The women’s market is arguably more important than ever at the moment. But for some brands, it is still a space that is unprecedented – a territory that hasn’t until recent years been a part of an extensively male-driven strategy and story.
For Electric, a company that tapped into the women’s space not too long ago, the company is refining its strategy based on learnings from key retailers and consumer behavior, with support from a talented and growing team of women leaders including Electric Co-Owner and Women's Brand Manager Abbie Crane and VP of Marketing Megan Brunner.
Part of that new strategy has included breaking its women’s 2019 offering out into two specific and defined categories: Fashion, and newly-introduced Sport, which as the name suggests caters to an active lifestyle audience.
To get a better understanding of what this means, and how Electric sees it shaping next season’s collections, we talked with Brunner and Crane.
This season, Electric Women’s has chosen to segment their female-specific collection into two categories – fashion and now sport, Tell us a little about the mindset behind this decision?
MB: When we looked at our channels of distribution and the way that consumers shop, we wanted to remove any barriers to engage and questions about "how?" or "where?" to use our sunglasses. It made sense to clearly define the distinction to our end consumers (and retailers) on the best uses for our sunglasses. And for us, that meant segmenting them into two easy-to-understand categories: Fashion and Sport.
AC: In addition, not all styles are suited for all points of distribution. We use these segments as talking points to better help our retailers select the best mix for their store.
The sport collection is geared toward an active female and as such you are speaking to the endemic retailers that already carry Electric and think of it more as a men’s brand. How are you conveying this message and telling this story to your loyal audience and also spreading the word beyond that audience to women who may be just discovering Electric?
AC:Now that we have expanded our (sport) offering on the women's side it is helpful for us to communicate the construction of the pieces as a key selling point, in addition to offering super stylized and good-looking sunglasses that have superior sports performance features; you don't have to choose between function or style.
We have been spreading the word beyond our existing audience by collaborating with other female activewear brands and working with influencers who promote the active, wellness lifestyle.
Our latest release for the Danger Cat Pro was created in collaboration with Electric & Rose – a Venice Beach activewear brand. We also partnered with one our newer retailers, Barre 3, for a wellness event at the Brasada Ranch.
As an extension of the last question, what are some of the key marketing campaigns we’ll see from Electric Women’s around this segmented sport collection?
MB: Key campaigns will center around "Style That Performs." We're all about supporting stylish, active women and are firm believers that both of those worlds can coexist without compromise. This collection embodies the spirit of that and empowers women to go out, workout and to do it all without missing a beat. Our sport performance sunglasses carry you through your workout and into the rest of the day.
Who are some of the female influencers you are tapping to tell the story?
MB: We're lucky enough to have some great advocates for the brand. Specifically, Gwyneth Paltrow saw our Crasher (best-selling women's sunglasses) on Abbie [Crane] and had to have them. After that serendipitous meeting, Gwyneth became a fan of the brand, opened Electric up on GOOP.com and has said she is "obsessed" with our styles.
We've also recently collaborated with Venice Beach activewear brand Electric & Rose on a new style and colorway and have worked with the Salty Blonde, Earthy Andy, Imogene Caldwell, Rocamoon, Hilary Rhoda, LivingWithLandyn, among others.
I noticed a lot of the frames are named after locations back East (Montauk, Hamptons, Nashville) – was this intentional to target a women’s audience who is familiar with these locations? Or where did the inspiration come from around that?
MB: The city locations and the natural elements, history and energy found in those settings informed design decisions for those styles. We were also inspired by the sensibilities of the type of people who frequent those places.
Some of the frames from the fashion collection are also mirrored in the sport category. What sets the two collections apart and specifically what are some of the technical/performance features in the sport collection that make them geared toward active lifestyle?
MB: On the sport side, the styles feature some or all of the of the following: non-slip nose pads, frameless vision, performance-coated (anti-reflection, hydrophobic, oleophobic) and polarized lenses, dual-action hinges, featherweight Grilamid construction, and performance grip temple tips.
All sunglasses on the sport and fashion side feature something that sets them apart from most eyewear brands; synthetic melanin. Electric's melanin-infused lenses block 98% HEV blue light, provide crisp vision and a heightened level of protection for your eyes and the sensitive skin around them. It's like sunscreen for your eyes.
Electric chose to show only the women’s collection at Surf Expo this time around – explain the thought process behind this move, and what message you are trying to send to endemic East Coast retailers and buyers who were in attendance?
MB: We've been going to Surf Expo for nearly 20 years and always showing up as a men's only brand. In 2018/19 we have a new range of women's styles and collections for women's (it's our most comprehensive in the history of our brand) plus we have the commitment and team on the sales and marketing side to push the message through.
By coming to Surf Expo with only women's, we wanted to put the spotlight on the women's product only and with no distractions. The reception at the show was better than we could've imagined! There was quite a buzz, the booth experience was great, retailers and reps alike were excited about the injection of newness, along with the merchandising programs to support the sell in and sell through.
More TransWorld Business Content