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TAVIK Launches Women’s Apparel Collection

tavik launches women's apparel
Romper from TAVIK’s new 2017 Apparel Collection.

TAVIK launches women’s apparel | CEO & Senior Women’s Staff Weigh In on What’s Next

TAVIK's decision to expand its women's range from swimwear to a full apparel collection was all about timing.

The brand moved its swimwear production from China to Orange County in 2015 and worked closely with category specific pattern makers to refine the fit and fabrication formula. Building upon the foundation of its women's swimwear and cover-ups design, headed by Carly Osler, and the hiring of Jillian Leeman as director of women's (previously she was National Sales Manager for department stores and major specialty stores at Volcom), they had the right team in place to take the brand's dabbling in beach cover-ups into a full apparel line for 2017.

The new women's collection follows TAVIK Men's segmentation strategy, consisting of two collections: "Modern," a forward collection with higher price points and nicer novelty fabrications, and "Beach," a beach culture collection of elevated basics with accessible price points.

"The Modern capsule has a refined aesthetic consisting of a clean and muted color palette, minimalistic prints, luxe fabrics, and intricate details," said Osler. She continued, "A more relaxed capsule, Beach offers casual silhouettes, cozy knits, and vintage inspired tees with pops of seasonal colors. The Modern and Beach capsules are designed with details that blend seamlessly through mixing and matching back to one another for a truly “Après Beach” look."

Examples of retailers for the Modern segment include Shopbop, Need Supply, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Revolve, and Diane's Beachwear. Retailers carrying the Beach collection include Surfside Sports, Bungalow 7, Jack's, Evo, and Urban Outfitters.

We caught up with General Manager of TAVIK, Erik Paulsen, Leeman, and Osler to learn more about the strategy for the women's apparel collection and where it fits within the broader landscape of women's fashion.

tavik launches women's apparel
The TAVIK team. From left, General Manager Erik Paulsen, Director of Women’s Jillian Leeman, and Women’s Creative Carly Osler.

How did the performance of TAVIK beach cover-ups inform the strategy for women's collection?

Jillian Leeman: At first, the Cover-Ups category was a bit overlooked as the focus was primarily about perfecting swimwear. Attention to Cover-Ups noticeably shifted when a couple major retailers picked up both Cover-Ups and a small Apparel assortment, and we started seeing an increase in our overall Apparel revenues from all channels of distribution. From there, more requests started coming in and retailer confidence was prompted based on the high sell-through from our swim category.

Let's get real, 2008 hit and women's overall, not just our industry, felt the repercussions. So to see the growth we've had on the women's and men's side has been truly uplifting and exciting. 

How does the new women's apparel collection fit into the bigger picture of TAVIK the brand?

Jillian Leeman: Taking the women's division to a full collection has always been in TAVIK's sights for a long-term strategy.  It's taken its time since we were growing as a brand and still establishing our footprint in the Women's market.  We focused on making the best product that we could for our swimwear category, and once we felt that we excelled in swim we were able to hire additional women's-specific employees, as in myself. Expanding our assortment has also aligned us with the Men's division, and we are now much more cohesive.

Let's get real, 2008 hit and women's overall, not just our industry, felt the repercussions. So to see the growth we've had on the women's and men's side has been truly uplifting and exciting. 

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To take it a step further, how does women's fit into the overall strategy of Tavik's parent company of Incipio?

Erik Paulsen: TAVIK's collections and categories will always tie back to our Modern Beach foundation (Beach Born and City Raised).  Whether it is our men's, women's, or accessory lines, we continue to tell our brand story through amazing product, with our distinctive TAVIK look, styling, and messaging.

There is a positive influence from our parent company in two major ways. First, they’ve shown us we shouldn’t be afraid to enter new product categories.  If there is a need, we can match that with a well-thought out concept that turns into a great product and extension of our brand offering.  Second, we’ve had the chance to work within timelines and production outside of our normal endemic spheres.  This gives us a great perspective on how to affect positive change and how to cut down on timelines while balancing efficiency and quality.

Initially, we tested women's apparel through mini capsules and collaborations, it was only a matter of time. The objective was to launch the complete offering when we had a full amazing team in place to execute on all fronts.  In addition, we will always push the envelope and do fun capsule collections that are forward and just right for our brand.

We definitely have a few other new categories and special capsules coming down the road.  Can't wait!

tavik launches women's apparel
A bomber from the new TAVIK women’s apparel collection.

Jillian Leeman: The support we receive from the Incipio Group is fantastic.  Our CEO, Andy Fathollahi, has a love and passion for amazing 'product' in general, so he's been extremely supportive of growing the TAVIK brand overall.  We're not scared of inventory, which I don't think I've been able to say in close to 7 years.  Under the Incipio umbrella, we have the opportunity to not only create and produce great apparel and swimwear, but we can also capitalize on our accessories category utilizing Incipio's back end to expand on our CE division.

Incipio has the licenses for some top fashion brands' CE categories, such as House of Harlow, Jack Spade, Kate Spade New York, Rebecca Minkoff, and Burton to name a few so we have a really strong team working on TAVIK's accessories. I've literally had to give the phone case off my phone multiple times to retailers who have fallen in love with the styles.

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Will the Tavik women's be made in the USA? If not, which segments of the line will remain made in the USA and which will go overseas? Why? 

Jillian Leeman: As of now, the Swimwear category is the only category that will be made in the USA as it's such a specialized division concerning the perfect fit.  However that does not mean that we won't venture into domestic production for the apparel component in the future, we will continue our organic growth. On the men's side, we are working on a capsule that will be made in the U.S.!

In terms of growth, how much opportunity do you think exists in the women's market as a whole? Where does "women's surf lifestyle" fit into the overall women's marketplace? 

Erik Paulsen: There is huge opportunity in the women's market globally.  We want to further address the needs and ask of our female consumer.

The only way growth has been limited in the past is by defining exclusive lifestyle rather than inclusive. Women’s surf lifestyle is a specialty. Women’s beach lifestyle is an experience. It's a better way to describe how women live and define their needs. TAVIK has always been aware of this, and has always been active in this space. We love the beach, we love it during the day, but we also love it from dusk 'til dawn. A fresh perspective dictates a great opportunity for growth. With social media and sharing the world has been unlocked. We like to say we are beach born, city raised and match our ethos with the endless possibilities in the world at hand.

 If you're a 'women's surf' brand, certain retailers won't see the line because of the attachment to 'Action Sports'.  But at the end of the day, many of these brands have on-trend, great product that could live in those retailers.

Jillian Leeman: Gosh, this question is a hard one…..I think I view the women's market pretty differently than most.  I truly believe that we are all in this together. We need each other to exist and there is room for everyone within the correct channels of distribution.  That said, it goes back to product and the direct consumer remembers fabric quality, pricing, fit and so on. If we continue to have the type of positive reactions we've had for the last couple years, there is plenty of opportunity in the Women's market as a whole, both domestically and internationally.

I've spent many hours defining and analyzing the 'women's surf lifestyle' from my previous experience at HSS, Paul Frank, Volcom and Neff. The 'women's surf' market is actually quite elevated these days, and sometimes the word 'surf' actually hurts the perception of those brands associated with it.  If you're a 'women's surf' brand, certain retailers won't see the line because of the attachment to 'action sports.' But at the end of the day, many of these brands have on-trend, great product that could live in those retailers. As a brand founded on the premise of modern beach culture over “surf culture,” TAVIK women's brand positioning bridges that gap between the 'surf' market and the lifestyle contemporary market.