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Checking in with O'Quinn

By Shelby Stanger
August 26, 2011 5:00 AM

O’Quinn launched during the start of the recession and saw some early success in upscale surf shops and boutiques like Fred Segal and high-end department stores like Bloomingdale's.


We had not checked in with owner Dean Quinn in awhile, so got in touch to see how things are going.


How is the brand surviving? You launched during the worst time in retail history, and things must have been tough. 

O'quinn addWell, launched O'Quinn almost five years ago now. It was a time when things were just starting to get very tough in retail for sure.


We went in thinking it was actually a great time to start a new brand because we knew things were going to get rough for the big guys. They would be forced to open up their distribution and open up more of their own stores to hit their numbers needed by publicly traded and larger brands.


What I didn't anticipate, though, is that the smaller retailers were way too nervous to try new brands. It seemed that the harder business became for smaller retailers, the more they depended on the bigger brands for help.


O'Quinn couldn’t just go into stores and pay for real estate to showcase the brand. We just can't compete with giant marketing budgets, orders on wheels and build outs they (big brands) are all offering.


To this day, after five years, we have accounts in our own backyard that have never given O'Quinn a shot. It has been very humbling and tough to swallow even to this day. I would like to thank everybody who has given us a shot and we will always remember the ones who gave us support from the beginning. It’s easy to jump in when everybody is asking for a brand. The ones who create a partnership with you in the beginning and through tough times are the ones we will remember and hopefully help in the future.


Are you still in Fred Segal, the Buckle, Bloomingdale's, etc.? How many doors are you in total now? 

Fred Segal has been a great partnership since the first collection almost five years ago. Karen, the buyer at Fred Segal, has been awesome to us, and we have done very well in her stores. It just goes to show if you have a great partnership with a great store good things will happen.


In Fred Segal, we are merchandised and have a better assortment of O'Quinn then any other store we are in.


The Buckle has been a great partner since we started the brand four years ago. They really are helping us grow the brand all over the country and we can't thank them enough for believing in us when a lot of retailers have never even given us a shot. We are not in Bloomingdale's at this time.


Our door count is very small still. In this economy, you really need to pick the right stores to be in, who can pay their bills and not just give you one shot and buy five things and expect them to fly out the door.


See page 2 for information on new retailers, more


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