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I had an informative talk with Volcom President Jason Steris recently about what the company is focusing on in 2009.
I also received an update on Volcom Girls from Gayle Jarrett, divisional merchandising manager.
Jason said Volcom believes it has room to grow in the boardshort category, and the company is improving its offerings to do that.
"We looked at our existing business and existing categories, at what are our strengths and where are there opportunities," he said. "We are very strong in denim. We are not No. 1 in boardshorts. We looked at that, and said, let's improve."
That led to "The Proving Grounds" campaign, where Volcom athletes tested performance boardshorts at Volcom houses in Hawaii.
Different product groups will be rolled out during the year, Jason said, including a technical series, a signature series and an art series. The underlying quality for each series is performance and the boardshorts are being heavily marketed in magazines and online, including in video "episodes" about the Volcom houses on stoneyour.tv.
Volcom's also focusing on its Stone Age collection, which is available only to core stores. Jason said the fall Stone Age line is its most well-rounded yet. Volcom has been slowly adding to the line, and Stone Age now has three or four styles in each category.
Volcom has ramped up marketing for Stone Age in the past four months in magazines and is investing in some racks for stores.
Jason said Volcom sees Stone Age as a way to help core stores and give them product the big chains don't have.
While Stone Age is a separate collection with its own distinctive orange hang tag, it is not a new brand, Jason said.
"All the product still says Volcom," he said.
Fashion wise, Stone Age is inspired by Volcom skater Geoff Rowley and has a skate vibe, though surf shops also carry it. The styles have a little more fashion risk and Stone Age serves as somewhat of a testing ground for new styles that may then make it into the main Volcom line, Jason said.
Volcom brand denim, No. 1 in core stores according to ActionWatch sales data, is being promoted in print and on the web by Volcom's skate team in 2009.
The denim has new washes and colors for men's and girl's, Jason said.
Gayle, right, gave me the details on Volcom Girls focus for fall.
Denim, especially colored denim in hues such as orange, yellow and green, is a focus. Denim minis are also colorful in purple, red and green.
Volcom is offering overall shorts with a grunge punk spin and skinny fit.
Military styling is also an influence with flight jackets and platoon shirts.
There are still flannels in the line, but with new details such as quill tape, and solid colors, including a rich purple.
Feminine dresses are designed to mix with the flannel or military pieces.
Faux leather looks for purses are also trending, Gayle said, and Volcom has lots of textures and metal hardware on handbags.
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