By Tiffany Montgomery | Originally Published November 11, 2021
Brian Cook gives us an update on how ThirtyTwo has evolved its snowboard boot line this year, the fluid shipping situation given the supply chain challenges and the kind of order growth the brand saw after last season.
Snowboard brand ThirtyTwo has a lot to be excited about this season. The brand is introducing three new after-ride boots for the first time. They’ve narrowed and focused the snowboard boot line overall, and gone deeper in more important styles. And they are launching a new women’s offering for splitboarding.
Now, ThirtyTwo just needs the supply chain to cooperate so it can get more boots and outerwear off boats and off trucks and into its warehouse to ship to retailers.
Brian Cook, Global Brand Director for both ThirtyTwo and etnies at Sole Technology, said the situation remains fluid. Some boots have shipped to retailers who wanted what ThirtyTwo had in stock. But because of shipping costs, other retailers want boots and outerwear to ship together, and the company is still waiting on outerwear.
The good news is container deliveries are happening daily now. The company received two boot containers yesterday and more outerwear is coming by the end of the week, Brian said.
“This week and next week we should be shipping a ton of gear,” he said. “I’m confident more product will get here in time for the busiest part of the snow selling season. The good thing is we’re not alone – every brand is dealing with it.”
Consumers are definitely ready to buy, Brian said. Every day, the ThirtyTwo social media accounts are receiving direct messages from customers wondering when certain products or sizes are coming in.
“People know they should buy early and they want to snowboard and support the brands they love, which is great,” he said. “As long as we get the product and we continue to see strong demand, I think retailers are going to sell everything and be fine.”
However, Brian believes the supply chain challenges will continue in general for the foreseeable future. The day we talked, he was hearing from his teams about COVID shutdowns happening again at factories in China.
“It’s just the nature of the beast these days,” Brian said. “I don’t think there will be a typical season again. I think this is our new future.”
Last year during the height of COVID, ThirtyTwo designed this season’s line and decided to tighten it up a bit. Before, because the brand likes making product, they wanted to have lots of options for everybody.
This season, they opted to be more efficient and cut out SKUs that weren’t making money.
“We still offer a lot but just narrowed the options,” Brian said. “We really picked the spots we were going to go after instead of taking a shotgun blast approach. For example, we pulled away from some lower end BOA boots we didn’t make a ton on to focus on product that makes us money.”
As for many in the snow industry, last season turned out to be a blockbuster for ThirtyTwo. That led to this season’s orders being up 10% to 20% domestically and in the Pacific Rim. Europe remained subdued of course because of the resort closures last year.
“Europe orders came in flat which we are actually really happy about,” Brian said.
Even with so much demand, ThirtyTwo only made enough product to fill orders. There will not be extra inventory to chase with, Brian said.
“It’s not the early 2000s anymore,” he said. “We don’t need a ton of (seasonal) product all over the place.”
With the company’s less seasonal skate shoes, which are also seeing a big sales surge, Sole Technology buys extra far ahead and takes more risk on inventory. They buy blind on key styles they plan to heavily market before orders come in from retailers.
The skate shoe brand is seeing 20% to 25% increases domestically and in the 30% range in Europe.
“Making that investment in inventory has really worked for etnies,” Brian said.
SIA is the trade association of the winter outdoor industry. Through SIA membership, brands, destinations, retailers, service providers and nonprofits solve immediate business problems, adapt to changing pressures, save and grow. #TheBusinessofWinter.