Chris Pew, Director of Technical Applications:
What are the biggest changes in the outerwear market you’re seeing for this winter on the business front?
It will be an interesting and pivotal year for the outerwear market. After last year’s dismal snowfall and lean manufacturing, outerwear manufacturers will be really hoping for an active winter for retail shops to give them more confidence come January in placing preseason orders. The rising costs of manufacturing in China will again force manufacturing brands to count on preseason sales.
What fabrics, colors, and technologies are you focusing on for next season?
Our small, but loyal customer base demands consistency and performance, and we will continue to produce and refine our small line of technical 3-layer hard shell jackets and pants. With next years colors we will be trying to reflect both the solid “work clothes” colors that we had success with this
season — such as Khaki and Grey — while still pushing some more vibrant and creative colors that will set our line about from competitors in the technical outerwear market.
What are pricepoints doing?
Our goal is to keep our pricepoints constant from this year to next, but I believe that we will see a widespread increase in pricepoints in the outerwear market; due to 10-20% increases in labor and material costs from China.
How have you responded to the current market and the decrease in prebooks?
As a relatively young and low-volume outerwear manufacturer, we will continue to keep our inventory lean and dependent on prebooks. This season it is crucial for manufacturers to give their dealers the support that they need to ensure a strong sell-through in order for increased confidence in prebooking next season’s outerwear. Thus we will be focusing our energy on supporting our dealers with marketing efforts, sales clinics, and generally building brand awareness in local markets.
Have you changed your distribution at all from last season? Why or why not?
Our distribution has grown tremendously from last season and we will continue to cater to the needs of specialty, independent shops that have taken on the brand. This will be a telling and difficult year on the retail front and it is our desire to help foster our existing relationships with the hopes that our distribution continues to grow next season.