Will Hollister Take Over Surf?
Great article in Transworld Business about Hollister (aka Amercrombie & Fitch) coming in hard and making quite a bit of money in the surf industry.
As the article (nice one Josh) alludes, the core kids or whatever we want to call the guy or girl who actually surfs, does not shop in Hollister. When i was a kid if you wore the gear and didn’t ride, we called you a poser. Now, we call you $$$.
Surfing, skating, etc., is becoming a lifestyle activity, similar to baseball or football. People wear the clothing, but don’t necessarily participate in the activity. Think every guy in Jordan’s or wearing a Yankees shirt still plays baseball or football? It’s similar to why the biggest brands in our industry, outside of Burton, typically manufacture clothing versus hardoods. When was the last time you saw aa kid in a Rawlings t-shirt? You’re more likely to see them wearing an Adidas t.
If brands want to sell more to the occasional or non-rider, they’ll need to push themselves harder with the non-endemics. Create more heroes that people can get behind. Push beyond Sheckler, White, Slater and Laird… give that kid who doesn’t surf a reason to buy your brand’s t-shirt or board short versus one from Hollister.
Or don’t. But then don’t bitch because sales to people who are not interested in surfing are down. Levi’s sells to people regardless of if they’re into surfing, baseball or tennis. As an industry, we’re welcome to do the same.