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Tiffany Montgomery
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Young Hawaiian company expanding in retail and wholesale

By Tiffany Montgomery
October 20, 2009 6:48 AM

Hawaiian company In4mation owns two stores on Oahu and recently opened a third store called Aloha Army. The company also sells a wholesale In4mation line at 150 stores around the world.

In4mation aims to bring more up-and-coming and cutting edge brands to Hawaii. In4mation is owned by Ryan Arakaki, Rhandy Tambio, Jun Jo, Todd Shimabuku and Duke Wu, and opened its first store in 2002.

In4mation ownersThe owners recently brought in outside expertise to help with their wholesale line by hiring Jeff Wright, formerly of Oakley, as national sales manager.

I was curious about the company opening a new store at such a tough time, so asked Todd Shimabuku some questions about the new store and the company.

(Left to right: Ryan Arakaki, Jun Jo, Todd Shimabuku.)

Most retailers are closing stores these days rather than opening stores. Why did In4mation decide to open a third location now?

In4mation ownersWe felt that the market was ready for a new door in Central Oahu. We did actually change our door in Waikiki towards our newest venture, Aloha Army, which is aimed at providing Waikiki and visitors something different and exclusive. With Aloha Army in Waikiki, In4mation in Honolulu and another in Central Oahu we have the chance to really change up things with our retail and introduce new brands to Hawaii.

(L to R: Duke Wu, Rhandy Tambio, Jeff Wright.)

Please describe the vibe of Aloha Army.

Hawai‘i is the mecca of surfing and the unique lifestyle of island living is at the core of Aloha Army. Surfing. Fishing. Paddling. Cliff diving. Lifted trucks. Green bottles. Raw fish. Shave ice. Hula dancers. Pit bulls. Bonfires. Jam sessions.

This indigenous, youth brand encompasses all aspects of the Hawaiian lifestyle and each piece of Aloha Army instills the "pride of the islands."

New In4mation storeAny worries it will cannibalize sales in your other two stores in Oahu?

There will be a give and take towards what we are carrying in the central location vs. the Honolulu location. We want to start representing more brands that are growing with the times and want to also carry the brands that are making us money.

Can you explain this? Sounds like up and coming brands will be carried in one store, and more established brands in another?

Yes. That is exactly what we are going to be doing between our locations.

In4mation storeWhat are the stores top-selling brands right now?

In4mation Stores

Apparel: In4mation, Crooks & Castles, Diamond Supply Co., Hellz and Stussy

Footwear: Nike SB, Vans and Cons.

Aloha Army

Apparel: Aloha Army Brand, Vans Apparel, RVCA, Atwater and Stussy

Footwear: Vans, Nike SB and Vans Sandals

In4mation also has a wholesale line. When did that start, and what categories do you have?

Our wholesale line started in 2006 with just T-shirts. We have since partnered up with Duke Wu who has really enjoyed our story and vision of In4mation and we now have offices in New York and Hawaii.

In4mation is now a full-fledged brand that has T-shirts, accessories, wovens, knits, fleece, outerwear, denim, shorts and boardshorts.

In4mation closeWill sales be up or down at the company's retail stores this year?

Sales are definitely down this year as we just got the taste of the recession in July/August. September/October has also been not so forgiving either but as we beef up inventory, our sales change.

What about at wholesale?

Sales are down as well with our wholesale as the recession has really hit the West Coast hard. From ordering the usual $1,500 you'll see $1,000, as all retailers are being supportive but safe.

By what percentage are sales down?

We are 25% below where we want to be.

Where does the brand want to be in five years?

Our brand like everyone else's will want to be growing steadily and making retailers happy with our performance.

We will lose some as we grow but we are looking to gain notoriety in the marketplace. We feel if we keep doing things with a sense of originality, we can keep the core happy with things as well as creating opportunity for people that we hold close to us - our Ohana, our family.


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