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We caught up with KLeN Laundry’s Mark Froke on how business is going in the action sports undergarment category.
We started KLeN (pronounced "clean") back in September of 2008, but it was over a year before we had our first product available for sale. The whole idea behind the company was to do something fun, something different, something relevant and something that could contribute a positive impact to the industry and our communities.
Why undergarments - it's a good question and one we get asked a lot. The simple answer is why not?
But the real answer is that socks and underwear are the primary staples of every wardrobe. Socks and underwear were the first forms of clothing ever made and they remain the two pieces that almost everyone puts on every day regardless of whether they are a construction worker or a Fortune 500 CEO.
Socks are by far our biggest and best category overall, but I'm convinced that the new first layer collection may takeover based on the feedback we are receiving from retailers.
I have long been an active participant in action sports from surfing and skating to racing motorcycles. I've been fortunate to travel many parts of the world scoring amazing surf and that is something that a person never forgets.
My wife, April, was a sponsored snowboarder for many years and has traveled for good snow and she has since worked many creative years in the apparel and surf industry. It's just something that is a part of us and constantly inspires us.
KLeN is doing really well. Since we've only been selling product for less than 18 months we have nowhere to go but up. We are in approximately 31 retailers, which equates to more doors since several have multiple locations.
We've had a great opportunity to bridge a few channels and sell to different retailers based on our involvement with action sports and athletes on one side and then our commitment to quality and premium fabrics on the other.
Some of our key core accounts include Val Surf, Sport Chalet, US Outdoor and Mountain High on one side and then on the other we have The Man Shop, Chasalla, Zschoche (lifestyle and home décor store) and Shoebuy.com. We are fortunate to have had re-orders from every retailer we supply and over 60% of our online customers have returned.
See Page 2 for details about new KLeN products for 2011