s collection, sometimes even photographing their menswear on girls. Cody from HUF says that “girls really tend to like our volleys and the HUF Plantlife Socks. For 2015 we will also be collaborating with London-based fabric brand Liberty on special hats comprised of their fabrics.” He’s backed up by Brien from The Hundreds, who states that “a lot of accessories have been used in women’s shoots, as well as fleece products.” FUNCTIONAL FABRICS Bleed on the other hand combines “fashionable with functional aspects”, using mainly organic and recycled fabrics to do so, and Nikita have also made “cross-functionality a priority this season.” For technical pieces like jackets and fleece, on which Burton specialize in 2015, “technical Dryride” is still the main material, like Hyperdry for the O’Neill jackets, full-dull mini ripstop with 3K waterproofness at Zimtstern and 3-layer fabrics for Colour Wear. Bench have a line that shows real function, as Kerstin Groeber, their Head of Design explains: “For SS15 multifunctional clothing suited to the fast pace of everyday life is the focus for the womenswear range. All items within the collection are designed to enhance safety, deliver adaptability and enable the wearer to explore their surroundings in comfort.”
PRINT PATTERN PORTRAITS The main field for experiments in 2015 are prints and patterns though, with almost all brands stating them as an important trend for next year’s collections. All-over prints in particular, mixed or matched at O’Neill, inspired by advocate artwork at RVCA and Zimstern, or made up of florals at Element Eden. Nikita even features two custom made all-over patterns: kaleidostone and an acid one, which come in various colourways. At Colour Wear you can even find some stripes, anchors and animal prints (the latter at Element Eden too). Carhartt play with a “pixelated and stretched camouflage” next to tropical patterns, while RVCA put a “gritty edge on Tropical Aloha” with darker colours and bold cuts. Bleed use more subtle, natural and “sustainable” colours as well, with “dirty yellow, rusty red, crab red, blue nights and anthrazit” that were ”inspired from the ocean and the animals living there.” Element Eden, Colour Wear and O’Neill follow with a “soft colour pallet”, “washed out pastels” (Colour Wear) and “soft pinks, corals and greens” in Spring, that transition to “brighter pinks, aqua, lime, blue and coral” in their summer deliveries (O’Neill). Jimmy’Z use “bright but tonal” colours, similar to Vans who work with “bright navy, royal blue and coral” shades. OUTLOOK Terms and conditions have definitely changed in the Women’s Streetwear market, and it’s not exactly clear yet, where this will lead to. Through the internet and Social Media, “it became harder to catch up with the newest trends and meet the fast changing needs of our female customers,” Zimtstern notice and Michael from Bleed thinks that “sportswear, especially in terms of boardsports, needs to find its own style again. At the moment the influence of fashion is too high…”. Nikita on the other hand, a brand that has very successfully pushed the fashion boundaries in recent years, have a slightly different take: “Streetwear trends and styling have increasingly been borrowing from the surf-skate-snow culture— skateboarding especially. And women who traditionally come from that action sports culture are investing more time in choosing fashion on trend. The result is a mixed bag of more aggressive, androgynous vibe complemented by feminine pieces.” Hence this new hybrid of fashionable sportswear style that lets females choose between their wild tomboy and softer feminine side, might just be what women were looking for after all.
TRENDS AT A GLANCE - A smaller offering of lines than previous seasons - Function meets fashion with hybrid lines - Two looks – feminine and tom-boy. - High waists are still hot. - Crochet and lace details are in.
Denim is similarly important for all brands and collections, with jackets (Jimmy’Z), dresses and shirts (RVCA) or in different washes (Vans). Apart from that, materials have become a lot softer, lighter and more “fluid” (RVCA, Carharrt, O’Neill & Vans) and sometimes even see-through in sheer versions, as Nikita show. Vans also introduce a jacquard fabric for enhanced texture, while RVCA experiment with knitted pullovers and bustiers.
- Denim & dresses are both featured heavily - On the whole materials are becoming more ‘floaty’ - All over and partial prints come to life in 2015 - Brands still focusing on surf/tropical heritage to tell stories in their lines
WHAT’S THE POINT OF POINT OF SALE? Brandwave is a full-service marketing agency specializing in the sports market. They design and produce a broad range of point of sale material for many of Europe’s leading action sports brands such as O’Neill, Adidas and The North Face. Here, Brandwave founder Daniel Macaulay draws on his own experiences and offers up some quick tips on how to make the most out of your POS in store. Used correctly, good POS can really help to bring a store to life. It can quickly explain tricky product USPs and end-user benefits and it can easily help communicate the key brand messages to the consumer. Used incorrectly, it can often do more harm than good and make an otherwise well laid-out store look like a bargain basement jumble sale. To make the most out of POS that brands offer you, always think about the following: 1. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID With so many brands offering high quality short and long term POS these days, the temptation can be to go a little crazy and order more than you actually need. The end result is a store that looks more like an arcade than a shop and a toilet full of shelf barkers. As a general rule, less is more. Go for quality over quantity and cherry-pick the items that will work best in your store with the products that you have ordered. 2. STAY FLEXIBLE The only constant in retail is change. The chances are whatever it was that you were selling last season, you’re selling something different now. The same goes for next season and every season thereafter. When you’re choosing your POS, think long term. As far as it’s possible, try to consider all the potential different product sizes, weights and styles that you make need to cater for down the line and order accordingly. 3. BE BESPOKE No two stores are ever exactly the same shape or size. Using good quality POS supplied by the brands is a very cost effective solution for many spaces but to really make the most out of what you’ve got, you often need to customize. Used properly, awkward spaces can work really well for accessories displays and/or product story telling areas.
4. GET INTERACTIVE These days, a cardboard strut-card just ain’t gonna cut it. From brand movies to interactive touch screens there are thousands of new ways to help bring your products to life. Put the pressure on your suppliers. Ask them what are they gonna do to help shift the products that you just preordered out of the door. 5. BE CREATIVE Whether you’re paying for it or the brand is paying for it, you always need a budget but it’s not all about money. The best POS is a combo or function and form. Something truly unique will set you apart from your competitors and make your store stand out on the high street. Professional merchandisers are constantly trawling through eBay looking for work-benches and sporting memorabilia… anything to help add texture and build ambience. 6. KEEP IT FRESH Even the best POS goes stale eventually. Make sure that your POS can be constantly updated with new imagery to suit the season, the product and the brand. Give the customers a reason to return to your store by using your POS to display any current sales promotions, local events or brand activations. 7. TEST & INSPECT POS CADS in a line book often differ greatly from what turns up on your doorstep. If you’re planning on taking a lot of POS from any one brand, make sure that you first get a physical sample and that you test it out thoroughly in-store. There you have it, 7 tips to help you make the most out of your point of sale displays. This is the first in a series of Retailer Help collaborations between Boardsport SOURCE & Brandwave. For more info about Brandwave head to: www.brandwavemarketing.com
RETAILER PROFILE: TOM’S SKATESHOP, STOKE NEWINGTON, LONDON Tom’s Skateshop in North-East London’s Stoke Newington opened earlier this year and has already attracted attention from HUCK Magazine’s ‘indies’ film series. Owner Tom talks us through everything from his commitment to the local scene right the way through to why he advocates yoga for skaters. Please give a brief history of your store including when it was started, who started it, who the owners and key players are. The store opened March 1, 2014. The store is a one man show! Owned and run 7 days a week by myself (Tom)! The store is an independent skater owned skate shop located on Stoke Newington High Street in North East London. It also includes a gallery space downstairs which will be used for exhibitions, yoga, film showings and other rad events! Being a local skater in Stoke Newington for the past 5+ years I have seen the scene grow a lot, especially with the redevelopment of Clissold park including a new skatepark. With a limited selection of shops selling skateboards and skateboard fashioned clothing I decided to open a shop myself to help build the local skate scene and support the local skate community. Through the shop I hope to keep building the community in the area and will be running a variety of clubs and events to promote skating in the area. What are three products you couldn’t live without right now? Firstly the new Tired decks we have in. They have such rad graphics and the shapes are awesome, they are old school shaped decks but with a modern feel! Secondly would be the DGKxJovantae Turner collaboration range, we are the only store in London you can get it and all of the designs are so dope! Thirdly would be the new Emerica Romero Laced shoes. They are indestructible with the new inside stitching and are mega comfy! What’s your take on skateboarding’s current fame and success on the ‘highstreet’? I think it is great but of course it also has its downsides as well. With big money corporations investing heavily in skateboarding, the profile of the sport has grown massively, which is great and allows small passionate skater owned retailers like myself to survive in the now cutthroat world of retail! On the other hand, those larger companies, don’t give two hoots about skateboarding and supporting the little man, they are in it for the money! I just hope that now skateboarding
has blown up this big, as more people get into the sport and fashion, they come to realise that it is the skater owned companies that really drive the sport and that supporting skater owned is very important. It is sad to see all the money and control of skating go into a handful of massive companies rather then split between loads of rad skater owned companies trying to do something creative and different! How do you stay in touch with the wants and needs of your customers? I stay in touch with my customers wants and needs by chatting to them in store everyday! I listen to suggestions of anyone that comes in and am also happy to custom order products in if they are available. The store is only 2 months in so is still in the process of finding its feet stock wise, but being in here working on ground floor everyday I feel gives me a great perspective on what people do and don’t want. I have previous experience in retail management for larger companies and from what I have seen a lot of them lose touch with what happens on ground floor and what customers actually want. You’re a big advocate of yoga to combat those aches and pains associated with skating leading into later life. Tell us more about this. I am personally a big fan of things like yoga, stretching, exercise and healthy eating in skateboarding. Tammy from Tammysyoga.co.uk does yoga sessions for skaters every Thursday in the downstairs gallery space in the store. Skateboarding, as an ‘extreme sport’ can be very hard on your joints, muscles and body in general so I think it’s important to take care of your body if you want to be skating long term. Reading up on a lot of older skaters that still perform at a higher level such as Andrew Reynolds and Geoff Rowley, I understand that a lot of them use gym work and stretching etc as part of their life routine which helps them combat throwing their bodies down huge obstacles at an older age! I am also personally not a fan of energy drinks being promoted so wildly in skateboarding, that stuff is poison for your body!
TOM’S SKATESHOP, STOKE NEWINGTON, LONDON 44
Pic: Rip Curl
WOMEN’S SWIMWEAR 2015 TREND REPORT In this age of globalization, boundaries seem to grow out of fashion and while Women’s Swimwear is becoming more fashionable every season, it also started to venture out of the water and onto the streets! Report by Anna Langer. Swimwear is “blooming” (Afends) these days, not just in the literary sense. Although floral prints are going to be huge again next summer, with the likes of Volcom, Rip Curl, Breakburn, Maui and Sons, Pukas, Protest, Oxbow, Animal, and Roxy varying between mille fleur, all over, oriental styles (Animal) and oversized versions (Roxy). There’s also a big nod to everything tropical from Roxy, Billabong, Breakburn, Maui and Sons, Urban Beach and Protest, while ethnic inspired Ikat, tribal and geometric prints from Volcom, Rip Curl, Billabong, Oxbow, Nikita and Animal, as well as some animal numbers by Volcom and Urban Beach, cater for all tastes. Classic stripes are found in the ranges from Billabong (in black and white), Pukas, O’Neill, Protest, and Maui and Sons, who also play with layering and combining different prints together. Nikita have created a whole new kaleidoscopic look that resembles marble and Billabong are mixing up their colour palette with a bit of tie-dying. Despite this variety, Roxy, Nikita, Urban Beach and Volcom have put special efforts into creating cohesive print and colour stories between their apparel or sportswear and swim collections, facilitating marketing with easyon-the-eye presentations and a blend from both categories. FROM THE BEACH TO THE STREET Taking swimwear out of the water and into the streets seems to be a major theme in 2015, that was initiated with the rise of surf leggings last year. “[We’re] pulling swim fabrications into more traditionally technical silhouettes such as rash guards and surf pants to create a fresh approach that translates from the sand to the street. Swimwear is not just for the beach anymore. Women are working out in it, wearing it as their undergarments and mixing with their daily wardrobe, truly making this category all about lifestyle,“ says Volcom Women’s Design Director Kristy Michaels and she’s backed up by Billabong, who state that their “new top shapes blur the lines between swim and sportswear” or Rip Curl, who have noticed that “the bikini is now really a fashion piece in all ranges, this category is growing in
all kinds of markets: mass/mainstream, sports, high fashion and even couture”. Inspired by the “beach babe lifestyle”, who eats, sleeps and breathes in her bikini, a lot of styles are now purposely designed to be worn off the beach and in other, more urban surroundings. “We love our bikini tops layered under summer dresses!” say the ladies at Roxy; giving their customers a double choice to do so with some models that are reversible and sport two prints and colourways at once. Hence there is a flood of new shapes, details and colours addressing this. While most brands continue with typical, bright summer shades including all colours of the sunset, the jungle and the ocean (including everyone from Afends and Animal, to Billabong, Brunotti, Fox, Maui and Sons, Nikita, O’Neill, Oxbow, Protest, Rip Curl, Roxy, and Volcom), Rip Curl and Maui and Sons mix it up with pastels, Pukas add a “pale yellow”, RVCA play with watercolour shades and Rip Curl and Animal with bleached colours that Maui and Sons accent with neon. Animal and Breakburn add some styles in “crisp white” too, while Nikita introduce earthy tones in their marble prints and RVCA declare themselves as the “dark side of swim wear,” with lots of black, dark olive and purple on “very sexy and feminine” silhouettes. IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS Sexy and feminine is also the key word for the myriad of details that swimwear is adorned with these days. From embroidery and fringes (Rip Curl), exchangeable straps (Protest) to laser cut-outs (Maui and Sons) and perforated lycra (Pukas) to strappy details, that create sexy tan lines. Bec Nolan from Afends thinks that “girls are getting a lot braver and taking more risks when it comes to racy cuts - and strappy details are being higher regarded than minimal tan lines.” This is catered for by a lot of new shapes emphasizing the feminine curves, with a “modern yet sexy” spin (Volcom) and “fashionable, yet functional” looks (Nikita) with a “fashion twist” (Roxy). For Rip Curl, the “coming back of the push-up, underwire moulded cup” is the 47
“Swimwear is not just for the beach anymore. Women are working out in it, wearing it as their undergarments and mixing with their daily wardrobe, truly making this category all about lifestyle,“ Kristy Michaels, Design Director, Volcom biggest trend of the summer, to which Urban Beach agree. Breakburn works with moulded cups as well, and Volcom have completely “modernized the interior details and created new cups”. The bandeau style is keeping its momentum from last year too, with various models from RVCA, Roxy, Rip Curl, Oxbow, Urban Beach, and Protest. Bottom cuts are seeing a more sexy approach as well, with “tiny” and “cheeky” Brazilian sizes (Roxy, Billabong, and Rip Curl), high leg cuts (Pukas) and some stylish high-waisted pants from Roxy. The one piece is also making a strong comeback this year, with sexy cut-outs (Volcom, RVCA, Billabong, Urban Beach) and curve hugging features, but also in a sporty approach with neoprene fabrics and zip details, for example from Fox: “We introduced a one-piece inspired by the wetsuit. This piece has an innovative silhouette for active watersports, providing women with a feminine shape that actually accentuates the curves, compared to other one-piece suits that flatten them.” FABRIC FOLLOWS FUNCTION With the various sports most of the brands are rooted in, there is obviously still a very strong lean towards functional solutions complementing the more feminine, fashionable trend. Next to the already mentioned surf leggings, there are a lot of crop tops (RVCA, Billabong), a zipped through rash vest from Animal and of course rash guards in all colours and styles. Many of these styles also incorporate modern and not so traditional materials, but also traditional looks play with new fabrics, making texture another key trend next summer. For Roxy, it’s even the trend of the year (“it’s all about texture, texture, texture!”) that sees completely new additions like Jacquard (Roxy), PU (Afends) or mesh (Afends and Volcom) next to the aforementioned neoprene (at Afends, Rip Curl, Billabong, Fox, Roxy). Crotchet and macramé numbers have been accompanying the bohemian style for a while now and are still growing strong in the collections from Volcom, Billabong, Protest, or are even topped off with some lace details, like Rip Curl and Billabong show. On the technical side, the fabrics used for swim wear are getting a lot lighter, state Brunotti and O’Neill. “Our swimwear range features Hyperdry. It is the new standard. Your bikini dries faster than a regular bikini, and allows you to go for a swim just before leaving,” says Manon Pessel, Senior Product Manager for Women Lifestyle & Beach at O’Neill. Animal have introduced a UPF of 40+ to their rash guards, as well as a “boardshort connector”, while Urban Beach have “UV protection in all swim wear”.
Eco-friendly, recycled fabrics are appearing more and more as well, although brands are taking things slow here, as the functionality of their garments is still top priority and not to be compromised. Rip Curl “tested recycled lycra on the collaborative bikini line with Hawaiian artist Heather Brown” but experienced difficulties due to the expensive fabric, which left customers unable to understand the price difference to other, regularly manufactured bikinis. Roxy is using a “recycled REPREVE poly fabric” for their boardshorts and Volcom are exploring more eco-friendly materials too. The environmental consciousness is growing with most brands in general. Afends switched their packaging to biodegradable cornstarch bags and Pukas are minimizing their swimwear’s ecological footprint through local production and manufacturing. When it comes to price points, nothing has changed much, with the majority of pieces ranging between approximately 20 to 40 euros for single pieces and up to 70 or 80 euros for sets and one pieces. Besides Oxbow, who have ventured back to selling sets only, all brands have increased their offers of separately available pieces, to give the customer more choices to mix and match their favourites according to their own terms and styles. OUTLOOK The general trend for mixing and matching everything to the hearts’ content has reached the previously very specifically defined market of swimwear. This gives all water loving women and girls the chance to unlimitedly show off and express their personalities, whether that is the laid back bohemian beach babe, the active athlete or a sexy Bond Girl type. “The swimwear market is a lot more exciting now than it has been in the last 10 years, with lots of new brands popping up and people being really innovative. I think it’s amazing,” says Afend’s Bec Nolan and Maui and Sons agree that “it’s really great to see in the past few seasons how women’s swimwear has become more and more of a fashion statement.” Let’s just hope this fashion stays in fashion for the coming years!
AT A GLANCE - Street Style: Taking Swimwear from the Beach to the City - Details: Fringes, Crotchet, Cut-Outs - Tan Lines are the new seamless! - Neoprene: Bikinis, One-Pieces, Suits
SWIMWEAR RIDER’S FANBASE RANKING MAY 2014, GLOBAL SOCIAL NETWORKS Rank
BUYER INTERVIEW: MARSHALL TAYLOR SLAM CITY SKATES LONDON Slam City Skates have become the cornerstone in British skate retail. 2016 will see the 30th anniversary of London’s skate experts. We’ve spoken with buyer Marshall Taylor to find out his advice on getting order sheets right, and not selling out.
At a time when almost every item is available at a 20% rebate online, what is your business model at Slam City? The shop has always been at the forefront of bringing new and exciting brands and products to the UK and that’s always been our focus, but it’s become much harder to do that in this Internet age. There are so many small and exciting brands in the market at the moment, the whole industry is changing and there is a real opportunity now for independent stores to stand out.
And how about quantities, how do you avoid overstock when placing orders? Everyone that works in our business is from a skate background and we listen and get input from everyone on brands and stock. Our store managers and staff speak to 100s of our customers on a weekly basis so they are a really a good gauge for what’s going to work and what isn’t. Having said that we always get some things wrong and that’s what our January sale is good for.
You mentioned that you almost do not work with mark-downs at all. What is the philosophy behind that? For the first time at the end of 2013 I noticed many European retailers on sale on the run up to Christmas. If you are a retailer that can’t sell product at full price on the run up to Christmas and price is your only USP you have what does that tell you about your business?
Have the major brands fallen out of favour among indie retailers with their distribution strategies? More and more brands are going direct to consumer, some have been trying to grow market share via direct to consumer channels at the expense of servicing the needs of their loyal independent retail base and in some cases at the expense of product development. It’s all well and good going direct or to a wider distribution channel outside of skate shops but you need to keep giving the core stores something new or exclusive if you are to stay in that market. The moment the core stores drop any key skate brand it’s over in the medium to long term as its no longer seen as a credible brand within our market and that will filter down.
Does the no-markdown policy also apply in your online store? Our online site is aligned with our physical stores, so we have the same yearly January sale online just like we do in store but apart from that we rarely do any major markdowns. Yes we get the occasional buy wrong and need to mark that down but we don’t offer online discount or media codes and we don’t have a start, middle and end of season sale like some of our competitors. We try and offer great service online, such as helping our customers via online chat and we are just about to extend our online order cut of time to 8pm at night, so people can order products online up to 8pm and get it delivered the very next day in the UK. We always try to throw free surprise items into peoples orders as well, sometimes it’s just a free magazine, some stickers or DVDs or gifts with purchases. How does this strategy affect your selection of brands? We still well clear of a lot of brands these days that will be heavily discounted almost from day one. So many are going direct and even offering large discounts themselves season after season.
Which brands are doing their thing well at the moment from your perspective? We’ve seen the strong emergence of new smaller brands such as Palace and Polar switching things up a bit and now becoming must have brands for any store. But other smaller hardware brands such as Welcome and The National and really doing well for us. Hardware is on the up and that’s a great sign for skateboarding as a whole. On the shoe front, it’s still all about Nike SB, Vans and Adidas but I’m hoping smaller brands such as Huf and others can really challenge that as it’s not great having a small pool of footwear brands that make up 95% of footwear sales. There is a definite gap in the market for a new smaller core shoe brand right now to shake it up a bit, watch this space I guess…
PFOA BANNED IN NORWAY Norway is about to become the first country to legally ban the sale of consumer textiles treated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). With the law having taken effect June 1, what is the industry’s response? By Cira Riedel Ever since Greenpeace called for a ban on PFC-type chemicals during a detoxification campaign in 2012, the topic has been at the centre of wide-reaching discussions. PFOA and its more complex relatives have been identified as candidates for classification as SVHCs (Substances of Very High Concern) under the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program. With the imminent ban, Norway is taking a public stand for increased health standards and consumer protection. WHAT IS PFOA? Used in water - and oil-repellent gear, PFOA is a bi-product of a long-chain, C8-class chemical known as a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substance. The problem with PFOA and related substances: “They disturb the endocrinal system, cause cancers and in small doses have been proven toxic to the reproductive system,” said a 2012 Greenpeace report. Additionally, PFOA takes a long time to break down in nature, slow enough to create deposits in the environment. Some disturbing studies have found these toxic compounds in the Arctic ice caps, as well as the human body, including the bloodstreams of large parts of the population.
would you get rid of them?” Another problem: Most laboratories are unable to detect PFOA levels below a 1.0 µg/kg (ppb) threshold, limiting the opportunities for monitoring the use of the chemicals. Discussions are currently underway to permit the sale of PFOAtreated textiles produced prior to June 1, 2014, all the way until January 1, 2018. Otherwise, over 500 million items of clothing (!) would be rendered unmarketable (Source: gruenemode.de, blog by Kirsten Brodde). This number also illustrates how much of today’s clothing is actually contaminated! But due to the fact that long-chain PFCAs, including PFOA, are candidates for REACH classification, restrictions on behalf of the European Union are only a matter of time. Some industry members have seen these changes coming in advance: “This wasn’t a problem for us, since we have been part of the discussions that led to this law for three years now. We are prepared,” said Ekberg.
A somewhat more harmless alternative, shorter-chained C6compounds, also require long periods of time to decompose. And for a complete discontinuation of using PFC-chemicals in manufacturing, there is currently a lack of viable alternatives. Ultimately, it’s up to the chemical industry to find replacements for using PFC with a better environmental footprint, while also meeting major performance requirements. But in face of the high ecological cost of PFC, the industry needs to make informed choices about which items really require technical performance and durability.
GORE-TEX® FABRICS has also been working on C6 as an alternative to C8, and stopped using the chemicals in 2013. “We have already switched over all our resources.” As a result, the Norwegian law poses no problem for GORE-TEX® FABRICS. “Naturally, phasing out these types of fluoride carbons known to be ecologically harmful is desirable. And since we are an environmentally-conscious company, we are moving ahead. But people should not switch to something they do not understand only based on public pressure and trade one evil for another. The U.S. environmental agency EPA calls this a ‘regrettable substitution,’” said Kilian Hochrein of the fabrics sustainability team at W.L. Gore & Associates.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF BANNING PFC IN NORWAY? The ban in Norway includes household goods, backpacks, tents and shutters etc., but not work clothing. The upper limit is set at 1 micro gram per square meter (1µg/m²). “At this upper limit, there is no risk of cross-contamination,” said Lennart Ekberg at Haglöfs (large Scandinavian outdoor equipment supplier).
To keep potentially harmful chemicals at a minimum, calls for retailers to recommend environmentally safe soft goods to consumers. At the same time, water-proofing under controlled conditions right at the manufacturing site is still preferable to letting the consumers spray-on water-repellent or use their washing machines.
But everyday practice indicates that keeping production processes free from contamination is difficult. A production set-up that has been used to process C8-chemicals is bound to contaminate follow-up runs for a long period of time, even those entirely free of C8-chemicals. The Greenpeace appeal for a 0 µg/kg (ppb)* limit, meaning a total embargo on PFC remains beyond the realm of possibility, said Ekberg: “These compounds are everywhere, how
Anyone can send a request to find out whether textiles are contaminated with SVHC-chemicals by submitting the product barcode to the following address (response within 48 days): http:// www.reach-info.de/verbraucheranfrage.htm (click on EN for English interface). *ppb – Part per Billion
“This wasn’t a problem for us, since we have been part of the discussions that led to this law for three years now. We are prepared!” Mr. Ekberg, Haglöfs 53
BRAND PROFILE: VIMANA SNOWBOARDS Vimana Snowboards is the brain child of Trond-Eirik Husvaeg from SESSION snowboard shop fame. Tronna is bringing his wealth of experience to offer a snowboard brand marketed and designed with the retailer in mind. Combine Tronna’s industry knowledge and experience with the prowess and vigor of team riders Freddy ‘the fox’ Austbø and Markku Koski – expect big things! Who is on the management team, and what are their backgrounds? We work in a network of designers and supporters. I am the CEO of the company and my background is core actionsport retail. At 19 years of age I bought some shares in a small skateboard/snowboard shop. For the last 13 years my former partners and me built this to be the biggest actionsport chain in Norway called SESSION. It`s been a dream come true and a big part of my life. It was time for me to fulfill the next dream, and here we are. A new Scandinavian Snowboard brand from a retailer’s perspective. What is the company ethos? Our background is retail and we really want to help make snowboard retail a sustainable business again. We see a lot of changes in snowboarding and unfortunately a lot of doors being shut down. Vimana Snowboards brings a solution for improvement. What sets you apart from your competitors? We have been on both sides of the table. We have a long background in retail and understand what it takes to run a successful business. We have a tight organization and provide exceptional package deals on high end products. We bring Scandinavian design and new thinking to the market. Could you tell us about the way in which you use local resources in your products? Europe has a long tradition of making the VIMANA SNOWBOARDS 54
best boards in the world. We want to support European production and workers. In an environmental sense our wood is grown near the factory leaving a minimum carbon footprint. The paint we use is the cleanest non-chemical paint we can get hold of. What do you find important about the European market? The European market has in my opinion always been exciting and open to new thinking. Snowboarding has deep roots in Europe and has brought us some of the most stylish and innovating riders out there. 10 years ago we were isolated in a sense, now a shop in Munich or Oslo competes with a shop in Long Beach California. It`s now hard to draw a line around the European market. European retailers need to be good locally and also adjust globally to survive. This is a hard adjustment but also a big opportunity for retailers all over the globe. How do you support athletes and boardsports? Our team riders are key to making this venture a success. The team will consist of three pro riders as well as three am riders. We want our team riders to follow their own paths and do their own thing. We just signed two riders to our pro team. Our longtime friend and style-king Fredrik Austbø and the Finnish legend Markku Koski. We also include a healthy amount of new talent.
TEL: +47 916 26 018
What other marketing are you running? Our marketing is dynamic. Social media allows us to compete with the same criteria’s as the biggest brands in the industry. Information flow is rapid, we frequently use Instagram and Facebook for mini-edits. We want to involve our customers. It`s interesting to show people the way our team travels and hangs out as well as their riding. What do you see for the future of your company? We want to grow healthily and expand as the demand increases. Hopefully we can hire more people and make Vimana into a larger family. Our team will evolve and help new talents blossom. Vimana will expand on our lines of boards, boots and bindings. We have some killer shapes and designs in progress. What do you see for the future of the industry? I think right now is a good time for change. The economy is still struggling and that`s the opportune moment for new things. We want to see more retailers and brands pop up and do their own thing. We are going to see new and exciting events and gatherings. Snowboarding is way too fun not to organically recruit new kids to the scene. Where can we check out your products/ videos/stuff? Inst: @vimanasnow Facebook: vimanasnow
BRAND PROFILE: MELON OPTICS Melon is a UK based optics brand providing both sunglasses and customizable goggles that won’t break the bank. We’ve spoken with co-founder James Pointer to talk about how Melon has taken off quicker than anyone predicted. Please give an overview on how and why the company began? Melon was born in 2013 as an outlet to combine our passions of outdoor living and boardsports with providing quality custom eyewear at an affordable price to the market. We originally focused on sunglasses, but having spent many winter seasons in the mountains we had always planned to diversify and in November 2013 we released our first fully customisable goggles. The launch of the goggles received strong feedback and put huge momentum behind the brand, which has continued throughout the 2013/2014 winter season and helped to secure Melon firmly on the map. Who is on the management team, and what are their backgrounds? James Pointer (Co-Founder and CEO) working at the front end, heading up product design, production management, marketing and sales. I have been involved in start-up businesses for the last 10 years and am experienced in on-line retail. Melvin Pointer (Co-Founder), leads on the financial management, technology and administration, and is the sounding board for new ideas. He has been CFO of a number of high growth companies and start ups. Nikki Holt-Welch (fulfilment and logistics), leads on all aspects of customer service from order management to fulfilment. Nikki’s background is in sales and import/export. What sets you apart from your competitors? Our main selling points are the great price point, quality and customisable nature of many of our models, which have proven particularly MELON OPTICS 56
popular with our goggles. Very few brands allow customers to play a part in designing the product that they’re buying and those that do charge a high premium for the privilege. What do you find important about the European market? Wherever we look we see an opportunity to give people great products at a much better price. Although our main market remains in the UK we have had strong growth from continental Europe during the winter season and a lot of our goggles are used in the Alps, so this has increased our European brand recognition. Recognising its importance, we’ve established a base out of Morzine during the winters. We are also planning to be present in the Hossegor area this summer with the surfing community. How do you support athletes and boardsports? Having a good team is paramount for us; everyone loves watching a good edit. Being able to support our riders, filming trips and seeing the finished result is one of the most satisfying parts of running Melon. Tom Mangham who heads up our skate team has done a great job signing some of UK’s best skaters such as Korahn Gayle and Kris Vile, and with riders like Joe Hides and Tassy Swallow we also have strong and growing ski, snowboard and surf team. What marketing are you running? Like most brands, social media plays a big part in our marketing efforts and we make a lot of use of Facebook and Instagram, which gives us great customer interaction. We
TEL: 07917 011 666
also support various ski/snowboard/skate competitions as well as sponsoring film premieres. Finally, we are investing heavily in various tradeshows to allow customers and retailers to see our products in person. You can next catch us at the Bright Trade Show in Berlin in July. What do you see for the future of your company? We’ve been blown away by the speed at which the brand has grown. We are investing heavily in current and new products as well as finding new ways to improve the quality of our gear even further. We recently launched a limited edition collaboration model with Westbeach, our new “Premium” line of hand crafted acetate sunglasses is due for release in June and the autumn will see release of the 2014/15 goggles line. What do you see for the future of the industry? I think the industry is ready for both change and growth. Customers are constantly looking for something new and different which will allow those brands with the right products, image and customer interaction to cement themselves as viable alternatives to the long established brands in the industry. We also expect a lot more collaboration, particularly with the more innovative companies working together. Where can we check out your products/ videos/stuff? melonoptics.co.uk, facebook.com/ melonoptics, instagram.com/melonoptics
BRAND PROFILE: MACBETH FOOTWEAR For anyone that skated throughout the ‘naughties’, punk rock band Blink-182 will have made it on to their radar in some shape or form. And Macbeth is the band’s guitarist, Tom DeLonge’s footwear and apparel label. We’ve spoken with the guys from RLP Distribution who are handling the European operation for more details. Please give an overview on how and why the company began? Macbeth Footwear was Co-founded in 2002 by musician Tom in some shape or form, known from Blink-182 & Angels & Airwaves. Since its inception, Macbeth has been the creative outlet for musicians and artists. Macbeth makes shoes and clothing that fit their needs. Being a San Diego based company, Macbeth’s philosophy embodies the lifestyle of Southern California, where music, art and action sports are deeply entwined.
Robin Coleman - Sales Manager - He has been in the action sports/lifestyle business for over 18 years. He was part of the team that originally launched the brand through Europe. Robin also launched Atticus and Lowlife through the key UK retailers before moving on to International sales and production. After a three-year break from the industry, surfing back home in Crantock, Cornwall a new exciting chapter has started with him at the helm of the European sales team - bucking the trend and seeing extensive growth.
Who is on the management team, and what are their backgrounds? The European management team is run as a three way split: Jan Altevogt - General Manager - Worked in management positions for mainly IT focused companies since 1998. Besides his day job Jan was a drummer in a successful punk rock band. Started working for Macbeth in 2009 developing the online strategy for Europe. In 2011 he was asked to become the General Manager for Europe when Macbeth started a European based entity and opened our own warehouse for our evergrowing European distribution. Lenneke Knape - Marketing Manager - Started as on air TV producer for Extreme sports channel and radio DJ at KINK fm. After that she did PR for Kung Fu Records and has been working in the music industry ever since. She has worked for Epitaph and Bad Taste records as well as for many for bands and artists before getting on board at Macbeth in late 2007. MACBETH FOOTWEAR
What sets you apart from your competitors? Cruelty-free products are a big part of the Macbeth line - as a matter of fact, the first shoe Macbeth ever made was Vegan and is still in the line today. Macbeth takes inspiration from the music and art of our talented extended family of ambassadors to create quality products that look good and feel good to wear. We provide a collection to like-minded people that care about issues Macbeth regards as important, such as ethical and environmental standards, and providing fashionable Vegan options. How do you support athletes and boardsports? We have a number of board riders in our global family. In Europe we work with the Swedish snowboarder and wild man; Anton Gunnarsson, whom we’ve just launched a collaboration T-shirt with. Anton also joins us
TEL: +31(0)23 5311145
on the road regularly to create video reports for us. Also we’ve just welcomed the young and upcoming surfer Luke Dillon from the UK into the Macbeth family. However, since music is our DNA the Macbeth Studio Project series are mainly created in collaboration with the Macbeth Family musicians. We work closely with each artist to design products that reflect their individual personality and sense of creativity. These projects are a unique global marketing tool. We’ve recently released a shoe with Tom Delonge, Flogging Molly & Jona Weinhofen and we are finalizing projects with The Gaslight Anthem, The Maine & The Alkaline Trio. What marketing are you running? The Macbeth studio projects mentioned above are a great marketing tool, also we endorse many upcoming as well as established bands and artist. We work with magazines, record labels and music festivals and we support tours and club nights all over Europe. Because of this our exposure on social media and in the magazines is huge. Also we attend Bright trade show each season to showcase the new line and we are always on the hunt for new idea’s and projects. Where can we check out your products/ videos/stuff? (web/facebook/etc) macbeth.com facebook.com/MacbethGlobal facebook.com/macbethshop instagram.com/macbethfootwear twitter.com/Macbethfootwear WEB: WWW.MACBETH.COM 59
NEW PRODUCTS 01.
02. APE SHT BEANIE Identity Manchester have combined the latest digital print technology with their 40 years’ experience in manufacturing beanies to produce the world’s first digital print beanie under their new brand ‘Ape Sht’ Made exclusively in the UK in a 50-50 cotton acrylic mix, Ape Sht digi beanies are offered with no minimum order quantity and have an RRP of £19.99 www.apesht.identitymanchester.com
01. ADIDAS SYDNEY EYEWEAR Adidas Originals new Sydney sunglasses clash a futuristic attitude with heritage inspiration. Featuring a strong cross-over frame finished with a neat metal embossed logo which will look equally at home in the mountains or on the coast. The range of bold mirrors and polarized lenses include solar yellow, solar green or solar red and staples such as classic matt black or Havana. The sunglasses are also finished with new scratch resistant nano mirror and the frames are also prescription compatible. www. adidas.com
03. C1RCA JIMMY CARLIN SIGNATURE MODEL The new pro in the team has released his signature model, the JC01 shoe. With a brand new low profile outsole, a lightweight cup sole construction and the ultra cushion AeroCush midsole, this is going to make the comfiest ride ever. With the ultra grippy, FusionGrip tread and performance insole, this ‘ready to skate outta the box’ shoe is definitely one for trying out. www.C1RCA.com 04. NEFF MELON HOT TUB SHORTS Beach party, or pool party Neff Hot Tub Shorts are the most fun you can wear. While boardshorts are normally for paddling, these shorts are for partying! 100% polyester microfiber. www.neffheadwear.com
05. DAKINE. THE NEW TREK 26L The Dakine Parkdale collection is a new look in lifestyle and trend driven products that does not sacrificing the inherent quality or function that is expected from Dakine. The new TREK 26L offers a padded laptop sleeve and elevated trim. www.dakine.com 06. PENNY BACKPACK RANGE The original plastic skateboard company has created the ultimate skate backpack collection that fits into a city environment as well as it does down the beach. After tirelessly hammering away to craft the ideal backpack, nothing has been left out. Keeping in mind customer comments and designing it to fit their needs, comes a backpack with strength, endurance, true craftsmanship quality, performance and radness that can fit anyone’s style. www.pennyskateboardsonline.com
MARKET INTELLIGENCE UK By Gordon Way Good news can get boring – let’s face it we all need ‘negative strokes’ to fully appreciate and enjoy the ‘positive strokes’. So let’s kick off with a negative. I just have to look for one.
may sound like it is a long way off – it is really just around the corner. Just five more winter seasons and we will be knocking on the door of 2020. Scary thought.
Britons still feel more cash-strapped than they did four years ago. Despite the economic upturn, despite all the solid economic indicators – we’re still not feeling the love. And get this – the GfK barometer of consumer confidence gave a ‘0’ score for the month of May – it may not seem much but this compares to a -3 for April and is, in fact, the first non negative May reading since 2005. It may not be a + figure… but it’s something. Oh I have drifted into good news. And there’s more!
So what of the here and now? Winter’s over and summer (when writing this) is teasing us with some nice breaks in the weather. The water sports shops are showing signs of early sales and people are certainly coming out of the woodwork and dusting off their surfboards and wakeboards to find that it is time to invest in new kit. James from H20 in Poole was pretty upbeat “We’ve had our best start to the season for years.” Now this was over dinner and a lot of wine but on visiting the shop the next day his upbeat appraisal continued “there’s a good mix of sales. Obviously SUP is moving fast and it seems that some suppliers have underestimated the potential for SUP so supplies may be drying up. We’ve had record weekends already in SUP sales and I can only see this trend continuing – as long as we can get the boards.” The H20 Shop is well worth a visit if you are in Poole – not only can you get a great cup of coffee in the adjoining café but you will see all the kit of your dreams beautifully laid out in a well organised, well presented shop. And Alfie the dog is really friendly as well.
The winter season ended well, the snow came and went but overall the mountains had a great end to the season with some fine last minute snow. The winter sports shops have cleared their decks, the Olympics no doubt adding a boost to last minute holiday bookings. And the good news continues. Looking in to the Crystal Ball of retailing in the future is never easy but O2 commissioned a report on ‘The Future of Retail’ in the UK and the results are in some ways surprising. There IS a future for bricks and mortar stores and whilst online spend is predicted to rise to 21% of retail – meaning that the physical store ‘share’ of spend will reduce - the overall indicator is that, due to increased total spending, stores will continue to have increased revenues. What is important - and it’s really not clear how the independents can handle this situation – is that the “influence” of stores on online purchases is growing dramatically. The report estimates that by 2020 physical stores will sell, influence or ‘touch’ almost 89% of sales. (Touch I believe refers to the click and collect concept!). This influence is easy to manage if you are, say, Apple – you have your own website, your own distribution, your own stores and, God knows how they do it, but they also seem to control the RRP’s magnificently. So the process is pretty straightforward for them. But for the independents – even the chains – it is not clear how their ‘influence’ can be cashed in. The last thing you want is to spend your time demonstrating and presenting a product, influencing the sale only to lose it to some online retailer who is simply undercutting your price. I don’t have a solution here – just food for thought and something that manufacturers and distributors need to think hard about. Will dual margins have to come in to play to help the stores present the products? Trust was another interesting factor in the report – it may seem obvious but shoppers trust bricks and mortar stores more than they do online. I guess they can see into the eyes of the salesman, they know they can return and hold them accountable if something goes wrong and they feel that there has been a real investment in the place they are spending their hard earned cash. This is something that the likes of ‘Trust Pilot’ are trying to address but online reviews are so easily manipulated by unscrupulous vendors. Whilst 2020
Moving on around the coast and into Wales it was such a delight to call Pete from PJ’s Surf Shop in Llangennith, Wales. This shop is based in a small rural location close to some of the best surfing spots that the UK has to offer and is still very much a family business. Pete is a past European Champion, and son, James, who also works in the family business, is obviously a chip off the old block having just become Welsh Surfing Champion a few weeks back. It seems that surfing is in the blood. “I didn’t want to work” is Pete’s ‘excuse’ for having set up this business over 33 years ago “I managed to Surf professionally until I was about 28. Then it just seemed the obvious thing to do to set up a professional surf store”. PJ’s remains true to its roots and is still very much a hardcore surf shop with an extremely loyal following. “The Internet has, of course, damaged the business but our customers really want to buy from us. They may see something online, or a mate may tell them about the latest bit of kit - and they’ll call us and ask us to get it for them. It’s amazing - they really want to support what they regards as an integral part of their sport - their surf shop.” It is this loyalty that keeps Pete loving his sport, loving his customers and maintaining his business. “It’s a small world and customers like to spend their money with real people, people who share their passion”. And Pete is being rewarded: “Business is pretty good right now, the winters always seem long and hard but the good weather is bringing in some excellent business and I’m really happy with how things are shaping up.” It’s quite something in this day and age to be able to talk to a business proprietor that is still running his business more than three decades later. But Pete does have a secret weapon - his wife! “If it were not for Carolyn I’d be a bit sunk - I’d not be able to go surfing and that would make it no fun!” I think it is as true in PJ’s Surf Shop as in any man in business... behind every good man is a better woman (probably!). Is it as true the other way round?
MARKET INTELLIGENCE FRANCE By Benoît Brecq While the surprised French population hear the results of the European elections and rumours surrounding the financing of certain political parties’ electoral campaigns, economic activity continues to shrink in retail commerce and services have also been heading the same way since the start of the year. But this is not the only indicator to worsen in recent weeks. It seems, however, that our new government is continuing on its mission reminding us that all is well and that “the change is now”. It must be said that there are numerous economic signs divergent from the government’s claims. Could these negative signs compromise the government’s objectives, which are set at an annual growth rate of 1%? It’s still too early to say. The price of materials, especially primaries, mustn’t soar and the Euro mustn’t sharply rise against the dollar. If they do all the Euro zone economies will suffer, particularly France’s as almost 60% of French exports are to the Euro zone. The health of the French economy depends largely on that of Europe. It’s this particularly complicated context that forms the stage for the French boardsports market. With mixed weather over Easter and in May, retailers found it hard to get their sales off the ground at the start of the season. We can see, however, that the equipment market is up a bit compared to the start of the 2013 season. In resorts, the 2013-2014 winter has reached its end and despite visitor numbers being down, reports on tourism from resort professionals are “generally satisfactory according to the national mountain resort observatory (ANMSM)”- advantage France. As for sport, snowboarding and skiing remain at their respective levels and the situation is stable. We can see a slight trend towards growth in touring and Freeriding. “I think that people have had enough of riding on piste in resort,” says Pierre Samray from Newrider in Antibes. He continues: “participants are looking for more of an escape and to explore the mountain whether on touring skis or snowboards”. On the STREET scene, the recent trend is for longboards and cruisers, which have become highly popular in the last couple of years. Pierre Samray, organiser of the Newrider tour, confirms this trend: “We now have participants from 7-77 years old. Cruising is on the up and is at the heart of in-shop sales. However, most purchases are completes at under €200 like what Flying Wheels or Long Island are offering. We are also noticing a strong interest in skating amongst younger riders searching for the extreme end of the discipline.” Eric Gros from Hawaii Surf in Ivry sur Seine also confirms: “Longboarding comes in top, closely followed by wooden and plastic cruisers.” He also notes a “small comeback from inlines, the aggressive side of the discipline is giving up more and more ground to free-skating, which suits a larger customer base who want to cruise around.” As for street scooters, the market is mainly centred on the entry level and starters. In France we can see a slight reduction in the topof-the-range segment. Pierre Samray: “I only sell scooters between €100-€200. Top-of-the-range purchases are done online. These riders are onto it and know what they want.” In classic skateboarding “we are on a constant, skateboarding is and will always be skateboarding,” says Eric Gros. The youth are getting into the sport on completes for around €80 and then dreaming of the latest American video. On the aquatic side of things, SUP is the activity of the moment 64
in France. Whether on the sea, lake or even swimming pool, SUP is a real phenomenon that is reaching out to men and women, whatever their age. With the diversification of ‘Beach Race’ and ‘Long distance’ events, the SUP race market is making notable headway while the wave SUP market is increasing a little slower. Without doubt it’s the fastest developing discipline in the South West. Pat from Aloha surf shop in Six Fours confirms: “We are witnessing a real craze for the discipline, SUP has brought your average Joe into boardsports”. Furthermore, “even though the equipment remains quite expensive, SUP attracts an older clientele with higher purchasing power, increasing the average basket value. Nowadays people are turning towards the reputable brands that have proved themselves in terms of reliability and technology”. Brands including: BIC, Starboard, Surftech, Fanatic, NSP and Naish are doing well in SUP. On the Basque coast, ZAZ, (Uncle ZAZ surf shop) shares this view even if it’s more restrained: “SUP has expanded in the last 2-3 years, on those nice days or the flat days in the summer SUP offers an extra activity to go on outings, even though traditional SURFING remains the main activity on the Atlantic Coast.” Having said that, you may be forgiven for doubting this SUP craze, Eric Gros from Hawaii Surf says: “I get the impression everyone is talking about it but it’s not Eldorado either. In Paris it’s mostly inflatables that sell and for me, the essence of the market lies mainly in rentals and schools for introducing people to the sport”. Within SUP, inflatables seem to be the bread and butter for the market and the wider public seem attracted by this alternative that is easier to transport and store. Looking at the Surfboard market, a new wind is being felt with more and more participants and a rotation of board sales helped along by the development of the rental market. As soon as the conditions come together, you can see more and more people in the water, even in winter. Zaz points out that: “The times of winter sessions on the Basque coast, alone in the water, are a thing of the past. The start of the season is quite calm but everyone is getting back into the water.” When it comes to new and future participants, Zaz says: “The initiation aspect is not slowing down and there are still as many people in the schools. The rental market remains an important part of summer turnover for us coastal shops.” Eric Gros notes that the season seems to be kicking off slightly earlier this year, even though things are complicated: “direct sales from leading brands are not helping independent shops. It would be preferable if everyone worked together to favour the network of retailers in place, which has been stable and solid for many years.” Eric adds: “The trend is towards vintage. Old school brands like Santa Cruz or Lightning Bolt are favoured by the real riders. These brands express their state of mind, they are inspiring!” Pierre Samray from Newrider sees “the opportunity for new, young, fresh brands to secure their place in the market like Picture have done for example, which is everywhere in shops.” Once more, the weather will be a key factor for the summer 2014 season. This is what will bring the rain or the shine for retailers. Let’s hope that the swell will come to play and that the sun will drench us in the next three months, allowing everyone to practise their respective boardsports to the max and to provide a great summer 2014 season.
MARKET INTELLIGENCE GERMANY By Anna Langer With pre-summer temperatures climbing up to 20 degrees and a continuously positive consumer confidence index (as reported by the GFK Society of Consumer Research), the latest little cold snap didn’t interfere with action sports retailers’ mood too much. “The weather was nice and made up for better profits than we had last year. More sun is always good!” says Ricardo from Santa Loco in Munich, who was finally released from the massive, year-long construction site right in front of his door in the pedestrian precinct in Munich’s city center. Germany’s boardsports online and retail giant Planet-Sports shares similar experiences: “We already had some great numbers in Spring, especially with sneakers, as well as the new summer stuff and bikinis. The new collections were very well received, particularly with the female customers who were super keen on the new summer styles from March on,” reports boardsports buyer Nicolai.
opening two more shops this year and even more in the future.
Even though the climate in the boardsports landscape is far from a lush summer night, “it’s becoming more and more of a regular, normal market, where no punches are pulled,” says Jörg, who draws from years of experience analyzing the boardsports market. “The retail structure and the challenges for shops are changing permanently. The market is very profitable for investors, who often don’t care about the product at all but have the financial power to open up stores in top locations, that might take away customers from existing shops. The rivalry is growing and the competitive situation is tightening between stationary shops, between stationary and online retailers and between online shops themselves. The costs for marketing operations are increasing for the big players, resulting in ever-higher demands for discounts and challenges for distributors This is confirmed by Jörg from Urban Supplies distribution located in general. This creates an oversupply that leads to more and more in the West of the country. “Compared to last year, sales were good. sales campaigns etc. With the market power a couple of single There was a little increase, even with categories like bearings and brands have, a lot of distributors cave in, offer insane discounts, grip tape, where quality is finally prevailing again, after it was all order and ship on commission, which only tightens the situation for about cheap-cheap-cheap for a long time.” Apart from that, he didn’t the smaller retailers even further and in the same turn strengthens notice any major changes. “DGK and Diamond continue to be very the distributors’ dependency on their shrinking number of clients. strong, just like Girl Decks. Boardsports have simply Almost are in high demand for succumbed to the normal laws of “Brands that don’t support us, we don’t order anymore. their technical innovations in the market, and if retailers aren’t deck construction, but also Some people find that stupid, but it works very well for us.” careful with that, they’ll run into Element, Enjoi, Flip, Thunder, trouble soon.” This is backed up Ricardo from Santo Loco, Munich Spitfire – the usual suspects by Nicolai from Planet-Sports, - stay high in course.” He did who says that boardsports “is notice a little surprise though: an increased demand in complete set still and will continue to be very popular, but isn’t the top trend for ups of regular boards. “While we fought hard last year to clear out the mainstream client anymore. That’s all about the hipster look our stocks with special deals and discounts, we had to stock up and now.” re-order again this spring.” With his shop Santo Loco, Ricardo reacted on this a while ago. Customers in Munich are still keen on longboards too, making them “Brands that don’t support us, we don’t order anymore. Some a good sell. No matter what brand. Brand affinity is still declining people find that stupid, but it works very well for us.” Not quite as in general and all product categories. “Luckily, we’re not really productive and clever is another tactic that Urban Supplies noticed dependent on any brand,” says Ricardo. “The brands who support with some of their clients. “Normally retailers should order, what us, do good business with us and hence give us a good feeling about their customers want. But every now and then there are employees, selling them, gained more than 10% in profits in our store.” Apart who like to be especially cool and only buy brands they’re stoked on from that, times are still tough, he continues. “There are less and themselves, ignoring their clients’ wishes. But they are becoming less core shops and ever more big online and department stores, fewer, they simply don’t survive.” who offer skate/surf/snow.” When it comes to their prognosis for the rest of the year, especially At Urban Supplies, Jörg has a slightly different view and notices the summer, all three completely agree: “good weather = good profits,” addition of new core shops, despite the growing demand for online as Ricardo sums it up in Munich. Not even the football World Cup shopping. “10 years ago, online retailers made up about 10%, but that should be able to throw a spanner in the works. If you trust Jörg, will climb up to 50% in not too much time.” He’s not really expecting according to whom boardsports has reached the states of an any new online shops though, as rivalry “with the established names established sport by now. “That might sound a bit uncool but we’re make chances for success very slim” in his experience. not really a growing market anymore. Yet the demand is still there, even though it’s a delicate little flower sometimes, that strongly Planet-Sports, who are definitely on the established side with their reacts on extraneous causes.” So as long as that flower gets some 10 stationary subsidiaries on top of their internet platform, continue sun, it’ll all be good. Because “after the long winter, people want to experience high online sales. “Online continues to dominate our summer!” says Nicolai and we couldn’t agree more. sales, even though the retail stores flourish as well.” They plan on 66
SPAIN By Asier Zabarte
By Franz Josef Holler
The S&P (Standard and Poor American credit rating agency) raised Spain’s sovereign debt rating from BBB- to BBB with a stable outlook. The first trial against the looting of the savings banks in Spain ended in May with the sentence of two years in prison for former director of Caixa Penedès and each of the three main members of the board for continuing offences of unfair administration. Annual inflation in May stood at 0.2%, two-tenths below the rate recorded in April. Spain has broken all cinema records with a comedy called “8 Basque Surnames”. People are clinging on to any pleasant feelings they can, even with the 21% tax on culture. The European elections broke down the strongest parties as new ones are on the increase surprisingly (or not). Data shows that the average family income decreased from 30,000 Euros to over 26,000 on average. An increase in taxes are predicted as well as difficulties in the employment market, which will probably cause a further drop in consumption. Maybe we need something similar to the film “8apellidosvascos”, to become a shining light for the boardsports industry? Society is becoming unstable with a big gap between classes. Let´s see the feeling on the front line.
Our new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is under pressure as our GDP needs to grow significantly within 2014 and even more for 2015. But as the growth prediction is still under 1% for 2014 the leader of the opposition party puts the finger on him and argues that his influence, good mood and reforms are not that effective as they could be. Overall the mood within the country is better since Mr. Renzi´s election but we still face a lot of problems with youth unemployment, a bureaucratic jungle and high tax pressure especially for small companies. All these problems have existed for yours and now is really the time to improve.
Ricardo Fernández from Marejada, a surf shop and school in Asturias notes that Spring has been so difficult to the point that sales dropped about 20-30% in softgoods. “There are no interesting offers in apparel at all, just note that some brands have cheaper stuff in order to face the situation, but anyway, women prefer low-cost shops when choosing clothes. Hardgoods are working well; boards, wetsuits and accessories are in demand when offering good quality-price choices. Low price hardgoods are becoming bestsellers, like wetsuits at 55€.” Cesar Pastor has made UrbanKlan a streetwear hotspot in Valencia. “Skate sales have risen 8% in comparison to last year. We trust in Volcom and Dickies for clothing due to their designs and the quality of the finished product. There are a few new brands for boards besides the existing ones, Creature, Flip, Powell Peralta, Independent and Santa Cruz. Shirts with pockets and bold patterns are best sellers. In accessories, caps, belts and glasses work well. Close to the line up of LaZurriola on Donostia, Ioana Celayaran owns “IndieBasqueSurfing”. Listening to her we noticed he own products are selling well: “60% of total sales are based on our own label,” and her appreciation for female behaviour is refreshing “basically, surf trends should take more care of girls as their link with water goes further nowadays, and we love shopping! Anyway, our best bet is on local products with motives and events with Basque roots, which has a nice reception in the city, and visitors love them too.” Lolo Gonzalez owns the streetwear & skate retailer called Rountrip in Burgos, since 2004. They have never thought about launching their own wear brand, nevertheless, their philosophy is based on supporting events and street culture. Focusing on apparel, Lolo notes that during the last 3 years, women’s streetwear sales dropped 30%, while men’s sales keep on going okay. Instead of women’s fashion, he now places his orders with junior lines who are improving their offer every season. NewEra is a novelty in the shop, also Gola in shoes with the model Quota. DaKine and Skunkfunk accessories are bestsellers.
The boardsports and streetwear business has seen an OK spring season. ‘OK’ seems to sum up the situation at the moment, as no one is mega happy, yet no one is too down either. Overall the stores do well if they carry the right products. The biggest problem so far is the financial system as the banks are not willing to help out if needed, and so distributions and brands have to give longer payment terms to help stores grow their business or stay alive as tax pressure makes things hard for them. Boardsports overall have a cool image right now and have become mainstream in a way, especially with relation to clothing. Nowadays random folk from teenagers to middle-aged people can be seen wearing threads from our surf, snow and skate culture. This means it’s up to core boardsports retailers to be active and organize events and push for local skateparks etc. One such store who is pushing the local scene is FRISCO SHOP in Brescia. The brothers Federico and Gianluca Tognoli that run the store are very active in every single way with organizing events, skate tours, contests, photo shoots etc. Frisco started off as a small store, and are now one of the top stores in Italy and maybe even Europe. Notable events so far this year in Italy include Element’s ‘Make it Count’ in Brescia, and the Vans Spring Classic in Naples. Still to come is: ‘Blast the Big One’ contest in Seregno, the Italian Skateboarding Championships from Bolzano, the Lobtrick Contest, and the DVS skate team is on tour in Italy throughout July. Hardgoods sales are still very price-sensitive and especially for the kids who skate a lot, products need to fit their budget. That means a lot of shop boards, blank boards and Euro boards are being sold. US companies’ best sellers are mostly price-point logo boards as they can compete with cheaper prices. Primitive skateboards founded by Paul Rodriguez found a home at Fresco sales agency from Merano and will hit the first stores by the beginning of June. On the water side of things, SUP is getting more popular season after season - easy to learn and lots of fun, two key elements that guarantee success. Streetwear trends during this spring season have been for snapbacks in all colours and patterns, cotton tanks and t-shirts with patterns and cool prints, chino pants and also jogger pants are slowly starting to grow and being requested from the more fashionable customer base. Accessories still do well and every store needs a good sock range on the shelves. This is all for this issue, let´s get the board shorts on and have some fun in the sun. Cheers and see you at Bright Tradeshow in Berlin this July to check out the latest news from our scene.
In order to handle the fast growing European market needs, Rome Snowboards is looking for an
Sales Assistant (Full Time)
based in their European Headquarters in Munich, Germany.
SWITZERLAND By Fabien Grisel So it’s time to turn our thoughts to summer but with a springtime that’s so up and down it’s hard to say which way it’ll go. While March felt like a nice June, April and May were more reminiscent of November, cold and rainy, not really shorts weather. It’ll be interesting to see what the summer boardshorts market has in store for us. One thing is noticeable though, most people who snowboard in winter seem to have lost interest in skateboarding, favouring other kinds of sports. We find that endurance sports, amongst others, are attracting more and more snowboarders; it’s conceivable that this is seen as good preparation for the following winter. Following the trend of recent years, enduro and downhill biking continue to grow in our country and one reason for this is that a large number of ski resorts are utilising their infrastructure by opening in summer to maximise profits beyond the small numbers of pedestrians who use the lifts. Downhill and obstacle tracks are popping up all over our mountain resorts. However, the champion of trending summer sports is undoubtedly climbing; this sport is more and more popular amongst snowboarders for whom the benefits of mountaineering techniques are wide ranging. Riders find themselves in an environment that they have affection for and the physical strength aspect also provides great preparation for the exertion that snowboarding requires. Indoor walls are also pretty easy and inexpensive to set up. So what remains for boardsports? Well, they still have their place and a big role to play. Of course, it’s not necessarily the same demographic and as I said earlier the average snowboarder is not necessarily who you’ll find on a skateboard this summer but even still, according to retailers, the skateboard market is bearing up well, it’s even keeping smiles on faces during a tough spring season for shorts. In fact, skateboards in all their forms are still selling well this season. The cruiser, and more specifically, the wooden versions are selling really well, longboards are continuing on their upward curve of recent years and ‘traditional’ skateboarding is being carried along by this wave, taking a significant share of sales. According to Balazs Bodonyi from Surfmachine in Bulle, the longboard market is hard to manage, it seems to have gone in all different directions and loads of new brands have arrived in a market where a large percentage of sales are made online. This phenomenon leads to extremely precise requirements that are often hard to meet. For him, this is a product that has had difficulty finding a balance having grown too quicklya problem that is sure to diminish when the purification process due to over-supply has taken place. To conclude I would say that, despite unfavourable weather, good summer hardgoods sales, especially skateboards, are helping considerably, providing up to a third of turnover this spring. Sales of shorts and shirts are down as well as dropping in price, which is not exactly encouraging; perhaps if the sun graces us with its presence that might quickly change.
Job Proﬁle: This posi(on is responsible to manage our European Dealer Service and assist our European Sales Crew to drive our sales in the EMEA region. -‐ Dealer and Customer Service Management The individual will be processing all Dealer requests and work closely with our Customer Service employees. She/he will be responsible for managing all pre-‐ and re-‐order businesses and will directly report to our Sales & Marke(ng Managers. -‐ Accounts Receivables Management / Sales Assistant One of the main tasks will be the management of our debitor accounts; including invoicing/ credi(ng, payment management and accoun(ng. Assist our controller during the Year-End and work with our bookkeeping and tax accountant. Reports directly to our Accoun(ng Manager.
Candidate requirements: -‐ Commercial or business educa(on in a similar ﬁeld -‐ Minimum of 3 years working experience in the ﬁeld of Customer Service, Accoun(ng and Opera(ons -‐ Fluent German and English (spoken and wriPen), French would be a plus -‐ Very good numerical skills -‐ Strong computer skills and experience in working with Excel -‐ Experience in working with ERP Systems (MicrosoT Dynamics Navision/SAP/similar) -‐ Self-‐organized, highly mo(vated, pro-‐ac(ve and eﬃcient working method -‐ Team player, ﬂexible, open minded, and interested in snowboarding What we oﬀer: Be part of a small, young and mo(vated team. Be able to work in a very diversiﬁed, demanding and interna(onal day-‐to-‐day in a promising company in the spor(ng goods industry.
How to apply: If you are interested in this posi(on and ﬁt our job proﬁle please write a short cover lePer in English and sent it together with your CV and salary requirements by e-‐mail to Philipp Kämmerer (email@example.com).
OPPORTUNITIES Eivy was founded in Sweden 2009, brainchild of traveller, snowboarder, surfer and fashion designer Anna Vister. With a desire to travel light and look right we produce multifunctional first layers feeling and looking so good that you’ll wear them not only while riding, but at the afterski, to the gym, while hanging out at home and even to the club. When summer comes around, swimwear takes the place of the first layers, and the dedicated training collection along with select streetwear and accessories completes the offering of Eivy’s focus on whats closest to your body. Based in the ski and snowboard destination Åre, Sweden, Eivy strives to make products encouraging people to ride, surf, train and live their life to the fullest.
After 5 years of strong growth, we are now looking for a select few partners to represent us in more European countries. Got what it takes? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org eivyclothing.com | fb.com/eivyclothing | instagram.com/eivyclothing
JOBS @ BLUE TOMATO How Blue are you?
Blue Tomato sucht Senior Medien Designer (m/w) Aufgaben: • • • • • • •
Erstellung von Bannern und Grafiken (statisch & animiert) Erstellung von Printmedien (Grafik, Layout und Illustration) Erstellung von Textildesigns und Werbemitteln (Grafik, Layout und Illustration) Print-Katalog Bildbearbeitung, Korrektur und Retusche Pflege von Daten und Grafiken im Blue Tomato CMS Koordination der Projekte innerhalb der Design Abteilung und mit anderen Abteilungen Verantwortung für die technisch korrekte Aufbereitung der Druckdaten (technische Anforderungen der Druckereien, Anforderungen des Webshops, Partnerwebseiten, Affiliates, etc)
Anforderungen: • • • •
• • • • • • • •
mehr Infos fin
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w.blue-tomat Abgeschlossene Grafik- / MedienDesign-Ausbildung(en) o.com/jobs min. 3 Jahre Berufserfahrung Fachkompetenzen: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, inDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, OSX Erfahrung im Bereich Design und Gestaltung von Print und Digitalen Medien, CMS Systemen, HTML Kenntnisse Webshop Kenntnisse (Hybris, Fredhopper,…) sind von Vorteil MS Office sehr gute Deutsch- und Englischkenntnisse in Wort und Schrift; weitere Sprachen von Vorteil Strukturierte, zuverlässige, zielorientierte Arbeitsweise (selbständig und im Team) Gutes Gespür für aufkommende Trends, Grafik und Typografie Szenekenntnisse und Interesse an der Snowboard-, Surf-, Skateboard- und/oder Freeskibranche hohe Leistungsbereitschaft, Kommunikationsfähigkeit, Engagement, Eigeninitiative und Teamgeist Führungsqualität
Beginn: ab September 2014
Ort: Blue Tomato Headquarter in Schladming.
Markku Koski Fredrik Austboe Thomas Iversen Saku Tiilikainen
SCANDINAVIAN FREESTYLE SNOWBOARDING A FRESH APPROACH LAUNCHING ISPO 2015 AGENTS WANTED
Blue Tomato ist bei der Quartiersuche behilflich. Schick einfach deine aussagekräftige Bewerbung bevorzugt via Email mit ausführlichem Lebenslauf, Referenzen und Lichtbild an: email@example.com
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EVENTS#71 SURF / SKATE / SNOW / TRADE
JUNE 29-1 FAR’N HIGH VILLIERS-SUR-ORGE FRANCE SKATE WWW.WCSK8.COM 1-13 FIJI PRO TAVARUA FIJI SURF WWW.ASPWORLDTOUR.COM 5-8 SUMMER X GAMES
8 VANS SHOP RIOT CHELLES FRANCE SKATE WWW.VANSSHOPRIOT.COM 14 VANS SHOP RIOT PIASECZNO POLAND SKATE WWW.VANSSHOPRIOT.COM 21 INTERNATIONAL SURF DAY WORLDWIDE SURF WWW.SURFING-DAY.COM 25-29 DEW TOUR
OCEAN CITY, MD
27-29 RIDE EXPO NIMUS FRANCE SKATE WWW.SKATEAGENDA.WORDPRESS.COM 27-29 CAPSULE PARIS PARIS FRANCE TRADE WWW.CAPSULESHOW.COM 28-29 EXTREME BARCELONA
PARC DEL FÒRUM
4-6 KUMI YAMA
LES 2 ALPES
4-6 MYSTIC SK8 CUP
JULY 8-9 CAPSULE BERLIN BERLIN GERMANY TRADE WWW.CAPSULESHOW.COM 8-10 BRIGHT TRADE SHOW BERLIN GERMANY TRADE WWW.BRIGHTTRADESHOW.COM 8-10 BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN GERMANY TRADE WWW.BREADANDBUTTER.COM 10-11 INTERNATIONAL SURF FILM FESTIVAL ANGLET
LONG BEACH, CA
10-21 J-BAY OPEN KOUGA SOUTH AFRICA SURF WWW.ASPWORLDTOUR.COM 10-13 THE OUTDOOR SHOW FRIEDRICHSHAFEN GERMANY WWW.OUTDOOR-SHOW.COM 11-13 RELENTLESS NASS SOMERSET UK SKATE WWW.WCSK8.COM 16-18 THE PLACE LONDON LONDON UK TRADE N/A 20-23 THE PLACE MANCHESTER
23-24 OAKLEY SURF SHOP CHALLENGE
NEW YORK CITY, NY
25-27 ITALIAN SURF EXPO ROME ITALY SURF WWW.ITALIASURFEXPO.IT 26-3 VANS US OPEN OF SURFING
27-29 CAPSULE MENS PARIS FRANCE TRADE WWW.CAPSULESHOW.COM 30-31 JACKET REQUIRED LONDON UK TRADE WWW.JACKET-REQUIRED.COM
AUGUST 15-26 BILLABONG PRO TEAHUPOO
FRENCH POLYNESIA SURF
16-17 DEW TOUR PORTLAND, OR USA SKATE WWW.DEWTOUR.COM 18-20 AGENDA LAS VEGAS USA TRADE WWW.AGENDASHOW.COM
SEPTEMBER 4-6 SURF EXPO ORLANDO, FL USA TRADE WWW.SURFEXPO.COM 9-20 HURLEY PRO
SAN CLEMENTE, CA
25-6 QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE LANDES FRANCE SURF WWW.ASPWORLDTOUR.COM 26-28 CAPSULE WOMEN’S PARIS FRANCE TRADE WWW.CAPSULESHOW.COM 26-29 SILMO PARIS FRANCE TRADE WWW.SILMOPARIS.COM
ONE EYED MONSTER
APPROACHING LINES SURF FILM FESTIVAL, CORNWALL
Ann’s Cottage & Watershed crew
Approaching Lines’ Nick Holden, Rip Curl’s Sean Harris & Kepa Acero
Finisterre Rebecca Pepperell and photographer Alexa Poppe
Graphic artist Nick Radfordwith Gavin from Sessions Surf Shop
Kepa Acero with Paul Collier and Adam Zervas from Reef
Paul Collier from Reef with Approaching Lines’ Demi Taylor
Quiksilver’s Ben Sousek
Watershed Surf Shop’s Jake Patterson and James Wright
SUZUKI NINE QUEENS - EUROPE’S ONLY ALL GIRLS SNOWBOARD & FREESKI EVENT
Photographer Alex Papis
Smith Optics’ Francesco
Völkl Snowboards’ Weini
Stale Sandbeck and Torstein Horgmo
TTR General Assembly
Richie Tury - StreetMarket, Czech
Streetmarket - Czech Champs
TTR & WSG GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BARCELONA (MAY 31ST)
Annamaria Strittmatter, WSF
Bruno Carnet & Remi Forsans
VANS SHOP RIOT CZECH/SLOVAKIA/HOLLAND
Burnside - winners, Holland
Crew in Slovakia
Welcome to the Summer Skate & Street Issue. Summer time is a big deal in Europe. Winter is when European skateboarders survive, summer is wh...
Published on Jul 2, 2014
Welcome to the Summer Skate & Street Issue. Summer time is a big deal in Europe. Winter is when European skateboarders survive, summer is wh...