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Shop-eat-surf caught up with Vice President of Marketing Doug Palladini to talk about spring styles and Vans' approach to the junior's market.
“We’re incredibly fortunate in that we’re one of the few brands that’s been in the position to gain market share,” Palladini said.
“In almost all of our accounts we’re number one or two footwear supplier and becoming (a) top resource for apparel and accessories.”
Palladini said last year retailers were very conservative and buying less up front. Now, they are still cautious but seem to show more optimism and are looking for new ideas.
For Vans that means offering more street styles, fashion tops, dresses and accessories as well as working closer with retailers on positioning the merchandise in store.
Vans is also keeping an eye on competition from H&M and Forever 21, which have become a challenge for the action sports brands who can’t match the price points or production speed of the trendy stores.
Although Vans is taking notice and trying to understand why girls shop there, Palladini says cheap, price-driven fashion is not what Vans is all about.
Instead, Vans is striving for lifetime loyalty from their customers by reminding them of the brand’s Southern California roots and its place in the local culture.
“That’s more meaningful than getting things fast,” Palladini said.
That’s also why for Spring 2011, Vans is drawing inspiration from its classics.
“We try to really take what we’re known for and extend it to other categories,” Palladini said.
For girls, that means fashion-forward styles that are more street oriented.
The company is also pushing its Surf Siders shoes (right), which proved to be a success in last year’s test run.
But just because the brand is doing well, don’t expect to see it in more stores. Palladini said Vans is focusing on growing key accounts rather than expanding a number of places where their product is available.