One Industries to sell casual wear through action sports retailers

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One Industries is looking to join Fox Racing, Alpinestars and other brands that are popular in not only motorcycle dealerships, but mainstream apparel stores.

Taking its first step toward this goal, the company had a booth displaying its spring 2011 casual wear at Agenda, a trade show for purveyors of action sports apparel that took place Aug. 4-5 in Huntington Beach, Calif.

“This is our first foray into mainstream apparel,” One Industries sales manager Bob Ketchum told Dealernews at the show. “To this point, we’ve sold to core motorcycle shops only. This whole line will be offered to core motorcycle shops, but this is an opportunity to show to some mainstream retailers and get some feedback on the line. The opportunity is there for a lot of moto companies to bridge that gap from core moto to action sports mainstream retail. This is a way for us to test that jump.”

Not to suggest that One Industries is anything but committed to the new venture. “Going to this channel is something we’re going to do,” Ketchum asserted. “Our path to that channel hasn’t been determined.”

The company is targeting both small and large retailers and is not willing to sign an exclusive contract. “We want to deal with some core retailers and specialty retailers, not big-box,” Ketchum said.

He expects some pushback from powersports dealers but says the negative response will likely be less than that which accompanied Alpinestars’ and Fox Racing’s decisions to go mainstream. (Thor ads in trade magazines even leverage this negative perception by noting that its dealers will never have to compete with their local mall.)

Ketchum was a dealer when Fox Racing started selling action sport retailers in the ’90s. “There was a lot of pushback at that point,” he said, “but the retail environment has changed so much since then, with the Internet and the amount of companies that are selling direct via the Internet.”

The challenging economy has engendered more tolerance among dealers, Ketchum said. “Everybody’s searching for new ways to sell their product, so a lot of those pushbacks about where you’re selling and how you’re selling I won’t say have gone away, but they’ve died down a little bit.”

One Industries has sold consumer-direct on its website for nearly two years, and the sales account for 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent of overall revenue. “We’re pushing the website, but we’re not pushing the website to have to take over our dealer network,” Ketchum said. “We’re pushing the website as an alternative for people who don’t have a dealer in their area that stocks products.” He noted that not even every major online retailer offers the entire catalog.

One Industries’ strictly enforced MAP policy levels the playing field. “Whether it’s an action sports dealer or a moto dealer or our website or anybody else’s website, all our current products should be selling for the same exact price,” Ketchum said.

One Industries drop-ships only in emergencies. “We’re trying to generate dealers that stock and sell product,” Ketchum explained. “We’re trying to create stockists. Drop-shipping really becomes a way to circumvent the dealer, and that’s not what we’re trying to do.”

Mainstream retailers stocking One apparel means more competition, but Ketchum also pointed out benefits. “The pushback is that nobody wants to have to compete to sell the same product,” he said. “But if that was the deal, then Ralphs and Vons couldn’t carry milk. One would carry milk; the other would carry orange juice. But the reality is that the core products in moto — T-shirts, hats, fleece — are available everywhere, every day.” This widespread appeal of some motorcycle brands is good PR for the industry, he said. “It helps create consumer demand. It helps create awareness of our sport and motorcycling in general.”

After the One brand takes off in the more general market, Ketchum added, dealers can expect a burgeoning of product. “Selling to different markets gives us the opportunities to open up the selection for the core moto account,” he said. “We’ll be able to make pieces that we couldn’t make before because we couldn’t make minimums. So rather than just narrowing and narrowing the product offering, this will allow us to expand and expand and to actually grow when the market might be shrinking.”

Economy drops? Stock up on casual wear
Again, One Industries’ entire collection of casual wear will be offered to both powersports dealers and actions sports retailers. “There’s not going to be a selection between this channel or that channel,” Ketchum said.

Dealers may be surprised to learn that One’s No. 1 sales category is casual wear. Consider this: One began making graphics 13 years ago, helmets six years ago, and gear two years ago. “But casual apparel has far surpassed all those,” Ketchum said. “If you look at the market for over the past 18 months, helmet sales have probably slowed down, gear sales have slowed, new motorcycle sales have slowed down graphic sales, but everyone still needs T-shirts, hats and fleece because that’s what they live in.”

This is why, Ketchum reasoned, many dealers should expand their casual selection. “If you’ve got an opportunity to take a hundred dollars from the guy who’s in your store, do that rather than sending him to the mall stores.”

Presented below are a few more items from One’s 2011 collection. Already shown above are the Highway to Hell T-shirts that are 100 percent cotton and will come in sizes S-2XL and retail for $20. The items of the hat-belt-wallet set will be sold separately: the Courtside hat ($22), Cut Em Off wallet ($24) and Reprise belt ($24). Our camera's flash did a nasty job on the wallet. It looks much better than shown.

Note that most of the items are, as Ketchum described them, “very simple, very core-moto-logo-driven. We’re not wavering from who we are or what our brand message is. We’re never going to waver from the fact that we’re a motocross company. We’re not trying to be One Industry Surfing. We’re looking to capitalize on the crossover power right now of motorcycling.”

As “crossover” denotes, One has borrowed and continues to borrow from action sports and other cultural areas. “Our design department has guys who surf, skate, guys who play in bands, guys who are DJs,” Ketchum said. “One has always been about taking outside industry influences and bringing them into moto.”

Because the apparel is such an amalgamation, Ketchum said, it’s only natural that the brand is seeking a broader retailer network. What the design team has brought into moto, he said, should be taken right back outside of moto.

Johnson Valley woven shirt ($45).

Stark polyester windbreaker with a mesh liner, a hidden zip hood, front zip pockets. Will come in sizes S-2XL and retail for $72. Also comes in green.

Expo zip hooded fleece that's 80 percent cotton, 20 percent polyester. Will come in sizes S-2XL and retail for $54.

Punked zip hooded fleece retails for $56.

Fleming (left, $28) and Colin ($24) hats. The former is an Z-fit Flex Fit hat. The latter is a J-fit Flex Fit hat.

The Yolandi razor tank ($26, also to be available in black and white), the Raincheck jacket ($60) and the McFly denim short ($42).