I sat with Black Box Distribution CEO Frank Messmann at lunch one day at the IASC Skateboarding Summit and asked him for an update on how the Insight brand is doing.
Black Box became the U.S. licensee and distributor for Insight in July 2009. Insight is headquartered in Australia.
The Insight store in Venice
Insight has just opened a retail store in Venice that will also serve as office space, a showroom and event space for the fashion brand.
Originally, Insight was based in L.A., but moved to Black Box’s Carlsbad headquarters when Black Box became involved in the brand. It will still be based there, but will have the space in LA for an additional workspace, some business meetings, events, etc.
It’s important for Insight to have its finger on the pulse of what is happening, and Carlsbad is not exactly the “beating heart of fashion,” Frank said.
The Insight collection, designed in Australia, is also quite large, and the space gives Insight the opportunity to showcase all the different capsules and special collaborations in addition to Insight’s marketing campaigns, which often garner accolades.
Frank said Insight is due to have its biggest year ever in 2011.
When Black Box originally took on the U.S. operations in 2009, business was difficult.
Many of Insight’s stores were having credit challenges, and the boutique world experienced a lot of store closures.
But sales came to life in the second half of 2010, and for Spring and Fall 2011, Insight bookings recorded big increases, Frank said.
Some larger accounts are giving the brand more exposure. Urban Outfitters has committed to carrying Insight in more stores.
The opening party
Place Showroom is now representing the women’s side of the business, which is expanding Insight into more lifestyle and fashion accounts.
And PacSun and Tilly’s are currently testing Insight.
Because the collection is so big, Insight can merchandise different pieces of it to different types of stores.
I saw quite a large selection of Insight recently at the Tilly’s in Irvine, which gave the brand a nice presentation in the store.