Rip Curl Beefs Up Sales Force

With longtime So Cal sales rep Stephen Koehne being appointed wetsuit product manager, Rip Curl had a serious void to fill. The brand has answered the tall order with a trio of sales reps for the So Cal territory, which will enable Rip Curl to improve its customer service throughout the region. Rip Curl has also hired Catherine Breton to manage the company’s juniors’ brand, Rip Curl Girl.

[IMAGE 1]Dave Texar, Chad Navarro, and Mike Powers are now the go-to guys from Long Beach to Tijuana. Texar will take care of wetsuits, accessories, and watches in San Diego County, and Navarro will fill the same niche in Orange County. Powers is responsible for servicing all of Rip Curl’s apparel accounts from Long Beach to San Diego.

Rip Curl National Sales Manager Tom Gudauskas says the brand divvied up the territory in order to provide the best possible customer service to Rip Curl accounts. The extra man power will allow the reps to get to know shop managers and owners on a more personal level, he says.

The new sales force is the brand’s latest step in a series of changes at Rip Curl. This past month Rip Curl has revamped and relaunched its Web site (www.ripcurl.com) and it has also regained control of its Canadian licensee as part of a global brand positioning strategy.

“The opportunity to move the brand closer to the pulse of the market is very exciting,” states Rip Curl in a press release. “As a division of the rapidly growing U.S. operation, the spin-off benefits will be enormous and immediate.” The transition will take place over the next five months with the new Canadian office slated to open June 2001.

Finally, Rip Curl has also stepped up its watch program. The brand’s celebrating its 10-year anniversary of the launch of its tide watch by releasing a limited edition version of the ATS watch. Even more, Rip Curl is committed to updating its entire line semi-annually, rather than just once a year.

Look for more in-depth coverage of Rip Curl Canada in the May edition of TransWorld SURF Business.