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Huf Worldwide has several changes in the works as it positions itself for the future.
The company has named a new CEO, is planning to move its commercial office to Orange County, and is staffing up in the digital and visual merchandising areas.
Steve Holley is the new CEO of both Huf and Lakai. He’s been working as the interim CEO for nine months. Since 2014, he has served as Senior VP of Brand Operations at Renegade Brands.
Renegade Brands provides strategic oversight, leadership, and shared services for Altamont Capital Partners portfolio companies in the action sports/skate and street sector, including Dakine, Mervin, Lakai, HUF, Brixton, Fox, and Hybrid Apparel.
I met with Steve and Huf Founder Keith Hufnagel to talk about the changes at Huf.
A big smile broke out on Keith’s face when he talked about Steve officially taking on the CEO role.
“I get to hand a lot of stress to Steve,” he said, smiling. “I believe in Steve and his work ethic. He’s been around the company and understands it beyond the just the operations part of it - he understands the lifestyle piece of it and what it needs to survive.
“I get pulled into many things I’m not an expert at,” Keith continued. “It will be good to get a professional in there so I can focus on the design part and the culture part of the business.”
Huf’s creative offices will remain in LA, while the commercial offices will move to Orange County. The goal there is to have more access to talent as Huf adds staff. Currently, Huf has about eight open positions.
The company eliminated some jobs and is adding in other areas as it looks to adjust to the changing consumer and retail landscape.
Areas where they are investing include digital marketing to focus on brand storytelling, and visual merchandising to support retailers in a meaningful way.
“We think brands that partner with retailers on creating experiences will have opportunities in the current marketplace,” Steve said.
Huf is also investing in its international business, a place where there is lots of room for growth and that hasn’t been a priority before.
Keith said he feels good about how Huf is positioned given the market conditions. It still has room to grow, and is small enough to be nimble. Including the warehouse, Huf has approximately 75 employees.
Steve and Keith also wanted everyone to know that despite rumors to the contrary, Huf is staying in footwear. It plans to build on the success of styles like the Hupper 2, which debuted earlier this year and was a hot seller.
For his part, Steve, who held global strategic leadership positions at Oakley and Mattel before joining Renegade Brands, is happy to officially join Huf and Lakai.
“It is a privilege to partner with Keith and leverage the strong foundations he and the Huf and Lakai teams have built thus far,” Steve said. “With the apparel and retail world going through a period of significant change, Huf and Lakai are well positioned for continued growth while remaining permanently committed to the skate community we are all so passionate about.”