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ISSUE 1239 SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

The Weekly Digital Magazine for the Sporting Goods Industry

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Group Publisher Editor In Chief James Hartford 704.987.3450

ISSUE 1239 SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

Senior Business Editor Thomas J. Ryan 917.375.4699 Contributing Editors Aaron H. Bible, Fernando J. Delgado, Charlie Lunan, Matt Powell

The Weekly Digital Magazine for the Sporting Goods Industry

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4 VF OUTDOOR Opens New Headquarters Built for Growth


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WHAT HAS OUTERWEAR DONE FOR YOU LATELY? The Definitive Guide to Fall Outerwear and What Is Working at Retail OUTERWEAR SALES-DRIVING Technologies of Note


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VF Outdoor last week held a media tour of its new headquarters in Alameda, CA, the new home for The North Face, JanSport and Lucy. Marking the completion of one of the largest construction projects in VF Corp.’s history, the 14-acre campus is far from a splashy corporate testament to the wild success the coalition has achieved over the last ten years, driven by The North Face. A closer look underscores how management took great care to create an environment that embodies each brand’s outdoor ethos and the shared passions of their associates. The facility also promises to further foster growth in the years ahead. The three brands had been situated only about 10 to 15 minutes away but in a drab industrial area in basically a warehouse with few windows. The location in San Leandro

was the same facility The North Face occupied when VF Corp. acquired the brand in 2000. In an interview with SGB, Steve Rendle, Vice President, VF Corp. and Group President, Outdoor & Action Sports Americas, said VF Outdoor was looking at new headquarters five years ago but took it off the table around 2009/2010 with the downturn in the economy. The one benefit of waiting was that contractor pricing improved, enabling VF to invest more on the inside of the four buildings. The new 160,000 square-foot headquarters eventually cost $38 million. Rendle said the energy level seen across its 470 employees relocating there had been building in the months before the July opening and has notably increased ever since. Said Rendle, “It’s very fulfilling to see that happen and being able to connect all our brands in such a productive and collaborative way.” Highlighting the differences between the new and old headquarters, Todd Spaletto, president of The North Face, said The North Face’s goal is to have its team “living the brand” and that involves the physical work premises as well. Many decisions were made around establishing a healthy work/life balance. First, he said the choice of SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 |


a community vegetable garden for employee harvest, which will also provide fresh produce for the café. Also supporting outdoor interests among its staff is a 1,000 square-foot fitness center and outdoor training area, an on-campus bike shop, and equipment gear lockers. Employees also have access to nearby running trails along the bay and water access. Beyond work/life balance, Spaletto said a second critical focus was a push to embrace principles around sustainability and protecting the environment. Said Spaletto, “It’s the right thing to do but it’s also what many of our associates are passionate about.” Under the guidance of Adam Mott, senior manager of corporate sustainability at The North Face, the campus was built in accordance with LEED Gold standards with much of the structure featuring reclaimed wood. It generates 100 percent of its anticipated electricity needs through a combination of photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines. Additionally, a state-of-the-art indirect-direct evaporative cooling (IDEC) HVAC system circulates 100 percent fresh air without the use of emission causing coolants. Lights also dim based on the amount of natural light filtering through windows in another energy saving maneuver. The campus also features electric vehicle charging stations and is located near public transit to encourage associates to consider alternative modes of transportation to and from the new headquarters. A more extreme feature is that cubicles don’t have waste baskets to encourage employees to compost. Steve Rendle, Vice President, VF Corp. and Group President, Outdoor & Action Sports Americas

the location was “very purposeful” from a commuting standpoint. About a third of its employees live across the bay in San Francisco; a third just north in the Oakland, Rockridge and Berkeley areas; and then a third to the east in San Fernando Valley. He also said the Bay area continues to work well for VF Outdoors’ many brands because so many activities are nearby. Said Spaletto, “For us to be able to have a work environment where people can go trail running in Marin, mountain biking in Santa Cruz, climbing in Yosemite, skiing and hiking in Lake Tahoe - all within three hours and some within 30 minutes, that’s really important to us. And that’s how we start to define ‘living our brand.’” Inside the building, Spaletto said that bringing in more natural light was essential for the “outdoor-minded people” that drive its workforce. Almost 95 percent of its staff can see the outdoors at their workstations versus few windows at the former facility. Management is seated on the inside with staff hugging the windows. The headquarters includes a subsidized café (all meals capped at $6.50) featuring healthy and organic food options that also hosts cooking classes and chef demonstrations. Inside lunch options at the San Leandro headquarters included a few sandwich dispensers. Borrowing from the employee gardens at the recently acquired Timberland’s headquarters in Stratham, NH, the facility also features 6 | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

Todd Spaletto, president, The North Face

Finally, Spaletto said a main benefit will be improving collaboration between internal teams across brands with outdoor meeting areas, shared R&D areas, and the overall layout across the four buildings. For instance, he noted how the equipment design team is able to place tents directly outside its offices. That not only helps with testing within the department, but also encourages feedback from the many camping enthusiasts across all three brands.

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In addition to a centrally located café that will bring together employees from all three brands to likewise encourage employees to share ideas and resources, the “Yurt Advanced Product Lab” innovation center serves all three brands as a hub for cross-brand collaboration that leverages the individual strengths of each brand. The campus also features many meeting tables outside to further inspire out-of-the-box discussion and approaches. Said Spaletto, “I think there’s a direct impact that we see as a result of those investments and there’s an indirect one, whether that be the camaraderie, the collaboration, or just the general moral and engagement the employees are feeling.” For specifically The North Face brand, Rendle called the new campus “just one more step in unlocking” the brand’s full potential. “Giving this employee base an inspirational work environment helps them connect more deeply with the outdoors and unlocks what’s in their minds and hearts around the outdoors and the activities that we all love so much,” said Rendle. “I don’t think you can put a price tag or a growth factor against it but you can see it in peoples’ eyes. There’s an excitement to come to work, being able to have a more collaborative work environment, and being able to easily go back and forth between departments to share ideas.” But JanSport and Lucy as well as the other five brands in the Outdoor & Action Sports coalition – Eastpak, Vans, Reef, SmartWool and Timberland – also stand to benefit. All will have access to the material testing lab, the new innovation center, and the overall setup that encourages increased collaboration. Specifically regarding Timberland, Rendle said Alameda’s teamwork friendly atmosphere will help Timberland tap VF’s expertise to relaunch around its goal of growing its apparel business by $300 million over the next three years. Said Rendle, “This is where the apparel knowledge sits so they’ll be able to tap into the materials team and into technology resources but also product designers and merchants in helping to think 8 | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

about how to craft the Timberland apparel collection. What styles might be more apt to succeed? What textiles would they use? What would be the right color stories that that brand positioning would be optimized by? Being able to access those merchant, design, development, supply chain and materials resources; this is where that team comes.” Conversely, he noted that Brian Moore, formerly VP, men’s footwear at Timberland, was recently appointed VP, global footwear at The North Face, and he is enabling The North Face’s footwear team to gain quick access to the materials, design and other shoe knowledge in Timberland’s headquarters in New Hampshire. At the same time, Rendle noted that the Vans team could also benefit from the R&A investments in Alameda while also noting that The North Face team regularly heads down to Vans’ headquarters in Cypress, CA to tap into their knowledge of the action sports customer. Said Rendle, “Our Vans team is really good at visually connecting with youth and our online teams and our product teams tap into that resource.” Overall, Rendle believes VF’s Outdoor and Action Sports coalition now counts three strong innovation centers with Stratham and Cypress coordinating with Alameda to spread insights across brands.

”I’m the one lucky guy that gets to spend time going from business to business and making those connection points easier,” said Rendle. ”We have three big resource bases with knowledge around consumers, product and how to take our messages to market in a clear way. It’s unlocking the potential within each of those brands and helping the teams make those connections.” Rendle also spent time discussing the progress of brands not mentioned so much on conference calls. He noted that the coalition’s three “billion dollar brands” – The North Face, Vans and Timberland – are talked about because they’ll naturally have the biggest impact on VF’s top line and shareholders are most interested in their growth curves. But he suspects that Lucy, Reef and SmartWool will increasingly be talked about given their strong emerging growth prospects. All three are between $100 and $200 million in revenues and are positioned well around activities that have similarly driven growth at The North Face and Vans in recent years. “That activity-based connection with the consumer we have found enables us to make a very unique connection to go from a brand that you’re aware of to a brand that you have a focused affinity for and we’re able to drive faster growth,” said Rendle. “With Lucy, Reef and SmartWool, we think there’s an opportunity to scale them at a fast rate.”

Internally, Rendle said SmartWool is referred to as the “Gift With Purchase” in the Timberland acquisition. Said Rendle, “It’s an amazing brand with an amazing team that’s a great business.” He said the brand is doing “extremely well” in its core sock category, with 60 percent-plus share in the outdoor socks market while also tapping growth in socks serving the running and cycling areas. He credits SmartWool’s adept skills servicing specialty doors. In apparel, SmartWool was just beginning to move beyond base layers, where it has a “really strong” share in outdoor and ski channels, at the time of the acquisition. Combining VF’s knowledge of sourcing textiles and production along with SmartWool’s expertise in Merino wool is expected to help the brand move into mid-layers and outer-layers. SmartWool has also been a predominantly U.S. brand and is already being positioned to better capitalize on overseas growth under VF’s distribution platform. Lucy, which has approximately 60 stores, is in “a fast-growing, very-vibrant market that has a clear leader.” Rendle believes Lucy’s consumer focus and opportunity is even larger than the yoga-focused Lululemon. The brand is gaining traction on the wholesale side with in-store shops established at places like REI, but Rendle said the focus will be retail. Said Rendle, “We see a big opportunity to grow there and that will be through our own stores.” The women’s activewear brand is currently conducting a test of a new prototype in Burlingame, CA with a strong community focus. Added Rendle, “By November, we’ll have our new prototype open and we’ll be able to test that through the holiday season. If it proves to be as successful as we think it will be, you’ll see us start to scale Lucy stores behind it.” Reef is growing in the mid-teens so far this year, certainly benefiting from the mild weather this past winter but also from a repositioning back to its core competency around sandals. Rendle said Reef “got caught up in doing too many things,” particularly moving too quickly into apparel. Reef’s team

has subsequently “redoubled” its effort around sandals and also found success moving into a more “logical adjacency” of hanging, closed-toe footwear. In hanging closed-toe footwear, the brand feels it differentiated itself by focusing on comfort, the hallmark of its success in sandals. With strong response to the Bella Costa, Coastal Cruisers and Reserve models, Reef is taking share in closed-toe at its core surf shop channel and also gaining placement at better department stores with the same footwear. Apparel for Reef has been pulled back to classic surf categories such as board shorts, t-shirts and hoodies and has been experiencing “great sell-throughs.” The brand is now extending into pants, wovens and possibly fleece jackets in a more patient way. SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 |


Brian Moore, VP footwear, The North Face

“When we’re moving into those incremental extensions, we want to make sure we’re doing it in a very methodical, controlled way and also getting the wind at our back before making that next logical leap,” said Rendle. “It is getting the consumer’s permission, getting the retailers to come with you to see that sell through, and as you start to get that formula to work, you can keep extending to where the brand has permission to be.” JanSport, the oldest brand in VF’s outdoor portfolio, has regained momentum in recent years and is seeing mid-single-digit growth rates. It’s also “very profitable,” stated Rendle. While benefitting from its position as the category leader in backpacks, the brand has also benefited under the direction of Steve Munn, JanSport’s president, from efforts to focus on younger consumers via grassroots and social media initiatives. JanSport’s Bonfire Sessions concert series has received a strong response and is being expanded to five cities across North America in 2012. Said Rendle, “We’re not just selling backpacks, we’re selling a lifestyle and we’re selling a connection to that lifestyle and coming to them through arts and music.” A promising project for JanSport has been the opening of a kiosk in Atlanta that was co-developed with some of its distributor partners in the Philippines and Brazil. In early testing, the kiosk ranks as “the most profitable retail format that we have today.” But Rendle indicated VF is exploring switching brands in the Outdoor & Action coalition or even among VF Corp.’s other coalitions to extend the kiosk to a 12-month business. Adding e-commerce is also another initiative for JanSport. Rendle described Eastpak as “our JanSport of Europe.” While JanSport has a strong foothold in the U.S., Latin America and Asia, Eastpak, acquired by VF in 2000, is “really strong” across Europe and the intention is to continue that focus internationally. Said Rendle, “[Eastpak and JanSport] share a lot of the same focus on how they approach the consumer and how they think about who their consumer is. Their products, though distinct, are at that same price point and deliver a lot of the same value.” 10 | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

Like JanSport, Eastpak is “very profitable” while delivering mid- to high-single-digit growth for “quite a few years,” said Rendle. Much like Vans, Eastpak has been “defying gravity” by not being meaningfully impacted by Europe’s financial crisis. Added Rendle, “We think it could be that both brands have made themselves so important to their consumer’s day-to-day life, but they both also have very accessible price points, which we think also has a dramatic impact.” Napapijri, the Italian, high-end brand with a focus toward heavily logoed and patch worked outdoor-inspired sportswear, has continued to deliver high-single-digit growth since it was acquired in 2004. But the growth is largely coming from its home markets in southern Europe and Germany. When it acquired the brand, Napapijri was selling to some high-end department stores but that business has been pulled back after the brand began encountering challenges delivering on-time and with more frequency required to service the channel. The brand continues to build on its European base and is exploring growth in Japan but is holding off on U.S. expansion for now. Said Rendle, “The biggest opportunity is growing its share in its home market today. It very well will come back [to the U.S.]. It just isn’t the time.” As far as acquisitions, Rendle said VF has the financial capacity and continues to look at the outdoor and action sports space for candidates. He said each of the eight brand leaders have been working together on refining VF’s view of both the outdoor and action sports industries to get a better view of the “white spaces” VF is missing. The more fine-tuned approach is helping VF understand whether an existing brand can tap those opportunities or whether another acquired brand will be required to extend the coalition’s reach. “We know where we would like to hunt,” said Rendle. “It’s just helping us be much more focused on pinpointing those opportunities. We’re always looking and there’s nothing I can speak about today. But it’s absolutely a part of our growth strategy.” With a few acres still open on the campus, the Coalition has room for more brands – or maybe a move for one of the current brands? ■■




12 | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

Photo courtesy of Columbia


right color blocking, mixed-material construction, wool, innovative laminates, lighter weight…all are just a few of the trends consumers are looking in outerwear this Fall. And manufacturers are giving it to them, via specialty shops, big boxes, and online, with a renewed focus on quality, environmental sensitivity, and innovation. If retailers are facing carry over from the lackluster 2011/12 winter - and if Labor Day sales didn’t wipe that slate clean - there are still plenty of strategies to not only jumpstart sales, but to start anew with the freshest, most technologically advanced outwear season in years. Despite the myriad of new products (some retailers insist that too many SKUs and too many new brands make it harder to differentiate products to customers), tighter margins, and a bumpy economy coming off a yo-yo weather year, it seems dealers have a lot to smile about…smiles ideally brought on by the prospects of an early and lasting winter season. So what is the industry doing as a whole to amp up Fall sales, and what can salespeople do to be successful on the front lines? Mary Mancini, merchandise manager in apparel for Colorado Ski & Golf and Boulder Ski Deals, buys for six stores on Colorado’s Front Range. “As a specialty retailer committed to giving our guests the experience of a lifetime, it is critical for our salespeople to have confidence in the product we sell. The first thing I tell them is that every piece of ski and snowboard outerwear we carry in our stores is built for the sport and the conditions they will experience on the hill,” Mancini said. “That being said, guest needs vary, and so do the features/benefits of our products. In other words, all of our garments are made with waterproof fabric. The degree of waterproofness and the presence of seam taping will vary between products and price points.” “The same is true with insulations in insulated garments, varying depending on the needs of our guests,” Mancini explained. “Once we have assured our salespeople of this basic premise, we begin a series of clinics to give our people an intimate knowledge of how the product works and how it should fit. We start with an ‘in house’ clinic given by myself and key people within our company to go over the basics and general information that will hold true regardless of brand. Next, all of our key vendors schedule individual clinics in all six stores to give in-depth information regarding their products. This enables our salespeople to give the customer what they need...not too little, not too much.” Based on research, carryover may not be extraordinary across the board as was previously thought. “We have a certain amount of carry over every year as it would be impossible to accommodate our guests during the season if we sold through our product too soon,” Mancini said. “We have everything they will need for their mountain adventures through the entirety of the ski season. Some years we are buying and replenishing our stores into March. Some years, we don’t bring in as much product toward the end of the season. We run a huge pre season sale every Labor Day, Ski Rex, along with the Ski Expo in November to reduce our carryover inventory and supply our local guests with killer deals.” According to Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge, CO, carryover levels coming into Fall are normal, sales staff are being educated on new product, and the specialty retailer expects material innovations to drive even more sales this winter once the snow starts flying. SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 |


Mancini agrees that innovation is what drives full-priced selling. “The big buzz in the industry is products that do the most and weigh the least. Lightweight fabrics, coatings, laminates, and insulations are everywhere. For our most active guests this will be a big selling point, along with breathability…those who climb to the top of the mountain rather than ride the lift,” she said. “For the rest of our guests, the assurance that they are buying the right product for their needs will be the key. Of course, Gore-tex, 3M insulations, taped seams, and high degrees of breathability are always part of the ‘tech speak’ and all the top brands have these things somewhere in their product offerings.” It’s no different for online customer sales and service reps. founder and CEO Steve Kopitz explained, “At we stress the need to first evaluate the customer by asking the right questions. Getting these answers will narrow down what type of jacket or pant they need to get in to so that we can ultimately find the perfect match for each customer.” Koptiz’s sales folks are trained to ask the following questions: 1. What type of conditions are you skiing in? 2. Do you get hot or cold easily? 3. Do you plan on sweating up a storm or skiing more casually? 4. What type of fit do you like? 5. Are you going to be carrying a lot of items? “From here, our sales people take the customers’ answers and use them to explain why they would need a specific piece,” Koptiz said. “Every year technology has advanced dramatically in clothing. Fabrics are lighter, warmer, and have more breathability and stretch than ever before. However, many customers’ perceptions still are distorted. Gone are the days where you have to be in a heavy coat to be warm.” According to customer service supervisor Wally Phillips, sales people should always ask the customer open-

ended questions. “These usually help to narrow down the garment that will work best with what the customer is doing,” Phillips said. “Ask: Where will it be used? What is it being used for? How often will it be used? Find out what the customer is looking for when it comes to style vs. fit and price vs. features.” Meanwhile, manufacturers continue to focus on their own innovations to hand down. “An educated sales staff is key to driving sales. For Sierra Designs, it’s all about DriDown this fall,” said Scott Kaier, Sierra Designs’ public relations manager. “We’ve launched our hydrophobic down technology in a line of 600-fill sleeping bags, a 600-fill puffy down jacket, and an 800-fill down sweater all of which are available at retail now.” Among Sierra Design’s Fall sales support is full-page ads in prominent outdoor publications to drive awareness of this technology; extensive PR outreach; prominent POP support including oversized hangtags to help draw attention and educate; and in-store clinics educating retail floor staff to make it easier for them to discuss this technology

with customers. “There is a ton of buzz around DriDown and we’re doing what we can to keep the buzz alive while helping retailers to effectively engage customers and educate them to ultimately drive sales,” Kaier said. According to Kristo Torgersen, alpine product line manager at Patagonia, salespeople need to stay focused on getting the customer into the right product based on his or her needs. “They should be asking questions to better understand the intended activity, conditions, and performance expectations of the customer, which will enable them to suggest products that will best meet their needs. In this way, the customer will leave with a product they are pleased with, performs as expected, and feeling positive about their shopping experience in the store.” How does Patagonia help retailers accomplish this? “In addition to our sell-in materials, our reps host clinics with major retailers about the materials, technical features and ideal end-use positioning for our product range,” said Torgersen. “In these clinics we focus on quality and

performance standards, many times with side-by-side competitor product comparisons.” For Patagonia, insulation continues to drive sales, according to Torgersen. “What were traditionally midlayer garments have become versatile enough to be worn as outerwear also, especially in our down styles and Nano Puff synthetic insulation,” he said. “In Fall 2012, we introduced several ‘hybrid’ styles – combining two different fabrics on a single garment to create styles with a greater range of benefits for active uses. Our new technical fleece styles in Piton Hybrid, Nano Puff Hybrid (in synthetic insulation), and the Mixed Guide Jacket and Pants (in shells), have had a strong reception and we anticipate growth in Hybrid designs in the future.” Outerwear powerhouse Columbia Sportswear is also using fabric combinations (body mapping), technical innovation, and education to drive sales, but for them, the key to success is being found in “visible technologies.” According to Columbia product sales manager for the U.S. Dean Rurak, differentiation through innovation is first and foremost. “The bottom line is, as a brand, to engage the customer,” explained Rurak. “Our job is to draw the interest of the customer, and make it easier for the salesperson to convert the sale. Sure there is some carryover in the marketplace, just like every year, but we actually had decent sell throughs.” Interestingly, Rurak also said that Columbia’s fastest growing and largest selling point is specialty retail. “Branded stores help elevate

the brand in consumers’ minds and perception of the brand,” he said. But the ultimate goal is to draw the customer in and convert that sale. Branded stores often serve as a showcase and testing ground for innovative displays and in-store POP efforts. Columbia essentially invented versatility with its three-in-one ski jacket back in 1986. In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, Columbia is again focusing on interchangeable, as well as body-zoned, technology, in addition to their all-important visible technologies. Versatility and cross-functionality are key selling components for staff to take note of. Consumers then get what Rurak called the “technology benefit plus versatility.” According to Woody Blackford, VP of global innovation at Columbia Sportswear, the company is pursuing a “strategy of innovation” that began Spring 2008 with the launch of it’s OmniShade technology, aimed at creating product that is differentiated in the marketplace. Following what Blackford refers to as an “ingredient brand strategy,” the company provides intuitively perceivable benefits to consumers that are not only easy to understand, but easy to see with direct visual feedback, which also draws them to touch and investigate the product. For comparison, Blackford harkens back to the mid-1980s when Nike revealed an air bubble in the midsoles of its Nike Air basketball shoes. “Apparel never picked up on that,” said Blackford, “until now.” As a brand, Columbia has another distinct advantage in that it is the owner and creator of its own technology. That allows it to mix and match fabrics within the same garment and to body-map its layering systems without stepping on any other suppliers’ toes. Jim Howard, VP and commercial director for Salomon USA Apparel, believes that Salomon’s continuing commitment to design and innovation in materials is what sets them apart. “For alpine outerwear, we’re driving sales with outerwear featuring our climaPRO Storm our 20/20 waterproof breathable fabric that is highly protective and breathable for performance during bad weather including wind, snow and rain,” Howard said. “We’ve been working on how to incorporate this fabric in insulated and non-insulated pieces, and we have the perfect options with the new Cadabra Insulated and the Cadabra 2L non-insulated jacket for men.” “Venting is also important this fall/winter,” Howard said. “In the Cadabra we’ve created an air vent system with mesh backing that allows you to hike in this jacket and not overheat, but still be warm and dry whatever the weather. It’s the piece our pros are wearing in the backcountry. Dealers are recognizing Salomon technologies, so it makes it easier for them to talk with customers about what the outerwear does really well. Our design focus is about four themes: progressive, athletic, comfort, engineering. That means, we build our outerwear to fit a person in different levels of activity. Some pieces are designed in a full-charging position for freeskiers who get after it on the mountain, so they are articulated with plenty of room in the elbows, shoulders and knees. Other pieces are designed for hikers who might be moving at more even pace, or urban adventurers who are on more level terrain.” SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 |


Photo courtesy of Columbia

“And since so many customers ask about waterproof/breathable, it’s important to know what our fabric answers are,” Howard explained. “For example, a 3-layer jacket would be best for high-mountain alpine activities. It’s a water-repellent woven fabric with a waterproof and breathable membrane or coating and backing fabric like tricot or fleece. A 2.5-layer would be best for trail running or trekking. It’s waterrepellent woven fabric with a waterproof and breathable membrane or coating and just a print protection. A 2-layer would be a versatile option for skiing. It’s a water-repellent woven fabric with a waterproof and breathable membrane or coating and an independent lining.” Bergan’s of Norway, new to the U.S. market, is also trying to educate salespeople about the company, its design philosophies and materials in order to help them meet customers’ needs. “Bergans has been designing and producing worry-free ski and outdoor gear and apparel since 1908,” said vice president of sales and marketing Keith Patterson. “With Norway's high latitude there are large seasonal and day-to-day weather variations, so our designers develop products with a mix of various technical fabrics and construction techniques based around the layering philosophy. This allows for greater range in comfort depending on the weather, and results in clothing that can be used year round. From wool base layers, to mid-layers, and even hard and soft-shell outer layers, using super-breathable, non-porous, waterproof membranes such as Toray’s Dermizax NX, and poly-wool mixes such as Pontetorto’s Tecnowool, we combine innovative technology and function, with fashionable designs and fits. We are also working with the media on 16 | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

product testing and reviews to further prove the performance of our products, which will drive consumers into retailers’ shops.” Other outerwear stalwarts have a different strategy. “We’re delivering early to our retail partners our Fall/Winter ‘slope-to-après’ street pieces such as Men’s and Women’s soft knit sweaters, softshell jackets and our trademark windshirts - waterproof/breathable shell shirts made from our ski outerwear shell fabrics,” said Obermeyer’s Robert Yturri, SVP of product and brand management. “Offering our retail partners these early delivery products creates a turnover in sales starting in Fall at the first weather cold snap, before their shops become fully stocked in winter outerwear.” “We have an image program with action shots, lifestyle shots and product shots that we custom-produce in any size at no charge to our dealers – a great way to spruce up shop walls,” said Linda Rondey, national sales director for Obermeyer. “All Obermeyer sales reps will provide personal shop visits and informative clinics, either formal or informal depending on shop needs. We are producing a shop clinic flyer with tips on how to sell Obermeyer, and we will of course have some fun sales contests for our shops nationwide.” “Working closely together over the past three years, Obermeyer and Cocona have been continuously fine-tuning our innovative proprietary partnership fabrics and insulations to realize just the right combination of breathability and waterproofness for skiers and all winter sports enthusiasts. And this year, we nailed it,” Yturri continued. “You won’t find a smarter thermal-regulating jacket than our Men’s and Women’s Cocona Jackets. To help us prove it, we’re proud to announce for FW12 that the highly acclaimed Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Wengen chose to purchase our Men’s Ketchikan Cocona Jacket and Women’s Logan Cocona Jacket to outfit their entire team of instructors for this season.” When not talking about hitting the slopes, demand for outerwear remains high. “Carhartt sales associates are trained work-apparel industry experts who stay current with the latest industry trends,” said Steve Carter, vice president of sales for Carhartt. “They develop customized orders for their accounts based on the consumer segment the store focuses on. If called for, model stocks are developed for the basic replenishment items the store carries. The Carhartt sales associate is also in a position to develop a retail marketing plan with their accounts that utilizes tools provided by Carhartt to target specific channels of distribution.” “Carhartt is constantly developing innovative new products, like our new Quick Duck outerwear line for fall, all suitable for the targeted consumers of the brand and also to bring new consumers to the brand,” Carter continued. “Carhartt products are designed with not only the end user in mind but also the channel of distribution, keeping in mind the price elasticity suitable for the designated channel. Product knowledge, industry knowledge, an eye toward both sell-in and sell-through, a customized approach to product assortment, an understanding of what type of marketing is suitable for a specific account, and the understanding that our sales associates are caretakers of an iconic brand, is what helps a retailer to maximize his or her investment with the Carhartt brand.” ■■

SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 |



Photo Courtesy of Outdoor Research

CARHARTT Work-wear consumers want the same comfort and durability Carhartt has been known for, but with increased mobility and less weight, and Carhartt’s new Quick Duck outerwear line addresses this by being 30 percent lighter than Carhartt’s traditional cotton sandstone offerings while maintaining ounce-for-ounce durability. Quick Duck is also the main feature in its Fall 2012 ad campaign. The water-repellent finish and mid-weight polyester insulation lining is lighter, has a softer hand and will keep the wearer warm and dry. Being lighter weight means the company can reach new audiences in need of durable, rugged gear and allow for more ease of movement.

18 | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

Carhartt Quick Duck Traditional Jacket

PEARL IZUMI New from Pearl Izumi is the P.R.O. Barrier WxB Jacket with 2.5 and 3.5-layer stretch fabric with Mineral technology for optimal waterproof and breathable protection as well as quick moisture transfer and faster drying time. Full-length and watertight, the offset zipper with draft flap keeps warmth in while regulating for a comfortable body temp. The jacket includes one back pocket with three internal dividers and one chest pocket, and is also compatible with all two-snap hood adjustments. (MSRP $325)

P.R.O Barrier WxB Jacket

PATAGONIA H2No Performance Standard is the big story for Patagonia this fall. The company’s testing facility is one-of-a-kind, ensuring a high level of longterm performance backed by its Ironclad Guarantee. H2No Performance Standard products undergo the most rigorous testing in the industryThe Torrentshell for example (MSRP $130). Killer Wash is Patagonia’s proprietary wet flex test that simulates years of use in drenching conditions. The H2No Performance Standard for waterproof shell garments is 20,000MM before, and 10,000MM after, Killer Wash tests (per JIS L 1092 B). It also sends ambassadors and testers into the field to punish garments in every possible condition to expose potential weakness in materials or construction. Torrentshell Jacket

MARMOT Marmot is incorporating innovation and body-mapping/ fabric mixing to achieve hybrids that are having excellent results at retail. The Variant Hoody achieves mobility with Polartec PowerStretch Pro shoulders, back, hood and arms-with Thermal R insulation in the core delivering warmth where it is needed. It has a nylon ripstop DWRtreated shell. (MSRP $185) The company is also banking on softshell technology with its Zion Jacket. The Zion is made from Polartec NeoShell for lightweight waterproofness, breathability, and four-way stretch. It is also quiet, seam taped, and feature-rich for full protection in real-life use. (MSRP $385)

Variant Hoodie

Zion Jacket

SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 |


OUTDOOR RESEARCH Outdoor Research is presenting dealers with a number of innovations for Fall. The Lodestar Jacket features Polartec Power Shield High Loft- a new fabric technology from Polartec- and Outdoor Research is one of just two brands using it for Fall 2012. The Incandescent Hoody is a combination of Pertex Quantum GL 10-denier face fabric (light, strong face fabric that allows down to loft to its maximum potential and packs up small) and 800+ fill down. The Vanguard Jacket uses Gore-Tex softshell fabric with a Gore membrane for waterproofing, in an all-the-bell-and-whistles construction for skiers. The trendy Feedback Flannel looks and feels like your favorite cotton flannel, but is actually a technical, wicking fleece that can be used as a mid layer. And the Axiom Jacket, new in Spring 2012, with Gore Active Shell, is another technology doing well for Outdoor Research.

From L to R: The Lodestar Jacket, The Incandescent Hoodie, The Vanguard Jacket, The Axiom Jacket



Columbia Sportswear introduces the Ultrachange Parka and the Triteca jacket for dealers this Fall. Pushing the limit of Columbia’s typical price point but delivering exceptional value with versatility, the Ultrachange features a warm liner jacket under an element-defying, wicking outer shell. (MSRP $450) The Triteca Softshell Jacket also features multiple technologies in one, in this case using body-mapping, designed to provide strategic warmth, comfort and protection in inclement weather. MSRP $220

Sierra Designs three-piece Cloud Layering System removes the bulky, less-breathable 3-layer waterproof/breathable jacket from the mix and replaced it with the far more versatile Cloud Windshell and Cloud Airshell. The Windshell is a highly breathable, non-waterproof layer that creates a microclimate to keep you warm by shedding wind and slowing evaporative cooling. The Airshell is a 2-layer waterproof and highly breathable layer made with Sierra Designs Illusion fabric. The Airshell is designed to be worn only when it’s raining, weighing 4 oz. and packing down to the size of two energy bars. The third piece in the Cloud Layering System is the Cloud Puffy, a hooded, 800-fill DriDown jacket that packs warmth and performance into a 12-ounce package.

Ultrachange Parka

Triteca Softshell Jacket

Cloud Puffy





K2 Sports

Design Engineer - Ski Boot

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Director of Organizational Effectiveness


Embroidery Coordinator

The Design Engineer works closely with the Product Director, Category Manager and Brand Director to meet market and financial needs. He/she is responsible for managing development projects for new designs and clearly communicating to the R&D groups, production and suppliers. Responsibilities include manage projects and timelines for new products and development, work with K2 Team to develop technologies...

The Director of Organizational Effectiveness will formulate and develop strategic plans, procedures and programs to meet the needs of the organization, including, but not limited to Change Management and Leadership Development. Establish and manage a change management center of excellence (COE) and lead the effort to build change management capability throughout the organization…

Easton-Bell Sports

Title Nine Sports

Power Force Apparel

The Sales Operations Manager analyzes plans and provides budgeting and forecasting processes for Easton sports products. This position is a key resource for providing ongoing sales financial data to the Sales, Finance, Planning and Customer Service Departments. The Sales Operations Manager will focus on the development, design and implementation of structures…

Title Nine is a leading multi-channel retailer of women’s athletic apparel and gear with 19 retail stores, thriving website, catalog business and a growing new brand, Bounce. Responsibilities for this position include managing the sourcing and product development team of 3-5 people - including the internal technical design team and external designers - working with the product development team, merchants…

This individual will be responsible for managing the design team, production, and the footwear and apparel sales team and guiding, analyzing, and building the sales of our new branded footwear and apparel. Primary responsibilities include working with the product designer to coordinate production in factories located in China, implementing new processes and honing efficiencies…

BSN Sports

Big Rock Sports

Columbia Sportswear

Big Rock Sports, the leading distributor of hunting and fishing equipment is looking for an outstanding individual to service and sell to our customers in the Southern Colorado area. Primary responsibilities include qualifying leads and soliciting orders for products or services within a designated territory, building sales with Big Rock Sports customers of record, working with assigned customers to maximize sales with all dealers…

Responsible for managing the development process for Category Apparel, Accessory & Equipment products by collaborating closely with Merchandising, Design, Sourcing, the Hong Kong Development Center, LO Merchandiser, Quality Assurance and contract manufacturers to ensure that design integrity, quality, and target price are maintained and that products are developed within established timelines…

Sales Operations Manager

Sales Professional-TN BSN Sports is currently seeking high energy Sales Professionals with a take charge attitude to join our team as a Sales Professional in Memphis, TN. Primary responsibilities include developing and maintaining relationships with Athletic Directors, Coaches, City Recreational Directors and various youth organizations, over achieving sales goals, participating in trade shows, sales meetings and conferences…

Sourcing/Product Development Manager

Outside Sales Representative

OGIO, the designer of uniquely styled collections of golf bags, apparel and accessories, today announced its need for an additional embroidery coordinator to support its rapid growth in the golf market. The position is responsible for managing and overseeing all artwork creation, digitization development, stitch out approvals, color coordinating all logos for embroidery…

Senior Vice President of Operations

Glove & Accessory Developer


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// t wit SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 |




Photo Credit: Adam Barker





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