Randy Hild looks forward and back

Randy Hild at the Waterman's Ball last year. Shop-eat-surf file photo.

I talked the other day with former Quiksilver veteran Randy Hild, who left the company recently after nearly 20 years.

 

Randy helped pioneer the women’s side of the industry, and for a long time lead marketing for Roxy.




 

Randy was working for the swim brand, Raisins, when Quiksilver acquired it in 1993. After the acquisition, he focused on Roxy full time.

 

I talked to Randy about his time at Roxy, where he thinks the industry is headed and what’s next for him in this new chapter, which includes continuing to consult with Quiksilver on special projects.

 

What’s next for you?

Randy Hild and Bob McKnightRandy and Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight. Shop-eat-surf file photo.

Going forward, what excites me is the ability to continue my great relationship with the Quiksilver family. I’m working with Bob (McKnight) on some new creative partnerships and ideas, and we are thinking outside of the box.

 

Some ideas we’ve already worked on are the headphones with JBL, the Cynthia Rowley line of fashion wetsuits. You’ll begin to see more of these ideas.

 

I’m also working on the development of two brands – one will launch this summer. The excitement of starting a new brand reminds me of the early years of Roxy.

 

I think there is tremendous opportunity in this great market we are in. Look what came after the development of Roxy – the growth of sandals, shoes like Toms and Olukai, even Moskova for undwear and Stance for socks are now sold in a surf shop. Who would have thought?

 

I think we’ll continue to see growth in the better men’s category with brands like Quiksilver’s Waterman Collection, Hobie by Hurley, and Billabong’s Honolua.

 

I think if you bring an exciting idea to market, with design integrity and unique marketing, there is room for it.

 

Tell me about the early days of Roxy.

I became the sales and marketing director in 1993, and it was very small. Coming from Raisins, we brought a women’s mindset to the business instead of just guys doing it.

 

We stumbled onto the boardshort thing in 1994, the same year Lisa Andersen won the world title.

 

Women at the time were buying men’s boardshorts, and sometimes even boys’ boardshorts. We saw it in Hawaii, Bob noticed it first, and said, “Shouldn’t we make boardshorts for women?”

 

Roxy marketingSome recent Roxy ads showed the fun in the sun vibe the brand is known for

 

We asked Lisa, and she said, “Of course I’ll wear those.” We already had the fabrications and manufacturing (from the men’s business). We decided to put the peddle to the metal and put some resources behind it.

 

Soon, we had adds in Seventeen Magazine, a contest in Hawaii. By the time the industry saw it coming, we were so far down the path it took a while for them to catch up. Now, of course, we have great competitors.

 

See page 2 for Roxy’s early days marketing, Randy’s Quiksilver memories

 

 


 

 

What about the early days in Roxy marketing? 

The magic was capturing these girls as real people and sharing their little piece of life with a bigger audience. Showing happy girls on short boards, on long boards, in the sand, in the water. Sharing that imagery with a broader audience, through print at that time, and retail stores.

 

We called it linking the two islands – Hawaii and Manhattan. We were working with the mainstream media, and taking surf girls to New York looking tan and fit and beautiful and beaming of sunshine.

 

In 1995, we also had Lisa Andersen, who was featured on the cover of Surfer Magazine with the line, “Lisa surfs better than you.”

 

So we had those two images coming together.

 

What are some of the highlights from your time at Quiksilver?

It really was a privilege to work there and to see the 20 years of growth of the company and the industry. It was pretty exciting to work along Bob’s side and see the vision he had for women’s product, for retail, Quiksilver was the first online, the first public company.

 

Andy Spade, Cynthia Rowley, Randy HildAndy Spade, Cynthia Rowley and Randy Hild in New York

It is also great to have this amazing passion for this lifestyle, and to not know where work or play ends. It was always exciting – to be in the office or on the road or in the water – to work and play, all at the same time.

 

It was also an exciting time to be a part of women’s sports. Thanks to Title 9 and the changes it led to in all sports. This level of women’s sports didn’t exist 20 year ago. If you walked into a surf shop in the 70s and early 80s, it was a man’s world.

 

To have every surf store carry women’s product now, and have it be part of the backbone and structure of a retailer’s business model, it has been exciting to see that evolution.

 

I was also lucky to also get to know some of the pioneers, from Linda Benson to Lisa Andersen, Sally Fitzgibbons and Torah Bright, an Olympic athlete.

 

Plus, I’m grateful for the depth of relationships I have with all the people I’ve worked with at Roxy and Quiksilver, all the way through the athletes and other people in the industry.