We’ve noticed more marketing and product from Billabong’s Adventure Division lately.
We followed up with Billabong President Shannan North to find our more about the strategy behind the cold weather, technical gear meant for surfers and snowboarders who travel.
He believes the industry needs to fight to gain marketshare rather than cede it to outdoor brands.
Why did Billabong create the Adventure division?
Billabong President Shannan North: The Adventure Division was created quite a few years ago around Shane Dorian and our team that were chasing huge swells all over the world in the pursuit and progression of high performance big wave surfing.
This often meant the team would end up in super remote and harsh conditions, and as a result, we began making product to suit their needs.
We have only really begun to bring the product to market in a consistent and commercial way for the past three years, after we saw a clear opportunity and need in our channel.
What categories are involved, and are the products available in all regions?
Shannan North: The line is pretty extensive and covers cold weather technical jackets and fleece, as well as technical luggage and accessories - all built around our team’s requirements.
Adventure Division is a global product line available in all regions.
The sign off on all the product is stay warm/stay dry, so everything that we make must meet this mantra.
Is Billabong still making outerwear for snowboarding?
Shannan North: Absolutely. We have been in snow for 25 years, so riding mountains is part of what we do and who we are.
The 2018 line that has just hit stores is performing well, and it feels like the overall snow category is seeing some recovery and growth around the world.
The Adventure Division line crosses over into snow and is our apex snow collection, and Bode Merrill is involved in the design.
Is Adventure product targeted at existing accounts, or are there new channels of distribution?
Shannan North: Adventure Division is designed for our existing account base and we really see this as a great unlock for the back half of the year.
We have been working on strategies to support our retail partners to create a stronger business 12 months of the year and to lift the average dollar value of each sale. The Adventure Division range drives against both of these objectives.
As an industry we should not be putting our loyal consumers in a place where they have to go elsewhere to purchase technical and functional winter product.
Our feedback has also been that surfers and snowboarders want an alternate option to outdoor brands. While those brands have a lot of great product, it is mostly designed for your parents’ hiking trip or climbing the summit at Everest, neither of which really resonate with our customer.
There is a rich and authentic story of surf and snow travel and exploration that customers really engage with around Adventure Division.
As a wholesale/retail industry, we have let multiple huge consumer movements escape us over the past decade and, as a result, we lost an enormous amount of consumer dollars.
Our industry cannot afford for this to happen anymore. We have to address the needs of our customers, move fast, and show up with conviction.
Retail stores that have created a strong winter statement with Adventure Division have reported some really positive results in winter category sales, and a lift in average dollar transactions.
We believe it is important that our retailers are able to play in the winter categories, and with Adventure Division, there is a reason and purpose to help break away from the constant downward pressure on price. We want this consumer movement to be addressed in our channel.
Specialty retail will benefit by creating more price elasticity in apparel and accessories and take its rightful share of the winter business.
We have great retailers out there that can sell $300 to $500 wetsuits and $700 to $800 surfboards.
So I really believe in the next few years specialty retailers will be able to do volume sales at the $150-$250 range of winter technical items, and will be able to take care of customers 12 months of the year.