I received a passionate email in response to my interviews with Volcom's CEO Richard Woolcott and Gotcha founder Michael Tomson about "sameness" in the action sports industry.
Brooke McGregor, founder of sunglass maker Sabre Vision in Costa Mesa, believes many industry retailers are playing it too safe and don't give new brands a chance to gain a following. Sabre Vision launched in December and is in 150 stores in the U.S. Here's Brooke's email, which he gave me permission to post:
"I have a few words I would like to express, after reading (Richard) Woolcott's interview. I'm currently launching exactly what all the industry is saying they need, from the brand to the retail to the consumer, a fresh new brand, a brand that is willing to take a risk in both product and marketing, a brand that reignites a very boring mass produced over saturated industry, a brand to have a little fun with.
"So my question is where is the support from the retailer? All I hear is ‘Sure we will test your brand,' ‘We will give you 30 days to prove yourself at 15% discounts, sale or return.' No risk no risk no risk! Great do you think Stussy or Volcom checked at retail in it's first 30 days instore? So my point being when I hear about stores complaining about their position and trying to figure out how to stand out, I laugh, I got a really good idea why don't you support the brands that support an evolving industry not just concentrating on vertical product and bullying everyone, it used to be a partnership.
"Remember when the industry was booming. Stop telling everyone ‘Everything looks the same.' It's your fault! You are killing the industry by constantly raising the levels of fear with your spread sheets and reports! You guys are like the government! FEAR FEAR FEAR Why don't you support and educate your customers about new brands and or new styles and it will all boom again? Everyone should hang out with Akram at Jack's for a week, that kid is single-handedly resuscitating the industry."
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts on the subject. I only post emails with permission.