- Website www.westbeach.com
- Laura Bentley, Head Designer
What are the three biggest trends you see shaping the market and what you are doing to meet them?
Streetwear influences on snowboarding clothes are moving into more workwear inspiration- creating masculine rustic looking collections. I think there is more interest in brand heritage, which is a retrospect that board style hasn't delved into too much in the past.
I think longevity is more important than ever now- customers are looking for products that will last and will really see them through the season. We're making sure all our fabrics and qualities will take a beating- our team riders and friends are testing everything, so that we are confident that when you buy Westbeach, it will take a thrashing. Westbeach have always been known for our prints, and we've got a few good ones up our sleeves this season…
How has the market evolved over the last year and how do you see things changing in the years ahead?
What's exciting for us at the moment is the amount of contact we have with our customers. Bloggers, Twitter, Facebook means we have the tools to work with the Westbeach fans on what they want. And we're listening. I think this will continue to evolve in the years ahead, bring it on!
Has sales forecasting changed for your company? If so, how has it changed?
Well, yes and no. One area we have changed is not to forecast sales of styles using out of line fabrics. The special prints and so on. What we have done now is calculate an economic yardage and just produced that amount of fabric. This effectively makes the garments limited editions and more desirable for that kind of customer.
What lessons have you learned with bookings for this season and how will you apply those to next?
We needed to have a wider offering, certainly in colourways within styles. We fixed it.
Have you changed your production or distribution models at all from last season? If so, why and how have you changed them?
Production has changed dramatically. We have expanded our team with specialists in garment tech and production. It's great to have new enthusiastic people on board!
How are you working with retailers to help ensure strong margins, the right amount of product in the marketplace, and terms that set them up for success?
We just try to keep up our end of the bar, the right kind of collection, on trend, on price and more importantly on time.
What fabrics, colors, fits, and technologies are you focusing on for next season?
We've sourced some awesome Tweeds, corduroys, herringbones and denim fabrics for our Sub79 and Peak to Chic lines this year, bringing the sartorial to the snow. Our classics range is in an explosion of colour, from classic Heli Reds and Night Rider navy, to Poison Green and Ur in Trouble yellow. This season sees the introduction of more earthy colours to the range, Fatigues, Kalahari and Teak tones with Mallard and Tabasco contrasts, which can take you from summit to city. Our slim fits have been perfected, after rider feedback we're confident we've now got these spot on.
What are pricepoints doing?
This is the biggest challenge we face right now. Everybody wants the traditional price points met in their own markets with no drop in features or quality. At least the global increases in labour and fabric costs are level for everyone. No one brand is having to have this discussion with its customers in isolation. At Westbeach we are looking at labour saving constructions and cuts which mean the garments are cleverer than they have been in the past but land at similar cost. We are working on different levels of pricing also, we have our top end Elevation range for the customer that wants highest possible technology and our Classics range for the core customer.
Are you taking any steps to minimize your environmental impact? If so, what are some of these steps?
We all do the simple stuff which seems pretty much part of everyone's life now. Duplex print, print when you have to, turn off stuff, recycle and re use. Minimise travelling by work from home, or jump on a bike, hold regional showrooms in place of individual store visits. We don't compromise our quality but we try to make the sustainable work for us- Fabrics are selected to do the job they are needed to, where we have an environmentally preferable choice we shoot for that.
What's in your crystal ball for 2012.2013?
Do you mean 13 / 14? No crystal ball needed for 12/13 as we are done. I also have the lottery numbers dialed.
What do you hope to contribute to snowboarding?
World peace and the re introduction of the Unicorn into the wild. And awesome unforgettable clothes, obvs.