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SIMA Boot Camp tackles women's market

By Shelby Stanger
February 26, 2010 7:33 AM

SIMA hosted the first Boot Camp of the year yesterday in Dana Point. This one focused on the women’s market.

The conference was sold out, with mostly brands in attendance wanting to hear the challenges facing the Junior’s market and to discuss possible solutions. The keynote speaker was Teen Vogue Vice President and Publisher, Laura McEwen. There was also a panel of female experts who discussed the challenges facing the Junior’s market. It ended with a group of men from surf endemic media who talked about Women’s Professional Surfing.

The Millennial Mindset with Teen Vogue VP and Publisher Laura McEwen

Laura McEwen presented some interesting information about teen girls and the Millennial generation. Teen Vogue surveyed 120,000 of their “It Girls,” which are comprised of a mixture of their most dedicated readers. Here are a few highlights from McEwen’s findings on Millennials and the Teen Vogue “It Girls:”

- The Millennial generation is as big as the Boomer generation.

- There are 75 million consumers ages 14 to 29.

- Millennials spent $467 billion in 2009; they are the largest spending group.

- The most important things to the “It Girls” are their cell phone (which is their top pick), computer, Facebook, shoes, accessories, beauty products, and iPod. These items come up as most important before other, like clothes.

- 88% of Teen Vogue “It Girls” said expressing themselves through fashion is important to them.

- 94% are most comfortable buying products in a store. The majority of “It Girls” have shopped at a mass retail store very recently.

- Of the girls surveyed who described their style as “Surfer Chic,” 40% identified themselves with the actress Drew Barrymore.

- Over 70% like to try new things, shop around, and enjoy shopping and telling friends about products that interest them.

- 67% of “It Girls” girls who buy brand names stick with them.

- 85% of them are most influenced by fashion magazines, over 55% by celebrities, followed by the internet and characters from TV shows and movies.

- 94% are most comfortable buying products in a store. 31% shop online every couple months, and only 6% have made a purchase with their cell phone.

McEwen said most of the girls who read her magazine are not afraid to shop at mass retailers like Target where you can buy designer clothes from the likes of fashion designers like John Paul Gaultier. She said partnering with young designers that speak to teen girls might help surf brands reach these girls even more. She also said since teen girls like new items so much, it’s important to turn around products fast.

Women’s Market Experts with Tamara Chamberlain from Pacific Sunwear, Kristina Dechter from FOAM Magazine, Candy Harris from Billabong, and Gayle Jarrett from Volcom

Following McEwen’s presentation, four female industry experts served on a panel to discuss the Junior’s market during the second portion of the Boot Camp.

The ladies spoke about the how the women’s surf market has evolved, and discussed the challenges of fast fashion companies and retailers knocking off product and luring away their customers.

The biggest point of difference surf brands have over fast fashion brands, is that they have an authentic story, one that each brand needs to tell in their own way. Selling the dream is important for these brands, especially since teen are dreamers. “We can’t control someone ripping us off, but we can control our story,” said Billabong’s Candy Harris.

On page 2: More from the Women's market and women's pro surfing panels

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