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Tiffany Montgomery
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Factor54 founder on new licensing agreement

By Tiffany Montgomery
April 19, 2010 6:15 AM

Young brand Factor54 has signed a licensing agreement with Advance Sport Inc.

Advance Sports will handle design, production, sales and distribution for the brand globally.

F54 will retain sole equity interest in the business and will work on marketing and creative.

I asked F54 founder Todd Miller about the deal.

Why did you decide to take the license route?

It enables us to go to the next level in our business. Overall, we were selling-in and selling through at retail much faster than we were prepared to handle from a manufacturing and distribution perspective. We literally could not get product produced quickly enough.

The bigger challenge was meeting demand for a deeper, properly merchandised line. We were pretty much an items business -- mainly printables, board shorts, hats, socks ... the basics ... and our bigger accounts were requiring a broader and deeper assortment than we were tooled to produce.

So we looked at a number of options, and a healthy licensing solution was clearly the best choice.

Is Ted Wueste still involved in the company?

Yes, Ted is still with the business as an equity partner; however, he is not involved in day-to-day operational matters.

Todd Miller Ted Wueste

(Above: Todd Miller and Ted Wueste in Factor54's garage/office. Shop-eat-surf file photo.)

I haven't seen much of Factor54 in local surf shops lately. Did you have enough resources to produce goods?

It's a classic case of "be careful what you ask for, because you might get it."

It took us six years to become an overnight success. We were blowing up, we were a hot brand, but we didn't have the product to supply the demand.

We literally could not make ship dates because orders were too big and required quicker turnarounds than we were prepared to handle.

More important, the brand grew bigger than the product line. That is to say, we were still an items business, and retailers were demanding properly merchandised lines and broader categories.

We needed to turn what was basically a garage operation into a real operating apparel business, or we were going to choke on the paper retailers were giving us.

 

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