Retailer contact: (949) 699-6868
Mike West, 686 Founder and President; Jono Zacharias, EVP of Sales; Leila Jalili, Outerwear Designer:
What are the three biggest trends you see shaping the market and what you are doing to meet them?
Jalili: The three biggest trends that we are seeing for 11-12 are fit, function and fun. For fit, whether it’s in men’s or women’s outerwear, we are offering more fits than ever. Our pants range from the classic snowboarding silhouette per our famous Smarty Cargo Pants to our perfectly tailored Reserved Men’s Raw and Women’s Status Pants. We have also added the longer “parka” length to select jacket styles with our Mannual Men’s Pacific Parka and Women’s Atlantis Jacket. All of our garment patterns are also ergonomically engineered to conform to your body. From articulated elbows and knees to contoured collars and hemlines. As far as function goes, lifestyle dictates what people want to wear and their clothes must meet their quality of life standards. For the tech-savvy, we’ve added a Smart Phone specific pocket featured to our high-end Men’s and Women’s Smarty Jackets. Got a season’s pass? Then stash yours away in your pass pocket in one of our city-to-mountain Reserved Jackets. Wear a helmet? Then our new expandable Extendo-flex hood will be sure to please. As far as fun goes, we don’t ever want our customers to forget that snowboarding is fun, so we make clothing that reflects that with our super popular Snaggletooth collection. This year we’ve expanded our Snaggletooth outerwear and accessories collection to include more styles and colors than ever! There’s even custom-designed pieces for our little rippers as well.
What fabrics, colors, and technologies are you focusing on for next season?
West: We’re focusing on muted bright colors (pastels) and a return to an earth color palette with a twist. Our tech is top priority this season as well. We chose to focus on technology because this is what got us here 18 years ago and we’ve put a huge focus on it starting in 2011. It’s the first time within the past decade that we’ve made drastic changes.
What are the biggest changes in the outerwear market you’re seeing for this winter on the business front?
West: The biggest changes people will see this winter in the market are the higher price points. 686 is all about providing a quality item that’s unique and not the cheapest garment around. We believe that if the customer knows the product will last a long time and appreciates the thought that goes into the design and technical specifications, they will pay a little more for that garment.
What are pricepoints doing?
Zacharias: We have 3 basic ranges for price selection. Each price level we add value, so whether you are purchasing a $150 pant or a $330 jacket there is lots of value in our price points.
How have you responded to the current market and the decrease in prebooks?
Zacharias: Our pre-book dollars have stayed steady this season, which is something that we’re really proud of. We’ve responded to the market by closely monitoring our inventory levels and making sure we’re not over-our-heads in any situation. So far, so good.
What’s in your crystal ball for 2010/11?
West: Companies NEED to distinguish themselves more than ever. We’ve always made our own path and done things that make sense for us. Our goal is simple – we want to continue to provide quality and unique technical apparel inspired from our upbringings of the city and the mountains. Challenging times still ahead.