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Last spring, The GAP carried Ocean Minded sandals in many of its North American stores – a new arrangement for both Gap and Ocean Minded.
I was curious to see if the relationship continued, so followed up with Marketing Director Bob Tanner to find out. I also wanted to know how Ocean Minded’s other retailers reacted.
Ocean Minded Marketing Director Bob Tanner. Shop-eat-surf file photo.
Bob emailed me the following update:
• Following the decision to expand into The Gap, we had one key surf specialty account on the East Coast drop our brand and one specialty retailer on the West Coast, as well. The reasons cited mostly revolved around ‘Ocean Minded is now over-distributed.’ Conversely, many of our core specialty accounts actually told us they thought it was the right decision, as it would greatly increase Ocean Minded’s brand awareness in the U.S. Both our Surf and Outdoor sales teams felt the same way.
• Our 2010 program was a success, and based on our performance, the decision was made to continue forward with Ocean Minded in 2011.
• 2011 opening orders are flat to last year, but the difference this year is The Gap has increased the SKU count in its top performing doors - nearly 500 in North America - and dropped the program from the non-performing doors. Both parties agree this will lead to increased business over the course of the year.
• In 2010, the entire Ocean Minded assortment found in The Gap stores was from our standard line. In 2011, 40% of our Gap assortment is SMU product, made specifically for them.
• Also exciting for 2011 is that The Gap’s marketing and merchandising team approached us for brand imagery, in order for Ocean Minded to have an increased branding presence in their stores.
• We are currently working with the Gap Marketing Department and their Corporate Responsibility team to seek out partnership opportunities in order to tell the 2011 Ocean Minded ‘Eventually, Everything Ends Up In The Ocean’ brand story.