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Road Trip Recon: The North Face

The North Face's Action Sports crew: Senior Product Line Manager Eric Tietje, Product Director Jasmin Ghaffarian, Specialty Sales Manager Jeff Brusven, and PR Linsey Sine.

The final leg of our Nor-Cali Rally brought us to the East Bay for a stop by The North Face‘s campus in San Leandro, and a tour around the offices just weeks before the company is moving into a new facility down the road, located right on the San Francisco Bay.

Although the brand was getting ready to move, it was still a great opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes there and how the company is driving efforts to increase penetration in the action sports market, particularly in ski, snowboard, and mountain biking.

The North Face has divided its product line into four major silos: Outdoor, Action Sports, Performance, and Youth. Outdoor is definitely the 800 pound gorilla, accounting for approximately 70% of the company’s revenue, but action sports is making strong headway, and now accounts for 10% of total revenues.

60 Second Sell: The North Face Flash Dry Technology

The company first launched the activity-based silo model in 2010, but the focus on action sports, which is comprised of snowboarding, mountain biking, and skiing, began years ago in skiing and snowboarding with the likes of Scott Schmidt and Jim Zellers runing Steep Tech.

The North Face is looking to get deeper into the snowboard side and has hired on several new team members including Senior Product Line Manager Eric Tietje, who was with Winterstick for years before launching Broform, and Specialty Sales Manager Jeff Brusven, who was a rep with Altamont and The Program.

Brusven has been targeting core specialty retailers like Satellite and Eastern Boarder with solid results and says the company plans to roll out a snowboard specific line for ’13/14, which will debut at next year’s SIA.

Take a virtual tour of the company’s (soon to be former) offices: