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Adio President on new distribution strategy

By Shelby Stanger
February 28, 2011 6:20 AM

 

We talked to Jim Stroesser of ADIO about the remaking of the brand’s entire business model, including cutting ADIO's skate team, lowering prices and targeting a more mainstream, price sensitive customer.

 

What is your background in action sports and when did you join the brand?

I have been involved in the industry for over 25 years and have worked with most of the industry’s giants such as Nike, Oakley, Quiksilver, Pony, and was an owner/partner in Converse, buying the company from bankruptcy, rebuilding the brand into a global icon, and selling it to Nike.

 

I joined Adio in December 2009 after AL&S took on a long-term global license from K2, which is a division of the Jarden Corporation.

 

What is AL&S?

AL&S is a shoe company based in New York that owns or licenses many brands including Bob Marley, Levi’s, FUBU, Phat Farm, and U.S. Polo.

 

Let’s talk about ADIO. Where is ADIO based now?

We have been running ADIO out of a great location on Cedros in Solana Beach for the last year, but we moved our corporate offices back to the New York in December 2010. However, the marketing and sales departments remain in Southern California.

 

In the last year you cut a lot of jobs, right?

We let go of our entire skate team as well as some employees based in San Diego. But, we now have a small flow team and introduced the ADIO Pay it Forward giveback program, which provides product to skaters, action sports athletes and musicians in need through a number of organizations.

 

Aren’t you worried that as a skate shoe brand not having a core skate team is going to affect your brand perception, especially with the core skate market?

The core channel hasn’t really supported the brand for a few years. Based on today’s business environment, we were forced to drop our skate team and put the money and emphasis back into creating great product to create a viable business model. We still do a grassroots-marketing program, a giveback program, and we’ll still do marketing through music and skateparks.

 

It was a controversial decision, but at the end of the day the brand has to make money to survive. You can’t give anything unless you have something to give. So we made changes to get back on track.

 

Why did you decide to change your distribution strategy as well? You’re now selling shoes for a less expensive cost to broader distribution channels at mid tier accounts?

We were up against the DCs and Etnies, etc. of the world. Rather than try to position ourselves to compete directly against the big boys, we decided to go down a price point and offer consumers an authentic skate brand at a value price.

 

It’s pretty simple. We offer a high quality shoe and better price points from a brand that still has great awareness. AL&S is a sourcing and product powerhouse, which will help make a profitable business model for ADIO.

 

How exactly are you changing your pricing structure?

Our shoes were in the $40 to $70 range. Now they’ll be more in the $20 to $40 range. We will offer our tech series including ¾ airbag shoes for $40 retail with long margins for the retailers, which is an incredible price for that type of shoe. Most companies would not be able to offer such quality at that type of price.

 

See Page 2 for more on Adio's new strategy

 

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