New ownership to provide broadened distribution, increased access to sourcing, and lowered retail prices for Lyon-based skateboard brand.
For the vast majority of European skateboard brands, taking root in the U.S. market is a rarity. Over the years, only a handful of overseas companies have become a relevant part of the hardgoods mix for U.S. retailers. Among them is Lyon, France's Cliché.
Founded in 1997 by skateboarder Jeremie Daclin, Cliché is known for its elite team, its commitment to core skateboarding, and its strong marketing presence. Recently, Dwindle Distribution announced it would be acquiring the Cliché brand from its owner, Salomon.
As a property of Amer Sports International, Salomon caters primarily to the mountain sports and ski markets—manufacturing skis, bindings, and related sporting goods. Cliché, however, according to Cliché Brand Manager Al Boglio didn't exactly fit the profile of a large, mostly snow centered company.
Boglio says the Salomon organization, that's owned Cliché since 2001, were very understanding of Cliché's strategic vision moving forward and realized the brand's future growth wasn't in line with its infrastructure.
"It was hard for Cliché to fit in the structure of a large company like Salomon," says Boglio. "I had many meetings with Saloman President Jean Marc Pambet on those issues and we realized that it wouldn't work in the long term. The tough times hit late last year and things accelerated from there. They wanted Cliché to continue with someone else that would embrace it. I knew what I wanted for the brand and the skaters so I reached out to Dwindle. Things moved really quickly from that point with Bod Boyle and Jean Marc Pambet signing the deal and making it a smooth transition."
Dwindle President Bod Boyle says it was Cliché's authenticity and strength in the European and global markets in conjunction with its appeal here in the U.S. that made the acquisition an almost no-brainer.
Like its other brands, Dwindle believes that each company should have autonomy and run themselves with very little interference from above. Al Boglio and Jeremie Daclin will continue to operate Cliché on a business as usual basis. Boyle says that with Dwindle taking care of the brand's backend functions, Daclin and Bolgio will have more time to devote to marketing and brand development. "Cliché's vibe and direction won't change in anyway," explains Boyle. "We simply want to bring additional infrastructure to what they're doing and voice opinions here and there. Al, Eric, and Jeremie are all excited about this and the brand will remain under their control."
"Dwindle has been making our boards for 5 years now and that alone is important," says Boglio. "Their quality is on point and we have built our strength on that. Keeping that synergy is amazing. Dwindle has a strong distribution network in Europe and we absolutely needed to keep that going plus they will let us run Cliché out of Lyon."
While Cliché's identity won't be altered, Dwindle's extensive backend resources will create significant change for the company. According to Boyle, global skate retailers can expect increased product availability and distribution, improved wholesale pricing, and increased market visibility.
"A lot of Cliché's product wasn't available in certain regions of the world," explains Boyle. "With Dwindle's reach, Cliché will be readily available on a global level and found where Dwindle brands are available. Interestingly, Cliché had pockets of distribution that Dwindle didn't have, so picking them up has actually increased our global presence overall."
Boyle says that Cliché will also be receiving added sales support, new sourcing opportunities, and product development support. Pricing, according to Boyle, will also change. "If anything the retail price of Cliché boards will be coming down," he says. "We've always had a commitment to providing key stone margins for our retailers wherever possible, and with our sourcing capabilities it will allow for better pricing in certain product categories for Cliché."
Riders too are excited about the transition. Being a part of a larger network will allow Cliché pros greater opportunities across the board from trips and tours to increased board sales. Cliché Pro Andrew Brophy says he's more than happy about the new deal. "Cliché sprouted wings, time to fucking fly boys!"