Spring is Reef’s biggest season, so we spoke with VP of Marketing Mike Matey to learn about Reef’s big initiatives for Spring ’17.
What is your big story for spring?
Reef VP of Marketing Mike Matey: The big story for Spring is the expansion of our Swellular Technology into a new leather sandal for men and women called the Voyage.
This is year three of Swellular technology that started with that Rover sandal, that won the SIMA award, and really this is an effort to specifically go after the leather sandal market and take more share there.
The consumer insight and motivation to focus here was the reputation that some leather sandals have that it takes a month or two to break them in and you kind of go through a little bit of pain in the process.
The no break in comes from the way we did the upper in the leather strap. There’s no seams on the underside of the leather strap upper that rub up against your foot.
We also use something called ISA light leather. It’s a more environmentally friendly leather process. When we put it all together, that was really the ultimate waterproof leather sandal and there’s a men’s version and a women’s version.
Leather sandals are such a hot market and we really wanted to go after it and just take more share.
It’s booking in really well. It’s going to be the lead story for Reef in Spring ’17.
How will you market it?
Mike Matey: It really is that 360 marketing focus from a marketing mix standpoint. So heavy advertising, lots of PR, and then a ton of social media and digital marketing. We’re just big believers in social and telling that story of ‘Just Passing Through’ and connecting it to product.
So, all of our ambassadors will be hyping it through their social, we’ll be doing the same on our social channels, and all the digital advertising that we do will be focused on the Voyage.
Then our biggest investment always is in the in-store presentation.
So working with all of our best retailers to bring the product to life, to POP through fixturing and wall unit glorifiers and windows on the outside of the stores and all of that to really call attention to the Voyage sandal.
We find investment in retail presentation is really the highest ROI in a lot of ways.
Are there any other stories going on?
Mike Matey: We’re not walking away from the Rover. There's still more color ways and some materials in the Rover sandal and the Rover shoes.
We also have a shoe called the Mission and that is the evolution of the Rover shoe. It’s again built on the Swellular technology, that triple density bottom unit for comfort, support, and traction, but we wanted to go after a little bit younger demographic with this one.
The Mission is intentionally designed with a little bit of a sleeker profile than the Rover and we’ve given it a little more attitude in the styling. It’s for that younger 18-to-20-year-old kid, a little more inspired by skate culture and street culture.
It was well received in our sell-in process.
Mike Matey: The next one is just putting more energy into our Surfari boardshort program.
No. 1 is we’ve worked on the waistband. We’ve made it more of an articulated waistband so it fits better on the hips and we made a bigger pocket, so you can put your iPhone in the pocket.
At the end of the day, what makes Surfaris different is the print and patterns that we do. We design them in-house. We don’t just go buy prints on the open market and turn them into boardshorts.
We’ve also extended the fits. The performance fit is more athletic and slimmer and than the classic fit, which is a little more generous and relaxed.
What’s the other project?
Mike Matey: That’s our collaboration capsule called MW for Reef. So this will be the third season of it. What’s cool about this one is we’ve launched the last two in Fall and then this one we’re going to be launching in Spring, which is our bigger season.
So it’s a more robust capsule and Masafumi Watanabe, he’s our designer friend from Japan. He loves surf, so he’s done his interpretation of ‘50s classic California surf into this capsule, which is designed more for that surf boutique, more of those Blends, General Admission, Pilgrim, so our higher end product.
So that Voyage sandal we talked about, he did his interpretation of it with his design. There’s boardshorts, walkshorts, T-shirts, a really cool woven shirt and, from a design standpoint, it’s all held together from this green and white fiddle leaf fig print.
Mike Matey: There’s some new freshness in our hanging footwear program. We’ve come out with four new styles for men and three for women and they’re kind of built on a classic surf Americana kind of vibe.
Is the hanging shoe market still really tough?
Mike Matey: It is and we think there’s an opportunity for it to revive. It’s still a very accessible way for people to buy shoes, especially in that surf specialty channel. We’ve got some newness that we’re going to put in there and see how it goes.
What was your big hit in 2016 so far?
Mike Matey: The Reef Rover, especially the sandal. We’re seeing consumers are responding to that styling and the comfort story, which we package up as the ultimate travel sandal and shoe.
That’s still our biggest point of success.
No. 2 would be kids’ sandals. Those have really done well.
No. 3 is still the almighty Reef Fanning bottle opener sandal. People are cracking beers with those worldwide. That thing just will not stop. We love it.
We haven’t put as much marketing focus on it maybe as we could, and we might be doing that as we move into ’17. But that thing still is just a beast and people ask for it every year.