Reflections from the STATE OF SURF First Quarter event

On Tuesday, June 20, TRANSWORLD BUSINESS and Group Y kicked off the reformulated STATE OF SURF with their inaugural first-quarter event. New for 2017, TRANSWORLD BUSINESS has transformed our yearly STATE OF SURF report into four distinct quarterly reports, each with a unique focus.

In his kick-off speech, General Manager Aaron Carrera explained, “We went from one 130 page report to four 20 page reports. This makes the data more digestable, timely, and empowers businesses, helping them to grow and use real time knowledge and resources to make an impact.”

STATE OF SURF first quarter event
General Manager Aaron Carrera addresses the crowd. Photo: Leontis

The report can be purchased here.

The event was divided into three sections: first off, a panel with RVCA Global Director of Marketing Brian Casaro and Women’s Marketing Manager Allison Perez, which focused on their transition in taking the RVCA Women’s team internal, and what they’ve learned from the transition.

Next, Vans Surf Senior Marketing Manager Scott Sisamis took the stage, going into detail regarding Vans’ standards of authenticity when it comes to engaging the community, and activating the culture around surfing in a way that stays true to both the brand and a broad demographic.

Wrapping up the event, Richer Poorer CEO and co-founder Iva Pawling took the stage for the keynote discussion of the event. As an individual and the face of a fast-growing brand, Pawling has made herself known as someone who focuses successfully and authentically on addressing the multifaceted retail consumer, with particular emphasis on females and culturally diverse audiences.

Check out more details on the event below:

RVCA Case Study: Women’s Marketing

STATE OF SURF first quarter event
Brian Casaro, Allie Perez and Kailee Bradstreet discuss the RVCA women’s division. Photo: Leontis

To kick off the event, Editor in Chief Kailee Bradstreet held a panel discussion with Casaro and Perez of RVCA highlighting the brand pulling its women’s team in-house, and creating a more robust women’s marketing initiative.

When asked about the impact of the women’s side of the business, Cassaro explained, “Our women’s business went from 10% of sales to 22% – it was a no-brainer to put energy behind this. RVCA Women’s has such a unique branding in the surf world; for us, the women’s side of the business has always stuck to the ideology of RVCA, and the DNA of the brand.”

Speaking to the factors that drive growth with female consumers, Perez elaborated, “RVCA stands out because we’re a little different through branding and design – the product stands out at the retailer and core, and I think that’s an advantage for us.”

Vans Surf Marketing Director Scott Sisamis breaks down experiential events

STATE OF SURF first quarter event
Vans’ Surf Marketing Director Scott Sisamis and Aaron Carrera discuss Vans’ events. Photo: Leontis

Vans’ Scott Sisamis has spent decades with the brand, and in the industry itself. He knows the ins and outs of Vans’ marketing journey and went into detail on where the brand’s longstanding authenticity comes from, and how events connected to culture augment that: “When we’re [Vans] at our best, we’re really listening to people: athletes, artists, friends. We look at athletes and influencers as super-incubators of that. There’s a really organic cross-pollination of ideas and athletes, and I haven’t really seen that any place else. It’s a unique situation that gives us great insight.”

An area of focus for the discussion was the Duct Tape Invitational and House of Vans, two experiential events aimed at consumer and cultural integration. With such a broad reach through social media, Vans has its consumers at its fingertips; how then does the brand justify smaller events, and how does the brand measure ROI, Carrera asked. “You don’t need to cheapen it by pushing product,” Sisamis responded. “You’re doing things that give back and support the culture, and in the long run, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously, youth care about culture, and need to have platforms that give back. Those things ultimately have a bigger return on your brand.”

Richer Poorer CEO Iva Pawling delivers keynote presentation

STATE OF SURF first quarter event
Richer Poorer CEO and co-founder Iva Pawling had refreshing perspectives on the surf industry that kept the room at rapt attention. Photo: Leontis

In her talk, Pawling outlined the struggle that she and the brand faced breaking into the surf industry. Speaking from her previous experience with men’s contemporary fashion, where inclusivity was the norm, Pawling said, “Surf is not a collaborative industry. There’s a lot of underground talk, and everyone knows everything about everyone else’s brand, but no one is working together. But as brands, and an industry, we cannot operate behind a curtain anymore. Consumers are demanding to know who’s behind brands, who they’re working with, who has influence, and whether or not they align with that.”

When asked about what she thought the solution for the industry was, Pawling responded, “There’s a reality to where we’re at right now – there’s a rapid demand for change, and all of us are asking, ‘Where do we go next? What is the answer?

“Mentors are certainly important, but the reality is that nobody knows what this thing [retail] looks like anymore. We’ve got to lock arms and work together, because nobody knows the path anymore. My advice is to find collective groups that have similar responsibilities, and figure it out together.”

For more insights, purchase the 2017 STATE OF SURF First Quarter Report here.

Check out more information on the STATE OF SURF here:

Meet the Speaker: Vans Surf Senior Marketing Manager Scott Sisamis

Meet the Speaker: Richer Poorer Co-founder & CEO Iva Pawling

2017 STATE OF SURF First Quarter Event at Holiday in Costa