Stokehouse Unlimited brands Vissla, Amuse Society and D'Blanc are trying a new strategy this year when it comes to trade shows.
Stokehouse owner Paul Naude answered some questions for us via email about the move.
Are Vissla, Amuse and D’Blanc attending trades shows this year?
Paul Naude: As a new group of modern youth brands we are keen to try new ideas and challenge the industry status quo.
Vissla, Amuse Society and D'Blanc will not be exhibiting at Agenda in Long Beach in July or at Surf Expo in Orlando in September.
Amuse will exhibit at Miami Swim in July, Swim Collective in August, Project Las Vegas and Axis New York in September.
Why? How will you make sure you get face time with customers?
Paul Naude: Based on feedback from a number of customers and our sales force we decided that it's time to test a fresh approach. There's been a significant increase in recent times in regional and sales rep shows around the country. In the month of July there are 19 days where somewhere in the country there's a regional show and some dates actually overlap with each other.
It's also the busiest retail month in our industry so there's a limit to how much time retailers can be away from their businesses.
With that in mind, we've decided to focus more on the regional shows and getting closer to all of our customers in the respective markets. Then of course we have a strong, experienced sales force that will focus on their usual level of service and conduct more personal, productive line presentations where it's required.
With regards to Surf Expo there is also the timing issue as we will not be ready to launch our Summer line then. I think it's too early to expect retailers to book Summer in early September. Some of them will still be wrapping up Spring.
At this early stage of your company, do you worry at all about missing out on business at the shows or that retailers will wonder why you are not there?
Paul Naude: We have communicated our strategy to our customers and have had numerous very positive responses. We have a disciplined distribution strategy and I'm comfortable that our sales force is targeting and servicing the desired retailers in their territories.
Are there other initiatives you will invest in using the dollars that would have previously been spent at the shows?
Paul Naude: This approach will create the opportunity for us to allocate more resources to retail marketing activations to further increase consumer demand to benefit our retail partners.