Government confirms outdoor recreation is a large and growing percentage of U.S. economy

Data puts the outdoor industry economy at 2.2 percent of GDP and growing faster than the overall U.S. economy.

We all know that the outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse. And on Thursday, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recognized that too. A final report shows that it accounts for 2.2 percent ($412 billion) of the 2016 U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

The final report also found that outdoor recreation contributes more than $734 billion to total U.S. gross output—the total value of domestic goods and service produced by an industry.

Amy Roberts, executive director at Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), said the numbers show that outdoor industry is grew faster at 1.7 percent in 2016 than the economy as a whole, which grew 1.6 percent.

“OIA’s analysis shows that Americans spend $887 billion annually recreating outside,” Roberts said in a news release. “All of this data underscores that outdoor recreation is a significant and growing contributor to the U.S. economy—we strongly encourage members of Congress to invest in public lands as these numbers demonstrate the return on investment.”

The figure places the outdoor industry on the same level as other industries, if not larger. It’s heftier than oil and gas extraction (1.4 percent) and agriculture (1 percent).

“The government’s data confirms what many of us in the industry have known for quite some time,” REI Co-op CEO and President Jerry Stritzke said in the news release. “Millions of Americans love to get outside and enjoy time with friends and family, adventuring right out their back doors or off into our iconic wild places. This is something that unites us as a nation. Whether they live in a city, suburb or small rural town, Americans cherish their outdoor experiences. It’s also very good for the economy. We appreciate the work of the Commerce Department and, in particular, the Bureau of Economic Analysis on this analysis and are committed to helping assure the data is kept fresh into the future.”

The study is the result of the unanimous passage of the Outdoor Recreation and Economic Impact Act of 2016, signed by President Barack Obama. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) authored the REC Act to show Congress that outdoor recreation is a major economic driver.

“This report provides important data for Congress and will be extremely useful as I work to gain support for initiatives that highlight the importance of our beautiful outdoors,” Gardner said.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) agreed.

“New Hampshire draws visitors from all over the world, which is why expanding outdoor recreation and protecting our environment is fundamental to our tourism industry,” she said. “My bipartisan legislation with Senator Gardner, which was signed into law, will ensure that we continue to understand the economic impact of outdoor recreation, and I’ll continue to prioritize legislation in Congress to build on that effort.”

OIA is now asking Congress to provide funding for the BEA to product the report annually, and to break down data by region.



Nidecker Brothers Acquire Rome SDS, and Bataleon Parent Low Pressure Studio

The Nidecker brothers: Henry, Xavier and Cédric

The Nidecker brothers are making major moves in snowboarding.

They announced today that they have acquired Vermont-based Rome SDS in addition to Low Pressure Studio in Europe, which is home to the Bataleon, Lobster and Switchback brands.

Rome will join the operating platform of Low Pressure Studio (LPS), which is based in Amsterdam. However, Rome’s creative, R&D and design will stay in Waterbury, Vermont.

The Nidecker brothers – Henry, Xavier, and Cédric – made these acquisitions separately from the Nidecker Group.

The Nidecker Group already has a lot on its plate and has grown rapidly the past several years by adding brands. Currently it is home to the Nidecker, Yes, Jones, Now, and Flow brands. Nidecker has been a family-owned business for 130 years.

While Rome will join Low Pressure Studio on its operating platform and will remain separate from the Nidecker Group, synergies are expected in sourcing, the back office and other areas. Since the Nidecker brothers own the Nidecker Group, the entities are expected to work closely together.

We have lots more information on the acquisitions below including a Q&A with Nidecker CEO Henry Nidecker; a Q&A with Rome Co-Founder Josh Reid; and the official press release.


Why were you looking to make more acquisitions?

Henry Nidecker: It’s very simple. We believe in snowboarding.

My brothers Xavier and Cédric and I were practically born and raised in a snowboard factory and our Dad gave us the passion of snowboarding, going to all the trade shows, having access to all of the culture, and molding boards since we were kids.

He also gave us the key to being entrepreneurs. When we created the Nidecker Group in 2007 we wanted to put snowboarders back in charge of the snowboard industry. So we have created brands in partnership with athletes at Yes, Jones and Now, and we wanted to consolidate our footprint in the snowboard industry.

Obviously, with the rapid growth of the company over the past few seasons, we already had a lot on our plate. But after our meeting with Dennis Dusseldorp and Danny Kiebert of LPS and Josh Reid and Paul Maravetz of Rome, the synergies between all of us were perfectly matched.

So, it was a logical move, not just in a financial sense, but also in the sense of working to keep that unique energy within the sport that only snowboarder-run companies can bring.

For us acquisition isn’t about buying brands to strip out the assets and the IP, it’s about keeping rider-owned and -run companies at the forefront of the sport.

Anybody that’s spent any time with the Rome or LPS team will testify that there’s a unique energy and passion within those companies that we couldn’t replicate.

Because we have been a family-owned company for over 130 years, we have the chance to focus on the long term and making a positive impact on our sport – rather than on the short term and financial returns.

What does Rome bring to Nidecker? 

Henry Nidecker: Growing up surrounded by snowboarding and living in the mountains, I think it’s safe to say that when my brothers and I were younger, we lived, breathed and slept snowboarding.

What Rome was doing at the time was completely different from Nidecker back then. Rome bought a whole new dynamic to the sport. For three kids living in a small town in Switzerland, it was not only cool, but also revolutionary.  So, first and foremost, having this brand that we looked up to as kids in the portfolio is really exciting.

However, on a purely business level, it adds another string to the company’s bow while bringing in a group of very talented people to the business who share the same passion for continuing the progression of snowboarding as not only ourselves but also the teams behind the rest of our family of brands.

What does LPS bring to your company? 

Henry Nidecker: We think we and Deniis share a share a similar philosophy when it comes to how we manage our companies.

We both created a platform of snowboard brands, support athlete-driven brands and focus on high-end products.

And most importantly, we share the same vision of how to run a company and the same motivation to help all the brands grow. So we connected quickly with Dennis and Danny.

We believe that LPS led by Dennis is the best partner we could have found to create this new snowboarding hub. This will be great home for snowboarder-driven companies.

How will the brands be integrated inside Nidecker Group?

Henry Nidecker: Low Pressure Studio will not be integrated into Nidecker Group but will remain its own multi-brand platform.

All the brands will stay independent when it comes to product and marketing, and we will not dictate how they should be positioned.

All of the brands will evolve in their own ways and appeal to a certain customer. We keep creative strictly separate and each brand has its own brand director.

The main synergies we will get are in logistics, raw material purchase, back-end, and financing as well as on the investment side for all the back-office, IT, consumer services, website, etc.

The set up in LPS is something we had a lot of experience with in the Nidecker Group, so it’s great to leverage this experience for a second home for snowboarder-owned and -operated brands.

How did the Nidecker Group as a whole perform in 2017? Has adding more brands improved the company’s profitability?

Henry Nidecker: Thankfully, Europe was blessed with a very long and strong winter, and from what I understand, many brands have seen great results. This is good news for our industry not only for the manufacturers but also for the retailers, the resorts and everyone involved in snowboarding.

For us, the integration of Flow into the Nidecker group has been very positive. I honestly didn’t expect it to go as smoothly as it did.

The Nidecker brand was introduced back in North America, and is the brand in our portfolio that experienced the highest growth in dollars and in percentage this year.

Our athlete-owned and -operated brands Yes, Jones and Now have all seen double-digit growth and are getting a lot of support from retailers worldwide, so as a company we are in a great place at the moment.

We are not disclosing revenue, but we can say that we are doubling our revenue this year and last year we also doubled compared to the prior year.

The company has gone from 15 employees 10 years ago to over 90 today.


Why was now the right time to sell the company? 

Josh Reid: Having been independent and self-sufficient for the last 17 years, Rome is at a point where we’ve been looking for the right partner to work with us to drive the brand to the next level.

Whether it is an accelerated timeline on technologies that we want to introduce, the development of a new approach to selling, or a more aggressive marketing initiative, our goal has been to find a partner looking to assist Rome in these things.

It’s a great time in snowboarding to drive product innovation and to enrich the lives of snowboarders with direct engagements that celebrate the culture of snowboarding.

What changes do you expect post-acquisition? 

Josh Reid: We expect to benefit greatly on the sourcing side of things where all the brands within the Nidecker Group and LPS can gain a collective advantage that can strengthen margins and therefore allow for a more forward-looking approach to product, sales and marketing investments.

We also look forward to collaborating with other strong minds in snowboarding to strategically plan what the right next steps are in the evolution of the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate.

Was it hard to think about selling the company you created from scratch? 

Josh Reid: Of course.  When you bring together a group of passionate, dedicated people to create something new and different, there is a lot of emotional attachment to it.

Within Rome there is a collection of employees, reps, distributors, riders and friends who internally are known as The SDS—the people in this group know who they are.

Over the years, these are the people who have all worked, fought and snowboarded collectively to build Rome.  Uncountable fun, adventurous and challenging times.

How tough has the climate in the snowboard industry been the past few years? 

Josh Reid: I think we all know many of the challenges in snowboarding over the last few years, from consolidation of the retail landscape to snowfall amounts in certain key markets to the changes in participation, as well as other factors.

So for sure it has been a solid battle.  That said, we’ve continued to innovate in product and marketing, while developing passionate sales teams all around the world with the result being a lot of growth years in different markets.  But it hasn’t been easy.

Why were the Nidecker brothers a good fit for Rome? What can they bring to the table to help Rome in the future? 

Josh Reid: The Nidecker brothers are a perfect fit for the Rome brand and who we are.  From the launch of Rome through today, we’ve always believed that snowboarders should own snowboard companies.  This is a core value of Rome that will never change.

With Henry, Xavier, Cédric and their father’s history, Rome is able to continue this mission of having snowboarders in control of snowboarding.

Also, Nidecker and LPS are a great fit because they are a product-focused company that mirrors Rome’s Design House approach of putting product innovation as the lynchpin that is necessary to progressing the fun of snowboarding, which at the end of the day, is what it is all about.



Rolle/Amsterdam/Vermont – September 10, 2018

Continuing their vision to keep snowboarders in control of snowboarding, the Nidecker brothers, Cédric, Xavier and Henry have acquired a majority stake in Low Pressure Studio, home of Bataleon, Lobster & Switchback from Jorgen Karlsen, founder of Bataleon Snowboards and inventor of Triple Base Technology / 3BT and SideKick technology.

Henry Nidecker stated: “We have been impressed by the success of Low Pressure Studio and jumped at the opportunity to support a rider-driven brand that reflected our collective passion for snowboarding. This collaboration will allow us to shape the future of our sport and the lifestyle that means so much to all of us. »

In addition, the opportunity also arose to purchase the iconic Rome SDS brand. As one of the original rider driven brands, Rome has been at the forefront of snowboard progression over the past 17 years.

Rome Co-Founder Josh Reid commented: “Since we launched in 2000-2001, we’ve always been pretty clear about what we believe is important in snowboarding. One of those things is having snowboard companies owned and directed by snowboarders. In partnering with LPS and the Nidecker brothers, we’ve made sure this will continue to be a core value at Rome.”

Rome SDS will join Bataleon, Lobster & Switchback as part of Low Pressure Studio, which will continue to operate from Amsterdam with the same team that’s been running the company for over a decade. All of ROME SDS creative, R&D and design will stay in Waterbury, Vermont, USA.

“Combining ROME SDS’ deep roots in snowboarding with Low Pressure Studio’s outstanding operational track record creates an unbeatable multi-brand platform’’, says Dennis Dusseldorp CEO of Low Pressure Studio. “The passion for snowboarding is what drives us all. Feeding off of each-others energy will boost the brands and strengthen our market position while remaining true to our vision of being a home for real rider driven brands.”

“This new partnership is bringing together riders with deep roots in both American and European snowboarding — a first in the history of the snowboarding industry”, said Rome Co-Founder and iconic board designer Paul Maravetz. “I’m super excited to have the backing of Nidecker and LPS to more quickly push forward a lot of the product innovations we have in the works here,”

About Low Pressure Studio :

Low Pressure Studio is the home of Bataleon Snowboards, Lobster Snowboards and Switchback Bindings and is run by Dennis Dusseldorp and Danny Kiebert. Originally from Amsterdam, they have committed their lives to Snowboarding, working for years for various resorts, brands and media outlets across Europe and New Zealand in the 90s. They introduced Bataleon Snowboards to a wider market and created a strong following of riders committed to their 3D designs. They have never produced a board without 3BT, and they have been on the forefront of 3D shaping in the industry. In 2011, Dennis and Danny teamed up with legendary snowboarders Halldor and Eiki Helgason to create Lobster Snowboards. Switchback Bindings soon followed and the time came to create Low Pressure Studio as a rider and innovation driven multi-brand platform.

About Rome :

Rome. Back in 2001, the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate was co-founded by Josh Reid and Paul Maravetz to create a brand rooted in product design, a collective approach to creativity and the age-old values of sideways sliding knuckle draggers.  The Rome brand has inspired us a lot over the years with their innovative approach to both marketing and product design.

About Nidecker Group:

The Nidecker Group is the home of innovative and inspirational action sports brands: Nidecker, Yes, Jones, Now and Flow. We create, operate, and accelerate industry-leading brands internationally with one goal: to inspire and enable athletes to lead the progression of their sport.

Founded in 1887 in the Swiss Alps and one hundred percent family owned, every generation has been fuelled by a passion for innovation and action sports. We began our story as master craftsmen, making wooden wheels and tables before moving on to sleds and cross-country skis. In 1912 we started manufacturing alpine skis, then water skis, monoskis and finally snowboards in 1984. Today, we are the oldest action sports company in the world and have built highly successful brands, which have played an integral role in the evolution of every industry in which we’ve been involved for over five generations.



By Tiffany Montgomery |


Solis : and there was light

In a universe where versatility is omnipotent, to bring out a ski dedicated to steep slopes could be thought of as a conceited risk. Nevertheless, the elegance of its line and robust appearance awakens the curiosity and desire of numerous skiers who are not specialists in mid-air jump turns. An encounter with Julien Regnier*, the architect of this distinctive bird, the first ski shaped for verticality.

*Designer of black crow skis since 2009, Julien Regnier was formerly a bumps skiing champion and initiator of modern freestyle. Alternating between a designer of skis and freestyle events, film director, editor, cameraman, photographer, Julien is passionate about the engineering of a ski.

Black crows: Why make a ski specifically for steep slopes ?

Julien: The idea was to realise a robust and loyal product for mountain use with very few constraints on the weight. We wanted a ski destined for mountain skiers whose overriding objective is not the summit, but the descent.

Black crows: A mountain ski without the constraint of weight, that seems contradictory…

Julien: One knows that the weight will be too larger a constraint for creating a ski which works well. Having said that, all the same we had an acceptable objective because one knows that in the mountains, lightweight is an advantage. But we also wanted a ski whose edges hold well, which is robust and agreeable to ski. The concept began there, afterwards with Bruno (Compagnet, Editor’s Note) and Camille (Jaccoux, Editor’s Note), we chose the dimensions for a ski which would be versatile in the mountains, namely 100 underfoot.

Black crows: What is a ski which is specifically for steep slopes ?

Julien: One is often concerned on a steep slope, the ski tends to oversteer because of the incline in relation to the plane of glide. Yet, a modern ski with a quite pronounced side line is going to curve under the influence of the slope. So, inevitably, when you are in the mountains with slopes of 45-50 degrees, you already have a large incline in relation to your plane of glide, but you want to tend towards a side slip, in any case to have a very strong control over your side slip.

Unfortunately, a ski with a strong radius is going to curve a lot and to bend and so have a fast and persistent directional effect. To remedy this, we lengthened the side lines, tried to stiffen the flex and lengthen the lift of the rocker as much as possible so that it would be very soft and not embark the ski too much into the turn. Equally, we wanted a very stiff heel for those who carry rather heavy loads so that there is no loss of balance. It is the whole shape which is influenced by this objective of very stable turns when it is steep: flex, lift of the rocker and radius.

Black crows: How was such distinctive shape of ski born?

Julien: The team left me to be master of my own design and I would like to thank them because it is one of the aspects where one has good ideas but which modify everything. Personally I don’t like having somebody behind me when I am doing my designs because it is really frustrating, and I have been trying understand how it all works for 20 years. You have plenty of constraints when you make a ski so you have to understand and try and harmonise them. And, when somebody gives you their opinion, if only on a detail, it affects all the rest. As from the moment when we lay the basis of what we want, I make the designs and, later, all the process of testing takes place together. We have all a different feel for the snow and it is Bruno who, in the end, really has the use.

Black crows: And this square tip, for what use ?

Julien: The tip is the only area of liberty that you have. I think that the influence of the tip on the behaviour of the ski is marginal, so you can allow yourself a bit of freedom and add a personal touch. This allows for having an object which is unique and I am very proud because it really has rather a particular look to it. It is very elegant and a lot of people notice it. And, we don’t use any revolutionary procedures. As a whole, this matte yellow and black design form Yorgo (Tloupas, Black Crows’ art director, Editor’s Note) combined with the top logo placement, the angles, and the tails… I put a lot of work in. Let’s say that it is the design of tips and tails which make the object. But, they are also in relation to the lift of the rocker. I always design the tips in relation to the lift of the rocker. If they are rapid or slow, you don’t do the same thing.

Black crows: Have you had any criticisms of this shape ?

Julien: At the beginning, there were people who really didn’t like the tip but now I believe there is unanimity, except with some die-hards. I remember, however, that with the arrival of the first prototypes in wood, many people in the office were sceptical. Then, when you see the finished ski, it is really attractive. But it is necessary to stick your neck out when you make such a ski because it is easier to make a round tip which has consensus. When you take this type of risk, you really have to believe in your idea and be sure that it is going to work.

Black crows: What were the technical difficulties which you encountered with the solis ?

Julien: The main difficulty with this ski, is that the modern mountain skis are a lot shorter than before. Yet, as we favoured the rise of the rocker for versatility in varied snow, the points of contact are quite short with a long radius. This gives a ski which is quite confusing on ski runs because it needs a bit of speed in order to perform. As it is short underfoot and makes long turns, it could feel quite unstable. Nevertheless, with its construction, and notably the presence of titanal, the stability that you loose on the edge length, I won’t say that you gain, but it gives you confidence because you have something under your foot. It is not hyper light. It has therefore a certain versatility, but for sure it is not a playful short radius ski which can do everything. That said, it is very specialist and for sure leaves gaps in its versatility. But, all the same, it is interesting to ski and in the end you get used to it on ski runs.

Black crows: And talking of development, how did the fabrication process go?

Julien: The development was quite long with quite a few tests, but that is the classic procedure to get what you want. For the shape, we arrived at something good quite quickly; however for the flex, we had to have a lot of tries. The ski was too heavy, which wasn’t acceptable for its use. Notably, we replaced the initial edge, it was too heavy, with an edge from our freeride range. Like that we arrived at a good compromise between ski-ability and weight.

But yes, it took a certain amount of time because we really wanted to make a good ski. There were a lot of innovations in the association of small details and it was necessary to make tests, to understand what doesn’t work , then re-test. At the beginning we tested with touring bindings and, for me, they didn’t work. I have to be able to ski hard. So, we all moved to alpine bindings so that we could ski like troopers and really understand the ski.

There were also many discussions with Bruno about the tests. We understand one another. Each time we came to the same conclusions. He contributed his expertise and his feel for the snow. I, myself, don’t have the same feel for the snow. I don’t ski in the same way at all, not in the same areas… So it was really good to have Bruno associated with the conception so that we could collate our thoughts.

Black crows: What is the idea of having the chevron hollowed in to the tip ?

It is, at the same time, the logo, a fixing point for skins and it allows for making a sled if somebody should be injured. All it needs is to attach an ice-axe or ski pole and fix something at the back and one can easily create a sled. I think that it was Bruno who wanted the hole for the sled. Afterwards, it was me who placed the chevron and it really had to be exact. It is all about industrial design and if you have bad angles in the wrong place, all the aesthetics are modified. And now I think that the ski is truly elegant.

Black crows: What advice you would give to happy owners of the solis ?

Julien: It is really quite a powerful ski, so you should really put good kit on this ski so that it can express all its qualities. So, if you fix bindings which are too supple at the back, the boot will tend to want to release and finally, won’t ski well because the binding is always on the move. This ski transmits a lot of energy so it is useless to associate it with floating bindings. There is a force in this ski. It is a highly specialised ski but lots of friends want to try it. So, I tell them that it isn’t for them. But nothing to do, the guy answers me: “I don’t care, I want to ski it”.



Black Crows

by Antoine Jag | 7 August 2018 | issue n°n°15 – summer

J. Crew launches third-party marketplace

Dive Brief:

  • J. Crew is selling some accessories, footwear and lingerie using a marketplace approach — having the brands drop-ship the items directly to customers. The debut of J. Crew Marketplace was first noted by Business Insider, which confirmed the company soft launched the platform this spring.
  • The retailer takes the orders and payment and provides tracking, but returns must be made directly to the sellers, according to a note on the company’s website.
  • The items “cannot be sold in or shipped to Washington, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania or Oklahoma,” according to the company’s website, presumably due to those states’ sales tax laws governing remote sellers. J. Crew didn’t immediately return Retail Dive’s request for more details.

Dive Insight:

J. Crew Marketplace is less a curated page of goods and more a notice to customers that certain items will be drop-shipped directly from brands. Drop-shipping is an age-old fulfillment tactic for catalog and online retailers that allows for higher wholesale margins as they bypass fulfillment headaches and inventory risk.

That can be lucrative. Amazon is selling at least half its assortment via third-party sellers, and Walmart has launched a series of pages dedicated to Lord & Taylor and Moosejaw in addition to its general third party sales there. But J. Crew Marketplace isn’t extensive. “For now J. Crew has covered the bases — making sure customers are getting the right merchandise and the right shopping experience at the right price,” Howard Schneider, VP of loyalty strategy at loyalty marketing firm Kobie, told Retail Dive in an email.

The brand has more room to “elevate the customer experience even further and create opportunities to engage customers to feel like ‘insiders’ with an ongoing relationship with the brand,” he said. Still, “it’s clear J. Crew has done its homework. … This gives more consumers more reasons to visit the J. Crew site. By creating more opportunities for engagement and opening up its brand and products to a broader customer base, the retailer is primed to compete with other online retail leaders.”

Like drop-shipping, marketplaces offer retailers a way to expand their merchandising with less risk, and the model has expanded globally in recent years. “In 2017, 40% of all digital commerce sales went through a marketplace model compared to 23% in 2013, according to Euromonitor, and Amazon Marketplace accounted for 87% of that growth,” Michelle Grant, head of retailing research at Euromonitor International, wrote in an opinion piece for Retail Dive earlier this year. “The marketplace model is only going to grow and retailers need to stay on top of these trends. The endless assortment and lower prices resonate with consumers and the largest retailers are responding by making their marketplaces even better.”

Not all retailers have been keen on the model — Best Buy shuttered its five-year-old marketplace a few years ago, citing shopper confusion and other priorities. Crate and Barrel in 2016 announced a marketplace with a “highly curated” assortment, but that’s nowhere to be found anymore.

And it can be risky for the sellers, who take on not just the expense and responsibility for fulfillment and returns but also the consequences of associating themselves with marketplace hosts. Premium outdoor brand Black Diamond, for example, sent Walmart a cease and desist letter asking to be removed from the retailer’s new Moosejaw page immediately upon its launch.



The Path to $5 Billion: Vans Unveils Roadmap For Lofty Goal

The numbers that the Vans leadership presented at Wednesday morning’s investor meeting in Costa Mesa, CA, were staggering relative to the company’s current financial snapshot of $3 billion in annual revenue for fiscal 2018.

The footwear and apparel brand expects to generate compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent to 12 percent each year over the next five years to reach $5 billion in annual revenue by 2023.

“It’s not a number we take lightly,” Steve Rendle, president and CEO of Vans parent company VF Corp., said during the investor meeting. “A lot of work has gone into understanding how that will come by region, by product category and by channel.”

To reach the goal, Vans will need double-digit increases in footwear and apparel, at home and abroad, through direct-to-consumer and wholesale. And while the company has plenty of work to do in the next five years, especially in light of ever-shifting consumer demands and a constantly changing retail landscape, Vans and VF are confident they have forged the right strategy to get there.

History is on Vans’ side. Since being acquired by VF Corp. in 2004 for $396 million, Vans has grown at a 17 percent CAGR and expanded its reach across the globe. Vans is the corporation’s largest, fastest-growing and most profitable brand, a notable accomplishment alongside such VF brand stalwarts as The North Face, Dickies and Timberland.

Vans, which expects to notch $3.4 billion in fiscal 2019 on 20-plus percent CAGR, is already on target to surpass its 2021 strategic goals laid out for analysts and investors last year—$3.3 billion on 8 percent to 10 percent CAGR. So Vans decided to set the bar even higher, and at Wednesday’s investor meeting, executives outlined specific ways the company expects to clear it.

“It’s an opportunity for us to rethink the trajectory of this business,” Rendle said. What’s behind the brand’s success to date—and what will propel it toward $5 billion—is the management team, Rendle added, specifically “the quality of their knowledge, the connectivity they have as a team and how they are focused on a clear set of integrated strategies and capabilities that are driving this business.”

In Wednesday morning’s press release, Vans said it “expects diversified and balanced growth across all product categories, channels of distribution and geographies, driven by disciplined execution and investment to continue to fuel growth.” The company’s specific financial targets include:

  • Footwear revenue is expected to grow at a five-year CAGR between 10 percent and 12 percent. Heritage footwear is expected to grow at a CAGR between 8 percent and 10 percent and Progression footwear is expected to grow at a CAGR between 14 percent and 16 percent.
  • Apparel and accessories revenue is expected to grow to more than $1 billion which represents a five-year CAGR between 13 percent and 15 percent.
  • Direct-to-consumer (DTC) revenue is expected to grow to approximately $3 billion representing about 60 percent of global brand revenue and a five-year CAGR between 13 percent and 16 percent. DTC Digital revenue is expected to grow to more than $1 billion which represents a five-year CAGR between 30 percent and 35 percent.
  • Revenue in the Americas region is expected to reach approximately $3 billion which represents a five-year CAGR between 10 percent and 12 percent.

But understanding where Vans wants to go requires a quick look back at the brand’s origins. Brothers Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren, along with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia, founded the Van Doren Rubber Co. in 1966 in Anaheim, CA. They made shoes to order right in their small store and sold pairs to 12 customers on opening day.

The brand slowly grew, but soon became an icon in the Southern California skateboard scene and even made its way into popular culture when the Vans Classic Slip-On, with its famous checkerboard design, appeared in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Good times and bad ensued over the years, including a bankruptcy and, perhaps more importantly, falling out of favor with the company’s core audience—skateboarders—in the early 2000s. This led to the eventual purchase by VF in 2004.

That move helped Vans reignite brand loyalty and gave the company the scale needed to expand beyond its then-footprint into new markets. Vans truly began the company’s evolution from Southern California skate brand to a global action sports brand.

Over the decades, across the geographies and throughout ownership structures, Vans maintained seven foundational beliefs which Doug Palladini, Vans global brand president, outlined Wednesday for investors and analysts. He said these are key to understanding how the company plans to stay true to itself while also fostering rapid growth among both brand loyalists and newcomers.

According to Palladini, Vans’ core tenets are:

  1. Open to anyone, but not for everyone. Vans is inclusive by nature but understands that not everybody in the marketplace wants to wear the brand.
  2. Clear about who we are and who we are not. Vans is rooted in skateboarding and is focused on four pillars of arts, music, action sports and street culture.
  3. Imperfect = beloved. Vans shoes aren’t meant to be collected, kept in a box and never worn but are meant to be loved and even thrashed through experience.
  4. Checkerboard, not checkbook. Vans isn’t the world’s biggest lifestyle sports brand but is connected to youth culture and builds brand loyalty through meaningful connections with consumers.
  5. Global consistency with local relevancy. The brand has moved way past the company’s California skateboard roots and even beyond the Americas to about 85 countries, where Vans works to connect with each region where its products are sold.
  6. Hungry and humble. Vans is proud of being a culture-led brand that acts with humility.
  7. Off the wall. Vans’ longtime mantra is about not adhering to tradition.

After detailing the foundational elements, Vans then explained the growth drivers needed to reach $5 billion. They are:

  • Customer connectivity: “Over the last 50-plus years, Vans has grown by staying true to who we are, by listening to our consumers and by enabling creative expression,” the company said. “Our strategic choices and executional discipline will allow us to continue that legacy in an aligned and powerful way.”
  • Icons and innovation: Vans authenticity is based on the history and strength of our iconic franchises,” but the company is also squarely focused on a “test and learn” mindset to foster innovation.
  • Expanding next generation direct-to-consumer: “Direct-to-consumer business is a strategic enabler for Vans to drive awareness, affinity, aspiration and sales, productivity and profitability.”
  • Inspire Asian expressive creators: Asia is a key market for the brand to reach its growth potential.

Many levers will pull these growth drivers for Vans. One is global diversity. The company expects double-digit growth in all regions led by 17 percent to 19 percent CAGR in Asia.

Another is retail expansion. Vans is expecting the company’s store teams continuing to be a “key point of differentiation and competitive advantage,” as the company ramps up retail push with new concepts for storytelling via window, interior and footwear walls inside stores.

Another is apparel. The company expects to grow apparel and accessories significantly, with projections of double-digit growth and reaching $1 billion, or 21 percent of the company’s overall business, by 2023.

Yet another is e-commerce and omnichannel. The company views as “more than a sales channel, it is an opportunity to create powerful brand experiences.”

And uniting all these drivers are marketing and digital storytelling, which Vans will ramp up as the company works to grow mind share and marketshare around the world.

The response to Vans’ growth goals and strategic plan to reach them has been positive, with Jim Duffy of Stifel writing in a note to investors (before the meeting), “We view Vans as a powerful youth lifestyle brand and see this as an ambitious but achievable objective, and we see this confident view as an endorsement of near-term trends.”

Aiming for $5 billion is lofty, ambitious and aggressive. But the tailwinds are in place, along with the power and scale of VF Corp. and a detailed roadmap to get there. All of which might be enough for this “off the wall” brand to meet a goal the founders likely wouldn’t—or couldn’t—have imagined in 1966.

“Vans is moving into its rightful place as the No. 3 global sport lifestyle brand by being clear about who we are and who we are not,” Palladini said. “By forsaking ubiquity and instead focusing on Vans’ brand pillars of art, music, action sports and street culture, we continue to generate deep and meaningful consumer connectivity that is growing the Vans family worldwide.”



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