Stance Taps David Tichiaz to be Brand President
Former Vans Americas General Manager David Tichiaz is set to step into the role of Stance president on Monday, where his expertise in aligning product and brand is expected to help further the company’s growth ambitions.
“What’s great about David is his really strong product background,” Stance co-founder and CEO John Wilson told SES on Friday. “He knows and understands what it takes to build great product that the consumer’s going to love, and he also really appreciates and values brand and how important brand is as a point of differentiation and a way to deepen the emotional connection with your customers.”
“He has a great track record and a lot of experience in aligning product and marketing channels to all work together to help us grow, but more importantly, drive excitement for the consumer and continue their desire to want to be a part of what we’re doing,” Wilson added.
Wilson himself served as brand president until 2019. He then became CEO after Jeff Kearl transitioned to board chairman. Since then, the president’s role had been unfilled.
Wilson added that Tichiaz’s character was the right fit for the Stance culture. He also pointed more specifically to Tichiaz’s work at Vans over the past nearly 17 years to further illustrate his point about the expertise the executive is set to bring to Stance.
“I really admire what Vans has done and, in many ways, they’ve done a lot of what we aspire to do around product, product line expansions, and really building out a true global brand,” Wilson said. “David obviously played a key role in helping Vans do that along the way, and they’ve done it in such an authentic way from a brand standpoint where they’ve been able to reach big audiences but remain authentic in the core markets. So, he brings a really unique toolkit to the table to help us.”
Tichiaz echoed the culture fit and said Stance made sense as the next step in his career. It also allows him to apply his past work experience to new categories.
“As I thought about what I would do next, it was about doing something that was different and that I was really excited about,” Tichiaz told SES in an interview. “Stance gives me a great opportunity to build out my career journey and apply learnings from the past into learnings for the future. I would say, too, working for a private company is something I’ve never done and something I’m extremely excited about after working at two really great public companies in Nordstrom and VF Corp.”
Being part of a smaller, private business affords the team the ability to move fast and make decisions quickly, Tichiaz added, and those are key for both growing the business and for customer acquisition.
“Stance is in the early stages of launching a new strategy that came to light during the pandemic, so I’m looking forward to accelerating that,” Tichiaz said. “They just hired a creative director, which I’m really excited about.”
New Creative Director Garret Close
Garrett Close officially joined the company last week, bringing with him expertise in the agency world, most recently as design director of Stink Studios, which has done work for Google, Nike, Ray-Ban, and Pinterest among other companies. Close has also worked at the creative agencies Kamp Grizzly and Wieden + Kennedy.
“Garrett brings to Stance a compelling background from design studios and advertising agencies – his notable experience partnering with some of the most iconic brands in fashion, sport, music, and art throughout his career will only help sharpen Stance’s ‘Stitched Different’ point of view,” Wilson said. “Not only is Garrett professionally skilled and ready to take on this role, but his personal passion for snow, skate, surf, and the arts make him an incredible fit for our community.”
The Stance Strategy
Wilson outlined a new “franchise architecture” to SES late last year that organizes the product into three distinct categories: icon for the premium basics, butter blend for items centered around softness, and fresh tech items focused on versatility and performance. The company’s manufacturing partner, FutureStitch, started by Stance co-founder Taylor Shupe, also now has a facility in Oceanside that allows for domestic production and faster turns at lower minimums.
Stance’s two latest hires will help as the company implements the new Stance strategy and beyond, according to Wilson.
“This opportunity to have somebody like Garrett with his creative capabilities to help us really bring the brand essence to life and then somebody with David’s commercial experience to help take that brand essence to align the teams around the opportunities to grow the business is going to be really important,” Wilson said. “To have to the two of them joining us at the same time is really exciting. It’ll be fun to see the work that both of them and the broader teams will do.”
Kari Hamanaka can be reached at email@example.com.