New brand COVA launched by Quiksilver Waterman veterans
The former leaders of Quiksilver’s Waterman Collection are launching a new brand at Outdoor Retailer and have assembled an experienced team of veteran sales reps and investors.
Founders Guy Stagman, the former Waterman design leader, and Kent Stevens, who led sales and more, describe their new brand, COVA, as a “premium men’s sportswear line embracing traditional craftsmanship and authentic flavor from the seven seas.”
The target customer is a 25-plus male looking for quality construction, and sophisticated fabrication and fit, Guy and Kent said.
It is the niche where many larger brands have seen opportunity over the years but have abandoned offshoot brands, either because of cost cutting initiatives, or because they are so focused on their primary younger customer that other efforts get lost and are not a priority.
“Our experience shows us that this customer is underserved as several established brands have moved away from this segment and all of the new brands being announced are pursuing a younger, more fashion-oriented customer,” Kent said. “COVA is a lifestyle brand.”
Many Quiksilver veterans with deep retailer relationships have joined COVA.
Tom Holbrook and Steve Tully are investors and will sit on the board of directors. COVA has also assembled additional investors that are part of the lifestyle the brand is promoting.
Rounding out the executive team are Shayne McIntyre, who will lead marketing and was the face of Quiksilver Waterman for many years; Briana Gigliotti, the former Waterman designer who will work in design and merchandising; Randy Noborikawa who is the art director; and Linda Stegeman, who will manage key accounts and Orange County and San Diego sales. Linda was a Waterman rep for nine years in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.
COVA will launch for Spring ’15 with wovens, knits, T-shirts, walkshorts, hybrid “Surf ‘n Turf” shorts, boardshorts and volleys. For summer and fall, COVA will add fleece, lightweight jackets, sweaters, and pants.
The rep force includes many ex-Quiksilver, Quiksilver Waterman and Roxy reps, and an ex-Billabong rep. Willy Morris in North Los Angeles, Janner Asuncion in Hawaii/Guam, Andy White in the Southwest, Piper Brown in the Midwest, Dan Hopkins in the Northeast, Jon Kleintop in the Southeast, Bob Rohmann in North Florida and Dimitri Kjos in South Florida/Caribbean are all part of the team.
COVA is pursuing a wide range of distribution because they believe this customer shops in many different places, and they know that wives buy a lot of the clothes. Types of accounts COVA will pursue include specialty, sporting goods, resort and outdoor retailers.
On the international front, COVA has aligned with Softwear Apparel Group in Canada, and is in discussions with potential partners is Mexico and South America. Representation in other regions has not yet been solidified.
In addition to Outdoor Retailer, COVA will show Spring ’15 at Surf Expo in September.