When Hurley International successfully debuted its footwear program a few years ago, it did so with a tightly controlled set of SKUs and styles. But for the January 2004 launch of the brand’s new swimwear offering, which began shipping mid April, Hurley came out of the gates blazing with a 90-piece collection.
Part of the company’s ability to hit the ground running in a new product category is the result of Hurley’s partnership with Lunada Bay, a 24-year-old So Cal swimwear manufacturer that picked up the Hurley swimwear license in December 2003.
“It was the right thing to do, says Lunada Bay President Susan Crank when asked about the size of the initial line. “There were huge expectation levels from some retailers looking for something fresh with that Hurley twist.
Lunada Bay worked closely with Hurley designers when developing the line, and Crank says she knew it was going to be a hit after the first day of ASR. “The sell-in has been three times what we thought it would be, she says.
Certainly teaming with Hurley has been beneficial for Lunada Bay, as well. “It really fits nicely with the brands currently on our plate, says Crank. “It doesn’t cannibalize our own and it affords this amazing team of designers here to go off in a direction that’s not typical swim.
According to Patricia “Oz Osmanson, Lunada Bay’s senior vice president of merchandising and design, the line fills a void. “Nobody in the swim market needs another flower print, she says. To illustrate the point, she mentions a half-skirt bottom and a short-rashguard combo screened with a huge skull and crossbones on the front.
The color palette ranges from soft to medium-bright and revolves around licorice, mandarin orange, candy apple, lavender, and sugar lime. The line is manufactured in Southern California and ranges from sixteen to 50 dollars wholesale. “We were allowed to go nuts in our design, says Oz. “We know that Hurley customerâ€”when she finds something special, she’s not going to let the pricepoints take her away from getting the really unique look she wants.
So will the swim line allow Hurley to reach out to an entirely new distribution channel? Possibly, but that’s not the plan. Instead, Crank says the line will be sold through Hurley’s existing sportswear distribution channels.