Don Brown, vice president of marketing for Sole Technology in Lake Forest, answered some questions for me about the company's initiatives at the core level and how changes at PacSun could impact business.
For over 20 years the focus for Sole Technology brands has always been supporting the core riders and shops around the world. It's important for everyone in action sports (that includes other brands) to support our brothers in the trenches out there and help keep their spirit and what they stand for alive.
Growing up in England, the local skate shop was always the meeting spot for the skate community. It was THE place where you go to meet friends with the same passion, you'd share stories and get motivated to go skate.
The owner was always the local hero and would help support the local skate scene with events and even sometimes sponsor some of the local skaters. This is the same today as it was for me 30 years ago. The core shops are the spirit of action sports and we all need to support these guys as much as we can.
As I mentioned, we've always supported the core stores, but since action sports has expanded, it becomes even more important that we focus on this foundation. We have specific product, custom retail support programs and increased service and marketing specifically aimed at driving customers into their doors.
All of these areas are being tackled and looked at even more intensely by our internal brand teams at Sole Technology to reinforce our commitment more than ever to our core partners.
PacSun has been and will continue to be an important partner for etnies and action sports in general. We are seeing strong growth from all of our lifestyle accounts despite the market challenges.
We currently are working closely with PacSun to help them sustain their leadership in the action sports and teen market. The great thing is, that these larger lifestyle accounts also understand the need for our brands to be cranking in the core stores, so they are in full support of our focus that we are providing for this distribution.
Our 32 brand is kicking arse right now and is #1 in sales for most snow accounts despite the fact that there isn't too much snow out on the mountains.
ThirtyTwo has taken leadership by producing the lightest boot on the market, the Ultralight.
We also launched our "first layer" products (to wear under jackets, etc.) this season and we're getting great feedback from this hitting the stores.
Every year 32 keeps getting better and we continue to grow our market share more and more ... we just need the snow -- we're all dying to get up on the mountain!