ERGO, a brand that got its start on the East Coast nearly eight years ago, is taking a new look at its overall branding and distribution. Over the past year, the crew has been steadily making inroads to expand its distribution to the Left Coast, branching out to a new Costa Mesa-based headquarters and ramping up its team of designers and production specialists. With the hire of new Creative Director Joe McElroy, who comes from an extensive background including working at Hurley, Surfer Magazine, and Billabong, the team began work on revamping the overall look and feel of the brand as a way to strengthen its identity and brand DNA.
“We want to do it differently and really put attention to quality and fit, and a big attention to detail,” says McElroy. Art Director Dean Bradley agrees. “We’re taking everything that’s been spread apart and sucking it all back in to form a nucleus; it feels like there’s a big opportunity right now,” he says.
After meeting with the entire crew and catching up with McElroy, Bradley, and a few of the other new team members at the Costa Mesa office, we sat down to talk business with ERGO Cofounder and VP of Marketing Pete DiSpirito.
Why did ERGO make the decision to revamp its branding for Spring 2013 and what does the brand hope to accomplish with the change?
We felt that with the new team in place, it was time for an updated look and feel to the strengthen the brand identity and DNA. Going into the next couple seasons it will have a better flow, a more natural feel and clearer brand story that retailers and consumers can relate to.
When did the push to move into a broader West Coast distribution strategy start and how do you feel that effort has gone over the past year since you've been in the new West Coast office space?
We have always had a small footprint in California since day one. Nothing comes easy, but we have proven to retailers that we are here to stay. Having the creative team work out of our Costa Mesa office gives us the opportunity to build the West Coast market similar to how we built the brand back east.
You recently just hired on several new members to the team. Can you talk about each one of them and why they are important to making the brand what it is growing into for this rebranding?
It started with Joe McElroy. Joe has a studio next to our office and he started cruising by on Friday afternoons. He was psyched on the small brand feel and vibe that we had going on and asked if he could help out or get involved in anyway. At that time we were looking for someone to help on the creative end to build on the brand story and overall look and feel. It was perfect timing, and now Joe is the creative director for our brand.
Next was Andy Crane. Andy was brought on as National Sales Manager, but has a background in merchandising as well. Andy has done an amazing job working on the product and working with the sales team to meet our goals.
Dean Bradley is also on board now in the creative department as art director. He brings his years of experience and an updated creative vision for our brand. The response from retailers has been overwhelming.
Brandon Loeffler was added for development, sourcing and production. We were lacking someone that was detail oriented in this department. Having Brandon along with a pattern maker allows us to focus on fit, quality and the attention to detail that is bringing our product to the next level.
What type of growth have you seen on the West Coast since you started making the push for more distribution here – what has been retailers reaction?
The retailers reaction has been outstanding. There is still a strong need for small brands like ERGO, and we are confident that with our new team, we now have the right ingredients to build strong partnerships with key retailers in the West Coast market.
What are your marketing plans for the remainder of 2012 and beyond with the new team in place?
For a young brand, we have a solid budget set for print and web campaigns throughout several outlets. We also plan on having a skate team tour this summer as well as a surf photography slide show that will tie in our retailers and push our brand message to consumers. In addition, we are going to continue to build off the success that our skate team has created under the direction of team manager, Joe Hammeke. Having guys like Dan Drehobl, Andrew Cannon, Shawn Hale, and David Loy has really helped legitimize skate for our brand. We are also going to build on the surf program with guys like Albee Layer and Brendan Buckley who have a lot of exciting opportunities ahead of them. Overall, our surf and skate teams have been doing an amazing job getting coverage for our brand.