Dutch Schultz, Volcom Snow Senior Director of Product and Sales, gave me an update at SIA on Volcom’s snow program for next season.
(To see how Volcom’s snow revenues have grown over the years and how big its snow business is, see our Executive Edition story today.)
At SIA, Dutch said they saw about 10% to 15% more buyers vs. in 2010, with a lot more Canadian, East Coast and Southern California retailers attending.
A customer trying on a jacket at Volcom's SIA booth.
I asked if buyers are changing the way they approach business. Dutch said he’s seeing them being much more strategic, and very focused on colors and merchandising.
“Color merchandising gets more important every year,” he said.
Volcom has three color stories for both men and women for next season. The buyers and his teams make sure, for example, if a retailer buys three key pants and six key jackets, all pants go with all of the jackets.
When I asked about how Volcom approaches inventory, Dutch said they are nearly all cut to order. While some brands are following that path more post recession, Dutch said Volcom has always been that way and it has worked, and helped maintain margins for all.
He may order a little extra of a key price point pant, he said, but very minimal.
Another different take: Volcom does not sell outerwear direct online. It recently launched its e-commerce site, but has no plans to sell outerwear, he said.
“We’ve always worked this way, and we think it’s an advantage for our retailers,” he said. “We want to grow our business with them.”
The TDS system inside a jacket.
For the 2011/2012 season, Dutch said there are three main stories:
TDS (Thermal Defense System) Technology: This system is in its third season next year and is really catching on, Dutch said.
Basically, it builds insulation into the areas of outerwear where you really need them, and skips area where it’s not needed, like under the arms, allowing for ventilation.
Originally TDS was just in Volcom’s higher end Omega line, but now TDS is built into several categories and price points, including the first layer.The new Modern Articulated Fit.
Volcom Brand Jeans: Volcom Brand Jeans move into outerwear for next season. Volcom is using real denim that has all the technical elements such as being waterproof and breathable.
“It’s true denim,” Dutch said. “It’s washed like traditional denim, so each piece is unique.”
Modern Articulated Fit: Tighter, more modern fits are also new for next season, with the new styles made from stretch fabric.
To go with the slimmer fits on the bottom, Volcom has added an oversized fit to its second layer Epidermis program. It still has traditional proportions as well, but now offers options to go with slimmer bottoms.
Volcom has a team of four on the product and design side that produce the nine categories in the snow division. All regions use the line globally.
For next season, Volcom is offering 40 outerwear styles for men and 35 for women.