The new women's line launched for fall and is targeted at fashion conscious young women 18 to 24 who have grown out of the junior surf brands and are looking for something more sophisticated. The company's goal was to get Quiksilver Women in top-tier surf accounts, speciality stores and fashion boutiques and better department stores.
Steve Ellingson, Quiksilver Women's VP of Sales, said it was a challenge to convince some boutiques to approach the line with an open mind, especially since most don't sell clothes from large surf brands.
The two big selling points: the clothes themselves and the price points. The clothes, the vision of Quiksilver Women's VP of Design Summer Rapp, left, are spot on with lots of details customers appreciate, buyers tell me. And the price points, while higher than a typical junior surf line, are lower than the premium labels sold at boutiques.
Steve said he had many conversations with specialty boutique buyers about the importance of tiering price points in their stores. For some young contemporary customers, paying $175 to $225 on a regular basis for clothing is out of reach.
By comparison, Quiksilver Women's prices for fall range from $78 to $48 for tops, $98 to $88 for denim, and $138 to $68 for dresses.
The sales approach appears to have worked. Stores that have picked up the line include American Rag, E Street Denim in Chicago, Lizard Lounge in Portland, Zebra Club in Seattle, Blue Bee in Santa Barbara, Villains in San Francisco and top tier surf/skate accounts such as HSS, Jack's, Becker, Val Surf, Hobie, Active and Surfside. Nordstrom is also selling the line in its t.b.d. department.
Steve is most excited that most accounts are experiencing double digit sell through, meaning more than 10 percent sell though a week.
After I talked to Steve, I decided to see what stores had to say about the line. I cold called Lizard Lounge in Portland and emailed two other store owners/buyers who are readers to get their input.
Here's what they had to say:
Lizard Lounge, Portland
Store manager and women's buyer Kelsie Morrow told me the line is "right on the money with style and fashion. ... It's a hit. We're selling out - it's wonderful, we're very excited to carry it." She said customers trust the Quiksilver name but also like that the clothes aren't over branded. The clothes also have "interesting details you don't expect which make a simple piece really interesting."
Villains, San Francisco
Head buyer and general manager Randy Brewer said via email: "It has performed well, as I expected. I didn't think the line would be right for us when I first was approached, but since Steve was attached to the project I figured it had something going for it.
"Once I saw the product at Class I knew it would be a hit. Holiday looks even better. The line works because it is clean, simple, fits great and feels great (at least that's the feedback I've been getting. Haven't tried it on personally). I will absolutely be looking at spring."
Huntington Surf & Sport
From Women's Buyer Erin Nichols via email: "Overall we have had great success with the line. I was a little concerned with the price points at first, but they don't seem to be too much of an issue.
"The quality of the product is very good and the styles also bring a new fresh perspective to the surf market. Their basics have been the first to fly off the shelves and the fashion pieces are right behind them. We have customers and shop girls anxiously anticipating the next shipment. All in all it has proven to be a great addition to the Quiksilver line."