Betty Rides out of Portland, Oregon is a niche women’s snowboard brand that has been around since the early 90s. While they are known for snowboard jackets and pants, the brand has recently entered the swim market.
We caught up with founder Janet Freeman to find out more about the brand, why swim and how they plan to launch the line.
We are a small niche brand. We are in approximately 250 stores nationwide in the USA. We also sell in Canada, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Norway, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, Korea, and China
Our biggest categories are snowboard pants and jackets. We also do well with gloves and accessories.
I used to be a designer at Jantzen Swimwear while starting my own men's snowboard apparel brand TONAWAWA back in 1991. I started Betty Rides in the winter of 1993.
Swimwear is not something new to me. My grandfather was a lifeguard, surfer, and longshoreman from Long Beach, Calif. My mother grew up on the beach in Southern California and took us there every summer. I have always dreamed of designing swimwear but life got in the way.
When I created the brand name Betty Rides back in 1994, I filed an intent to use for the brand for swimwear.
For the past two years, Archie Comics has been trying to have our trademark invalidated by the U.S. Trademark Department. When they couldn't do that, they tried to force the brand to remain only in snowsports product. Our trademark attorney advised us to make swimwear ASAP to protect our rights.
We took some of our favorite outerwear prints and put them on Lycra/Spandex. We made some bikinis and showed them with the outerwear at the 2011 SIA and ISPO trade shows.
While we were feeling pressured to produce more product and feeling "bad energy" from so many hands digging into our business, the response was only positive. It ended up being just the fire we needed to get Betty Rides swimwear going.
We joined SIMA and went to the SIMA 14 conference in Cabo.
Archie Comics dropped their lawsuits about 10 days before we flew to Cabo. It's a great relief to have that monkey off of our back. We love the surf culture and community and hope to become a valuable part of it.
For more about Betty Rides swim plans, see Page 2