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I talked with Oakley Vice President of North America Ted Li at SIA and got an update on how the internal restructuring that took place a little more than a year ago is going and plans for the snow market.
Oakley reorganized its sales force along distribution channels, including three for the independent channel – optical/sunglass specialty, traditional sports, and action sports.
It also has specific sales teams for national chains and to service Luxottica-owned retail such as Sunglass Hut, Lens Crafters and Pearl Vision.
The busy Oakley booth at SIA.
The first year under the new system worked really well, Ted said, with sales up in the mid-teens in the U.S.
By focusing on distinct channels, it allowed the sales teams to dig into their account base and understand where the opportunities are, he said.
Ted said Oakley is taking a strategic approach and really working with key retailers on a go-to-market strategy, which was a key part of the success.
Ted is especially heartened that the first year went so well while everybody was still learning new jobs and territories. Now that people are settled in their jobs, the company could make even more progress.
Oakley is investing in its key retail partners to tell more of the Oakley brand story and to create a better consumer experience on store floors.
I asked Ted if that is a challenge since so many brands are trying to do the same thing.
The new Airbrake goggle
“It is a challenge because every brand wants to tell its story in its own way,” he said. “The key is to tell your brand story within the retailer’s store concept.”
In the upcoming snow season, Oakley is focused on telling its technical story.
“Before we have the right to enter into other categories on the lifestyle side, we need to build on our technical story on the product side,” Ted said.
Oakley continues to build on its strong goggle business with the introduction for 2011/2012 of a new, fast lens-changing technology in the Airbreak goggle.
Oakley also sees a big opportunity in snow apparel and accessories.
“It’s time for us to take the next step and have a stronger presence in outerwear,” Ted said.