Boys + Arrows 2015 Swimwear Preview
We caught up with Meagan Howard, founder and designer for Boys + Arrows, to hear what’s new for 2015.
What trends are at the forefront of next year's swimwear line? (colors, cuts, fabrics, etc.)
2015 is going to be stellar. Pretty much swimwear desingers neeed to bring fresh avant-garde styles and prints or they won’t be able to play. The trends start with extreme color blocking, bold prints including vintage florals and unique animal color ways. Tops are becoming more simple, yet extremely unique meaning less fringe and frill and more sporty type fits with fashion a forward appearance. And as we have all seen less is definitely more as for coverage!
What is the overall state of the swimwear market (size, health, potential to grow, increase revenue, etc.) from your perspective?
What changes are on the horizon? Personally I think competition is about to get even more intense next year. The smaller brand swimwear market is over saturated and unless these companies and designers are on thier A game they might have some trouble with demand. The size and health of the market is all time. It’s just getting bigger but more competitive to enter the industry and the remain one of the in demand brands. Todays trends are already over, and tomorrows are about to be. You have to be extremely ahead of the curve in specialty designer swim of higher price points due to corporations like Target and Walmart. Luckily the consumer is getting smarter and does appreciate the quality and fit that brands like Boys+Arrows bring to their lovely little bikini lifestyles.
What specific pieces of youth culture, design, and/or other elements influenced your brand’s swimwear collection for next season?
Youth culture was a big influence as far as demanding fit and quality along with a serious branded image. They want to know who the brand is and what it’s all about which is great for Boys+Arrows because our brand has no shortage of personality. Of course the usual galavanting around the globe and getting myself into as much trouble as possible always plays a part in the development and persona of each collection.
Are you expanding this product offering in your line – why or why not?
We have always only sold separates and we will continue to do so. I think it’s the only way to make buyers happy and it just makes sense for us.
How important are one-pieces to your collection? Have you expanded this category or pulled back compared to the last few seasons?
Well funny story there! I have attempted to develop this category since the beginning of Boys+Arrows in 2011. I just don’t have a passion for one pieces so I think I always end up putting my energy into styles I love and would want to wear! We have never developed a one piece which is pretty interesting. We will be launching our first one piece for 2015 and we are really excited about it. You will still find me in a bikini.
What changes are you seeing on the business side, as far order sizes, the length of the season, timing for product roll out, sales channels, etc.?
For us we are seeing larger orders and a longer season. If we could make an October delivery date many of our accounts would be all over it but it is a challenging date to make. We are looking into expanding our collections and deliveries to help buyers and retailers with the lack of supply for certain months like August and October.
Why is it so challenging to make an October delivery date? Would you push for a new production schedule to make this happen?
I would say it’s mostly due to major swim shows being a bit too late in the year to get orders in fast enough for October start dates. The latest swim show should be early July if there were to be a targeted October delivery. Any later it makes it really difficult and costly to get enough order in on time to go into production specifically for accounts who want October deliveries. Also Italy is closed all of August so brands like Boys+Arrows (who use Italian lycra) would have to predict sales to place accurate material orders which is too risky when you are a smaller brand. If you are wrong about materials it is a financial loss and that just can’t happen if you want to survive. And yes absolutely we would push for it as the demand became stronger.
What were your greatest successes in the swimwear category for 2014?
Our greatest successes were our new pull over tops and moving into new prints. It was a huge success. We have almost completely moved on from fringe and it was a good move to make.
Explain the pullover tops.Why do you think these were so popular and have you expanded them in your line for 2015?
If you can just think of a sports bra. Maybe your favorite sports bra ever. It is a similar fit capturing all the wonderful things about sports bras such as fit, comfort, control and a confidence boost BUT it is revealing and playful enough for a day at the beach. Thin straps and fashionable bodies yet there are no ties or hooks for adjustments commonly found in swimwear.
What are your sales projections for next season?
We are projecting between 1.5-2 million dollars for 2015
What new elements will be present in your swimwear collection for 2015? What won't we see as much of?
You will see more prints and less solids. We have also grown our tops category and simplified our bottoms category. We are expanding our cover ups this year which is exciting! We are happy to be moving away from any busy or aztec type prints.
Are prices and margins increasing, decreasing, or flat? What is your brand’s average MSRP and margin percentage?
We strive every year to increase our margins. The more you grow the easier it is to succeed in this. So ours are increasing which is good news.
Is the number of SKU's in your line expanding or contracting? Why?
Interestingly enough is is decreasing because we are taking more control of what styles come in what colors ways. So the number of styles is growing but the number of SKU’s is decreasing. It’s the only way to profit in product sewn manufacturing as far as I am concerned.