ninth ai{i{ual canadian retai ler survey

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ninth ai{i{ual canadian retai ler survey
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UPSCALE-
AcEoNSponrscLEAN
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UPFORANEWDEMOGRAPHIC
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tIFE AFTER
RETAIL
HOWTOGETAJOBIN
THEINDUSTRY
LERSURVEY
RETAI
CANADIAN
NINTHAI{I{UAL
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CHOICEAWARDS
PLUS:INBUSTRYNEWS BRANDPROFILES' SBCEDITOR,S
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b U S i n e S S /P R o F T L E /6 8 6
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THEDREAM
by NatalieLangmann
"THEACELINEIS
CONSTANTTY
EVOIVING.
FUTURISTICATTY,
ANYTHINGANDANY FORM
OFMEDIAIS POSSIBLE.''
W HYNO TDOSO M ETHI NG
THATYO U' RE
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TOWORKAND THEN PLAY?
CAN'TYOUDOBOTHATTHE
SAM ETI M E?
Thesearewordsspoken
by686ctothinginnovator
M i c h a e tA k i r a W est,wh o a t o n e tim e b a [a n ce d
h i s a d d i c t i v et e n de n cie so f ska te b o a r d in ga n d
s n o w b o a r d i n gw hi[e p u r su in ga n e n tr e p r e n e u r s h i p a t t h e U n i v e r sityo f So u th e r n Ca lifo r n ia .
6 8 6 b e g a na s W est' sco lle g e p r o je ci. F r o m
t h e r e , t h e B - g r a d e d h o m e wo r k p r o g r e sse din to
T - s h i r t s a n d d e n i m je a n s so ld o u t o f h is d o r m
r o o m . l t w a s n ' t u n tit 1 9 9 3th a t h is f ir st b r e a th a b [ e j a c k e t sw e r e m a n u fa ctu r e d .6 8 6 wo u td
c o n t i n u et o s p a n th e n e xt d e ca d em o d e r n izin g
t h e s n o w b o a r dma r ke t with o a te n te da cce sso r i e s , t r a d e m a r k e dfe a tu r e s a n d a r tist- in ftu e n c e do u t e r w e a r .
W e s t t i f e ,6 8 6 ' s p a r e n t co m p a n y,str ive s
t o s t a y a b o v et h e tr e n d s o f th e e ve r - e vo [vi n g s n o w b o a r dw o r td b y g ivin gth e co n su m e r a
" m o r e t h a n e x p e cte d "p r o d u ct.
By u tiL izin gth e
e [ e m e n t so f s m a [[ in n o va tio n s,su r p r ise s, a n d
h i g h - q u a t i t yc l o t hin g ,it g ive s p u r ch a se r sso m e t h i n g t h e y c a n b e e m o tio n a ttya tta ch e dto a n d
k e e p st h e m c o m i n g b a ck fo r m o r e . We stlife
m a i n t a i n sf u n c t i o n a Iitya n d in d ivid u a tityb y
i n t r o d u c i n gn e w p r o d u cts e a ch se a so n in th e
T i m e s , S m a r t y , A CE, M a n n u a t,Ga p e ra n d ARD
[ i n e s .T h i s s e a s onWe sttifecr o sse d o ve r th e 6 8 6
c o r e r o o t s b y a t s o d e ve to p in ga [[- ye a rfa sh io n a b [ e s p o r t s w e a r w ith a n o u td o o r - a ctivesta te
o f m i n d . B y t o o k i n go u tsid eth e o ffice a n d n o t
a t w h a t i s h o t r i g h t n o w, 6 8 6 g ive sth e m a r ke t
s o m e t h i n gu n i q u e .
6 8 6 d i v e r s i f i e sits p r a ctica [- ye t- fa sh io n a b [e
n i c h e b y c o [ [ a b o r a tin gwith o th e r in d u str y le a d e r s t o p r o d u c et h e tim ite d - e d itio nT im e s [in e .
"The Ti mes [i ne concepti s enti re[y new to
o u r i ndustry,"proctai msWest. "l t breaks dow n
a [[ the rul es of w hat you can't do."
Wi th mutuaI respect,H e[LoK i tty and D ragon
a r e the i ni ti aIco-partners.The w oman's D ow n
wit h K i tty j acket i nctudesa cosmeti cbag and a
cu stom w a[[et for the pants.The men's D Xj acke t offers 10,000-mi tti metrew aterproofi ng w i th
a custom D ragon gogg[epocketand a refl ective l ens pocket reptacementi n the pants.The
su ccessof amatgamati onhas the Ti mes [i ne
h e adi ngi nto i ts secondseasonw i th i ts l atest
o a rtners, D a K i ne and V esta-.
B ei ngthat 686 w as ori gi nattyan L.A .-based
co mpany,i t has grow n by co-exi sti ngw i thi n
u r ban and arti sti c surroundi ngs.From those
in spi rati ons,the A rti st C o[[aborati onE ffort
[in e took shape.A C E i s 686'suni quew ay of subm ersi ng snow boardersi nto the progressi onof
a r t and gi vi ngarti sts a w i de-reachi ngcanvasto
sh ow casethei r ow n vi si ons.A C E has evol vedto
in ctudephotographers,musi ci ans,graphi c and
wa tercol our arti sts. Insteadof the desi gn i nsi de
o f t he j acket, i t has been extendedto the outside,and to pants as w et[.
"The A C E concepti s part of our D N A ,"
e xp[ai nsWest. "l t grew i nto our other passi ons
o f apparel and snow boardi ng.The A C E ti ne i s
co nstant[yevotvi ng.Futuri sti catl y,anythi ngand
a n y form of medi a i s possi b[e."
Westti fe'steam i gnorestrends as much as
o n e w outd thi nk i t shouLd.Wi thout fear of taki ng
th e chanceto be the fi rst, i t has createdsuch
ite ms as the patentedTootbett,featuri ng an
a d j ustab[ebuckLethat convertsto skate/snow
to ol s and even a bottl e opener.The S marty [i ne
is the bi g se[[er,offeri ng removab[efteeceor
p o [y l oungew ear. A fresh di recti oncan be found
o n the 2005-06S marty Troopj acket. 686 ti ked
th e l ook of the cl assy,dua[-col ouredpi nstri pe
b u t w anted to add a Li tttemore to i t. The new
tr
fabri c i s bombproof,i ncl ud esthe ti metes s l ook
of a pi nstri pe,and has textu red ri dges to gi v e
i t a much better feel than a ptai n-w eav e,dua[co[ouredoi nstri oe.
The enti re w omen's coll ec ti onhas been
ramped up w i th a dedi cate dfemate des i gnteam
w ho ri de as much as possi b[e.
West reftects back to a f ew y ears ago w hen
they had onty tw o femateson s taff: "Thank futty ,
i t's pretty much even now that w e found a ta[ented gi r[ named Lei [aw ho w ork s c tos etyw i th
at[ the other gi rts i n the offi c e and our femate
ri ders. They make sure tha t fi t, s ty l e, and the
overa[[Looki s j ust w hat w o men w outd w ant on
the hi tt. Thi s reattymakes a di fferenc ew hen
you havea true connecti on ."
Look for the A C EWi ndsorj ac k et featuri ng
arti st P ete C amobe[[and the w omen' s new
Ti mes cotl aborati onw i th Da K i ne and V es ta[.
C anadai s a huge part of W es tl i fe' smark et.
When 686 f i rst enteredthe mark et nearl y 10
years ago, peoptethought i t w as a C anadi an
company.P erhapsthe pres umpti onc ame from
the w ay i t operated-everythi ng 686 di d w as
C anadi an,from a[[ si des of C anadi anreps ,
w arehousi ng,currency,[anguage,mark eti ng
and sal es. The S marty [i ne has the l eadi ng
satesw i thi n C anada,w hi te t he A C E i s doi ng
j ust as w e[[. The bi g push fo r nex t s eas on i s the
Ti mes [i ne w i th D a K i ne and V es ta[.
"We'tt be supporti ngthi s program w i th
addi ti onaImarketi ng broke n dow n i nto trade
and publ i c secti ons,w hi ch inc l udeadv erti s i ng,
i n-store merchandi si ng,parti es , c ontes tsand
a few others," reveatsWest .
''For the past 14years w e' v e
been bl es s ed
to have a great group of peopte-from our rep
force, retai I partners, ri ders to i ndus try
supporters,"says West. W herev erw e go i n
the future, snow boardi ngwi [[ atw ay sbe at
our roots."