Industry Vets Launching Fishing Brand
Industry veteran Brendan Hanley will debut a fishing brand, Pure Lure, at Surf Expo.
Brendan, who worked with Redsand, Billabong and Under Armour during his career, has launched the brand in partnership with Bill Dreibelbis, owner of the Quiet Storm chain headquartered in Maryland.
The project came about after Bill opened a Pure Lure store in Myrtle Beach a few years ago because he was having a lot of success with fishing brands, Bill said. The two, who had worked together over the years when Brendan sold industry brands, decided to partner on a Pure Lure wholesale effort.
“It was an easy decision to partner with Brendan on this project,” Bill said. “He has taken the reins and runs the entire line and it is going very well to date. My stores have done very well with the product with no special sales or sections.”
We checked in with Brendan to find out more about the wholesale plans for Pure Lure, including what categories the brand will play in, the target consumer and how Pure Lure plans to stand out from other fishing brands.
Why were you interesting in launching Pure Lure?
Brendan Hanley: I have been in the industry either on the retail side of things or the brand side for many years. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and feel that it is the right time to offer a fresh look and perspective in the lifestyle fishing space. Being around water my entire life fishing and surfing, and coming directly from this industry, I have a deep passion for building something that represents quality, performance, innovation and authenticity.
What is the target market and who is your target customer?
Brendan Hanley: I want to focus on the specialty independent businesses within the fish, surf, dive and outdoor space. This channel has a very loyal customer base with true enthusiasts and end users. The specialty accounts also offer a “pro shop” type atmosphere and superior shopping experiences.
The goal is not to open a ton of accounts quickly or put some pie in the sky number out there just for revenue growth. I am very much looking to strategically grow the business responsibly with great partners who share our Pure Lure vision.
Being located in the fishing harbor in Ocean City, Maryland, the white marlin capital of the world, we obviously will concentrate on the eastern seaboard with a heavy focus on Florida, in addition to the North Central region and Texas.
The target consumer is someone who is deeply passionate about the outdoors, loves the water and fishing, and appreciates brands. If we had to put an age on this consumer it would be 15-50. There are 60-million-plus anglers in North America and fishing is the largest U.S. recreational sport.
How are you working with Bill Dreibelbis from Quiet Storm on the brand?
Brendan Hanley: Bill owns the Quiet Storm chain based out of Maryland, and is my retail partner on Pure Lure. Quiet Storm has locations primarily on the East Coast with stores in Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
We did a soft offering last year just to test some categories, silhouettes and price points in the Ocean City locations and the response was fantastic. During the peak season, Pure Lure moved over 3,500 units with a GM% in the 60’s. We quickly moved additional product into the Virginia and North and South Carolina locations with the same success. The sell-throughs were right up there with the legacy brands. I was hanging right next to great brands like Patagonia, Vissla, Salty Crew, Under Armour, Avid and Billabong.
As we move into 2020, we have plans for in-store build-outs in five to six locations.
What categories are you launching with and at what price point?
Brendan Hanley: I’m super excited as I truly feel we are going to surprise a lot of folks with our robust offering for 2020, including performance knits, bottoms, graphics and headwear.
Pure Lure will have a key focus around sun protection while utilizing recycled fabrics. This will be done in the form of long sleeve performance sun-shirts, both crew and hoods, that offer many benefits such as UPF 50 and Repreve fabric with anti-microbial technology.
We will also focus on “boat to bar” uber lightweight, moisture-wicking, vented fishing button downs offered through size 3XL. We take care of the big fellas.
We also have some amazing hybrid shorts that have tons of tech features built into them without compromising comfort and style. We will offer plenty of graphics on T’s and fleece as well as accessories.
As a new premium brand, we will most definitely lean towards higher tier price points but with terrific value. Sublimated performance knits will be in the $40 to $50 range, bottoms from $55 to $65 with a reversible trunk at $70.
Tell us about your background in the industry.
Brendan Hanley: I’ve been in the industry since my early teens, starting off in a local surf shop as a manager and buyer. Right after college, I opened my own store for a few years and at the same time I started my sales rep career with Redsand. This literally was my first real taste of the industry where we printed T-shirts and fleece in Encinitas, California in a founder’s garage. We grew that business to the mid-$20 million range.
Over the last three decades, I worked with Billabong and Von Zipper from 2000-2012 and then went to Under Armour where I finished there as the Global GM for the Outdoor business.
I learned a lot at Under Armour, especially in the areas of planning and strategy. Kevin Plank and Kip Fulks are special people. I am grateful for my time there.
There are several fishing brands in the market. How will Pure Lure stand out?
Brendan Hanley: There are many great brands in the market, but I feel that the best retailers are always looking for something new, something fresh and something authentic to share with their customers. I have great relationships with many amazing retailers throughout the country and so many have shared the excitement for newness.
We will be partnering with some of the very best in the industry in 2020. Retailers we will be working with include Brave New World, Farias Surf & Sport, Sand Jamm, Sea Gear, B&B, Glik’s, Assateague Island Surf Shop, and Mr. Ducks. We also will be testing in six to 10 Bass Pro elite doors in the South.
We will always deliver great service with a grassroots approach in everything we do, but what I am most proud of over the last 18 months is what we’ve accomplished from a marketing perspective.
Pure Lure has hand selected a group of world class captains and mates that embody everything we stand for as a brand. These are true watermen at every level.
In 2019, we were a sponsor of the White Marlin Open which in 2020 will be 47 years running. This tournament is my backyard and I have fished in this tournament for many years.
Last year, there were over 400 boats and over 3,500 anglers with total prize money topping $6 million. The winning boat just happened to be a Pure Lure sponsored group, winning the White Marlin category and cashing a check for $1.5 million.
Pure Lure also had great representation at every major tournament in 2019.
How would you describe the state of the industry at the moment? Where do you see opportunity and where do you have concerns?
Brendan Hanley: There are always challenges, hurdles and speed bumps in any business, but the last few years have been quite good for most retailers and brands. Nothing is easy by any means, but I truly feel that the overall health of the industry is very positive.
All the data points to the fact that consumer spending on brands continues to rise. Any type of retail is hard, but I do feel that the retailers that are here are here to stay. They are very good at what they do.
Many retailers are coming off a very strong 2019 and look to carry that momentum right into 2020.
I think my main concerns are that it is very difficult to compete with Amazon and about the discounting that takes places among some of the larger brands.