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I keep hearing how the high-end Supra shoes are doing well even in a tough market for skate shoes. KR3W also continues to be one of the most popular denim brands in the market, so I thought it would be good to finally meet the people behind the company in their Santa Ana office and warehouse.
I met with owners Scott Bailey and Scott Vanderripe, who handle operations and production, respectively. Third partner Angel Cabada is the creative visionary behind the products. All three have deep industry experience. The two Scotts were part of the team that founded Split and Angel previously was a partner in skate apparel company TSA.
Today, I focus on Supra. Tomorrow, I'll write about what's new with KR3W, business lessons the partners have learned over the years and future company plans.
Supra: The team has been busy keeping up with Supra's rapid growth. Supra expects 100 percent sales growth this year and the company is projecting high double-digit growth for next year as well, they said.
Retailers supported Supra from the beginning when the brand launched in 2006. It took consumers a little while to catch up, which they now have, the partners said.
Although the skate shoe market has been tough, the company believes Supra has done well because of its fashionable, high-end look and designs. The shoes were created to stand out in the market and be something team riders would wear out at night.
Supra has caught on with musicians, young celebrities, athletes and rap stars like Lil Wayne, left, and is a big seller with fashion accounts.
"We didn't think it would with the fashion (market) the way it did," said Scott B.
Trend-setting starlets started wearing the shoes even though Supra does not make sizes for women.
But Supra is selling a lot small men's sizes.
"We sell a lot of size 4s," Scott V. said.
The brand is also doing well with skate shops, though that market developed more slowly than the fashion accounts.
"We have not taken a bite out of the skate market yet, but we can feel it coming," Scott B. said.
The company also creates a lot of limited edition shoes that people scramble to buy and sometimes sell for as much as $1,500 online. Typically, Supra shoes retail for $65 to $150.
Coming tomorrow: KR3W, business lessons, and the future.