RAEN Hires Heavy Hitter as CMO
Eyewear brand RAEN, one of the fastest growing brands in the industry, has just hired a well-known Oakley marketing veteran as Chief Marketing Officer.
Scott Bowers most recently worked as VP of Sales and Marketing for outdoor brand Smartwool, which is owed by VF Corp. But he is best known for the more than 25 years he spent at Oakley as the marketing leader responsible for Oakley’s brand identity worldwide, marketing strategies, e-commerce and demand creation. He was there for the whole crazy ride from the brand’s infancy to reaching over $1 billion in revenue.
We asked Scott and RAEN CEO Jeff Fitzhugh some questions about why Scott is making the move to RAEN and why he is a fit for the brand. We also asked Jeff about the strong executive team he has built at RAEN.
Questions for Scott Bowers
You have worked from some pretty big companies. Why did you want to take the CMO role at RAEN?
RAEN CMO Scott Bowers: At this stage of my career, I love building meaningful and purposeful brands. It’s very rewarding to discover what makes a brand special to consumers that goes beyond the products they make.
RAEN has really great “soul.” I think it has amazing potential, and not just in revenue opportunities. Obviously that matters because it helps fund the fun stuff. But it’s more about how the brand can inspire people – to look at our world from an aspirational view and build a brand that people want to be part of. When people wear RAEN they feel like they are part of a lifestyle that aligns with their personality and values. I know that sounds a little “ethereal,” but the best brands with soul do this effortlessly. RAEN is one of those brands.
Are there any projects or initiatives that you are most proud of during your time at Oakley?
Scott Bowers: Great question that is hard to answer in a paragraph. I spent the majority of my career at Oakley, 26 years to be exact, and I could not be more grateful. What I’m most proud is that I was part of a team that grew from being a MX/BMX handlebar grip company into one of the most recognized sports brand in the world. And we did it by using our love of core action sports and transitioning the brand to be known and respected throughout all mainstream sports. Even beyond sports. Not many, if any, action sports brands can say the same today.
We were authentic from surf, skate and snow to traditional sports such as baseball, golf and hockey. Much of our success came from our bravery to launch innovative and sometimes outlandish styles. But that’s what set Oakley apart from others. We weren’t afraid to lead, take chances, reinvent what was possible, innovate. That’s what I’m most proud of.
How do you feel about returning to the sunglass market after working outside that industry for several years?
Scott Bowers: I’m stoked! Over the past several years the eyewear industry has been a sea of sameness dominated by a few big players. We are now seeing some new, innovative and cool brands enter the market. We are seeing sports application themed styles having a moment. Consumers again want to stand out and wear styles that scream and express their personal style.
You are also seeing more color and uses of materials that are unique and interesting. Plus, we can go outside again without half of our faces covered with masks. The sunglass industry is getting fun again.
Questions for Jeff Fitzhugh
Why is Scott a good fit for RAEN?
RAEN CEO Jeff Fitzhugh: I was fortunate enough to work with Scott during my years at Oakley. I saw firsthand what a tremendous leader Scott is and how he continued to build an amazing and talented team. Without question, Scott is the most talented marketer I’ve ever worked with and his intimate knowledge of brand building is truly amazing. And what he has accomplished during his career speaks for itself. He’s also the perfect fit for RAEN. With the explosive growth that RAEN has experienced over the past five years, bringing in a professional of Scott’s caliber makes perfect sense.
Can you describe the rest of RAEN executive suite and their backgrounds?
Jeff Fitzhugh: With the addition of Scott, our executive team is almost complete. We are now in search of a global operations executive. Here are the current members of our executive team.
CFO Jeff Ishmael: I worked with Jeff during our time together at Quiksilver. He’s a seasoned CFO and over the past 10 years Jeff worked for some of the largest cyber security companies. He is a true financial professional with great experience.
GM of Europe Christian Grunde: Christian is another executive that I’ve worked with in the past. Christian and I worked together at Oakley where Christian ran the business in Germany. He currently resides in Munich and works at our European headquarters there. Our explosive growth in Europe is a direct reflection of Christian’s leadership and his ability to build an impressive team.
VP of Global Digital Marketing Allison Quiter: Allison is a true DTC professional and has been with RAEN for over three years. She has completely transformed our DTC business from a global perspective in the US, Europe and Australia. Allison has spent 20 years in the DTC space with some of the largest cosmetic health and beauty brands in the industry.
VP of Sales Scott Chantos: I’ve known Scott for over 20 years dating back to when we worked together at Converse. Not only does Scott have a wealth of experience in the industry, but he is also an accomplished executive coach. He is regarded as one of the top sales leaders in the industry.
How is RAEN’s business right now? How did 2020 turn out? Can you keep up with demand?
Jeff Fitzhugh: The RAEN brand and overall business has experienced incredible growth over the past five years. We have quickly become either the No. 1 or No. 2 eyewear brand in most retail stores.
And due to the strength of the brand, we continue to grow outside of sunglasses with significant growth in prescription eyewear. This growth has fueled a hiring frenzy at RAEN. We have already hired 12 new positions this year and have an additional six open positions that we are interviewing for.
Keeping up with the demand is certainly tricky, but we have such an incredibly talented team that we are staying ahead of the pace.