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My first stop on the first day of ASR was Allyance. It was 10 a.m., and Johnny Monson was happy.
Becker and Ron Jon's had already stopped by to express their interest in the line. While I was there, Jurgen Schulz of K-5 arrived, and began to preview the clothes, pen and paper in hand.
Johnny said he is consistently hearing from retailers that they like where Allyance is going - especially that the young brand is marketing itself heavily to build brand awareness.
Marketing: Allyance created a commercial for Fuel TV and runs print campaigns in several publications, including Surfer, Transworld Surf, Thrasher, Vice, Vapors and Snowboarder.
"That's making retailers take notice," Johnny said.
All that marketing costs a lot of money, of course, so Johnny said he's been spending more time talking with Allyance's financial partner in New York to be sure he understands the vision and why he is writing so many checks.
Seeing the reaction of important retailers out of the gate at ASR means the marketing is paying off and demonstrating that Allyance is investing in the brand, Johnny believes.
The line: Since Johnny and the Blackhart Brotherhood became involved, Allyance has shipped two seasons: spring/summer 2008 and fall/holiday 2008. (Click here for more background on Allyance.)
For fall, Allyance did a full fashion range including peacoats, sweaters and pants.
Johnny said the brand has had the most success in boutiques and skate/fashion stores, while many core stores until now have taken more of a wait-and-see approach.
"They wanted to be sure we'll be with them for the long haul," Johnny said.
For spring/summer, Allyance is focusing on printables and boardshorts.
Key accounts currently include Sun Diego, Hanger94, Spyder, ZJ Boarding House, Esteem, The Closet, Right Coast and Swell.com.
"Overall, things are going really well," Johnny said.