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Tiffany Montgomery
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Ando and Friends backed by industry vets

By Tiffany Montgomery
September 18, 2008 12:02 AM

I stopped by the Ando & Friends booth at ASR to find out more about the two-year old brand.


Aleks Petrovitch, an owner of Aqua Surf Shop in San Francisco, told me Ando & Friends was doing really well when I visited the store recently. Graham Day of Shelter Surf Shop in Long Beach told me the same thing.

Andy DavisAndy Davis

The brand showcases the art of Andy Davis, left, an avid surfer, and his friends.

At ASR, I spoke with Ian Kessler, a lawyer and co-founder of Sanuk, who is the majority partner of Ando & Friends and handles operations. Other partners include Bobby Knudtson Jeff Kelley of Sanuk, and of course, Andy Davis.

Ian said Ando & Friends is an upscale, art-driven brand with an environmentally friendly element that appeals to a wide-range of ages.


BobbyKnudtson.IanKesslerBobbyKnudtson and IanKessler

All T-shirts are made with 100 percent organic cotton, and the company is studying making organic fleece sweatshirts.

The line has an understated feel, with touches like seer sucker lining for the hood of a fleece sweatshirt and screen-printed waist bands on shorts.

Ando & Friends currently has approximately $1 million in revenue, and the goal is to double that figure next year, Ian said.

Ian has a lot of experience growing a company, having helped Sanuk grow in 10 years into an industry footwear powerhouse.

For spring '09, Ando & Friends is introducing girls boardshorts, men's walkshorts and a kids line.


ando.drop

Currently, key accounts include Aqua Surf Shop, O'Neill in Northern California, Thalia Surf Shop, Mitch's Surf Shop, Shelter Surf Shop, Jack's Surfboards and Huntington Surf and Sport.

In total, Ando & Friends has about 150 accounts, Ian said, and the company added a lot of new accounts at ASR.

2009 will be a "big year," Ian said, with Ando & Friends bringing in a full-times sales manager and plans for big international growth in countries such as Japan, Australia, Panama, Korea and Canada.

Andy would like to expand into other categories and has lots of ideas, which the company will tackle when its has enough distribution to support the additional categories, Ian said.


Ando.blueocean

Ian envisions Ando & Friends growing into a medium-sized, $30 million to $50 million company.

"We've put a great team together," Ian said. "I'm quite happy."

 


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