Oakley Inc. has announced plans to augment and diversify its line of women’s apparel. The initiative calls for expansion of the current product line, plus a focused drive to enter new sales markets within the category.
Among the company’s comprehensive array of product offerings, the women’s apparel line accounted for approximately 12% of total global apparel sales in 2002 and is considered by the company a key area for future growth.
“Our women’s apparel line continues to evolve. Where we were once focused primarily on technical outerwear, we have now added a comprehensive lifestyle component,” said Oakley’s newly appointed Domestic Sales Manager of Women’s Apparel, Jenny Earnshaw.
Brought onboard to oversee the development of women’s sales, Earnshaw has eight years experience in the women’s market, most recently with Copia and Burton. “Oakley has an excellent selection of core sports accounts for our technical outerwear,” Earnshaw commented, “in addition to these accounts, we will be taking our latest lifestyle product offering to suitable retail partners including select department stores.”
Women’s apparel presents a tremendous opportunity for growth. Although it has offered women’s products for some time, Oakley is primarily viewed as a men’s performance brand, having worked for decades to build a reputation on inventions that enhance performance for professional athletes.
“In the beginning, what we designed was less about distribution and consumer type, and more about combining science and technology to create superior products. Moving forward were continuing to press the technical envelope, but with women’s products targeted towards who we believe to be our core female customer,” said Oakley President Colin Baden.
“Oakley’s female customer base is more active than the average consumer and market research describes her as a force to be reckoned with, an alpha female with fierce independence and the desire to maintain individuality,” commented Nancy Coons, program manager of apparel.
“The Oakley woman is inspired by pro athletes such as snowboarders Dorian Vidal and Gretchen Bleiler, skier Kristi Leskenen, mountain biker Anne-Caroline Chausson, golfer Jennifer Rosales and surfer Kira Sheppard. This consumer is an active sports enthusiast but her style reflects functional fashion and sophistication.
“Based on information compiled from warranty registration cards submitted by women that have made Oakley purchases, 25% play golf, 23% ski, 20% mountain bike, 11% snowboard and 5% surf. This is our target audience and we are designing products accordingly. For fall of 2003, were putting together the components necessary to complete a sophisticated women’s wardrobe from head-to-toe for activities ranging from athletics to casual lifestyle,” Coons concluded.
In addition to women’s apparel, Oakley designs and produces footwear, sunglasses, prescription eyewear, wristwatches and other products that are engineered to maximize performance and comfort for female anatomy.