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Questions Answered by General Manager Kris French.
What are the three biggest trends you see shaping the market and what you are doing to meet them?
Sophistication in fabric is a trend we are addressing for 2013; specifically fabrics that fuse a fashion streetwear aesthetic with high performance technology. Surface interest and subtle textures are key elements across our program. Powder Room™ offers a range of fabrics from heavy brushed wool-like to washed out distressed textures.
Performance technology and innovation continue to evolve as riders demand more from their outerwear. For 2013/14, Powder Room™ has partnered with Outlast® to incorporate a leading edge Temperature Regulating System into our Trilogy™ program. We will also continue to offer five levels of waterproof/breathability across the line, YKK® waterproof zips and use partner insulation technologies like Thermolite®, Primaloft® and Zentra®. Loading in performance features and providing a quality build at an affordable price relative to other brands is something we consistently strive to deliver.
- Earth Friendly approach & Heritage
Considering an earth friendly approach and celebrating brand heritage are areas we see influencing the market. Powder Room™ will continue to build upon on our "Enjoy the Ride. Respect the Earth" strategy by incorporating recycled fabrics and earth friendly insulation like Primaloft® ECO and Zentra®. We also see a trend towards embracing heritage. Powder Room™ is a Canadian designed brand and we'll celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2013. As a Canadian brand we take great pride in designing product lines that reflect the natural spirit of the country. Our 2013 program takes inspiration from our Canadian heritage.
How has the market evolved over the last year and how do you see things changing in the years ahead?
Product sophistication, trends, technology and innovation continue to influence the market. With last year's winter (or lack of winter), increased versatility will be paramount. Brands will need to combine a relentless focus on style trends, consumer demand for performance innovation, a strong value added proposition in all styles and versatile product able to meet performance demands in all weather conditions.
Has sales forecasting changed for your company? If so, how has it changed?
Longer lead times with factories and marketplace conditions influence our sales forecasting process. Focusing on retailer sell through, inventory levels, historical data and working earlier to get feedback on direction for the upcoming season enable us to identify trends and build forecasts for futures orders.
What lessons have you learned with bookings for this season and how will you apply those to next?
The tough winter we endured last year has forced us to sharpen our focus and evaluate all aspects of our business. We expect our retail partners will continue to seek out meaningful brands that help them deliver profitable results and innovative, value added product solutions for consumers. This drives our brand to deliver a solid program, at the right time and price.
Have you changed your production or distribution models at all from last season? If so, why and how have you changed them?
Longer lead times are influencing our development and production timelines. We will continue to adapt and refine our approach to ensure we are able to research, implement new technology, meet line review timing and customer delivery requirements. Powder Room™'s distribution model for the past 20 years has focused on building strong partnerships with retailers looking to offer a combination of quality, performance and value added product features. In 2013, we will offer a Limited Edition Anniversary Jacket that will have selected distribution.
How are you working with retailers to help ensure strong margins, the right amount of product in the marketplace, and terms that set them up for success?
Delivering quality product on time, carefully managing our inventories, minimizing closeouts and supporting the right amount of product in the marketplace are key levers to ensuring strong margins for our partners. Powder Room™ is focused on being a supportive partner, offering fair terms and helping our dealers to create recommended assortments to drive successful results.
What fabrics, colors, fits, and technologies are you focusing on for next season?
Fabric is huge focus and trend for us in 2013. Taking inspiration from our Canadian heritage, Powder Room™ will feature a range of sophisticated performance fabrics with everything from rugged raw textures to soft finish treatments. Hand feel is so important across our program; whether it is a distressed waxy finish or a brushed peached finish, the look is all about subtle texture. Prints are replaced with subtle subdued patterns, over-sized tartans, and vintage blanket stripes. Patterns in colour combinations of classic tones mixed with dynamic accent colours bring new life to plaids. Natural neutrals of olive, fossil, camel, and copper are mixed with jewel tone brights for a new twist on neutrals.
With intense Rider input Powder Room™ re-worked all jacket and pant fits for 2013. Jackets are more tailored and longer in length for increased comfort and a ride able fit. Pants have been slimed down and tapered for a more modern fit. Our roster of technologies will expand with the addition of Outlast®, a Temperature Regulating System we've incorporated into our 20 000mm Trilogy™ program. Powder Room™ technology also includes the use of Thermolite® Active insulation, Primaloft® ECO insulation, and Zentra® by DuPont insulation.
What are price points doing?
In the face of increasing input costs, we are working hard to maintain the key price points our partners have come to expect from Powder Room™. We'll continue to offer a wide variety of price points across the program in product that is loaded with value added performance features and priced right for the market.
Are you taking any steps to minimize your environmental impact? If so, what are some of these steps?
We continue to consider and challenge ourselves to minimize our impact on the environment. Our Global program combines outershells that use recycled fabrics, low impact production methods, 15,000 mm waterproofing and incorporates Zentra® insulation made from polymers found naturally in corn for an unbeatable combination of sustainability and performance. We've also developed a new collection for 2013 that will feature Primaloft® ECO insulation and our X5™ program will continue to use Primaloft® ECO for insulation with an earth friendly approach. We're also looking at ways to reduce our impact in production of catalogs by using recycled content.
What are you doing to promote the growth of snowboarding and the next generation of riders (making kids gear, offering educational programs, etc.)?
Powder Room™ and Ripzone™ are sponsors of Canada's Grade 4 & 5 Snow Pass program. This program provides an opportunity for school age kids to try snowboarding. It promotes getting kids active, provides positive early experiences in the sport and helps to create a future generation of snowboarders. From a product side, we continue to extend our program across youth and toddler sizing for the next generation of riders. We're also dialing up our grassroots involvement. We've signed on as sponsors for Camp of Champions and have added Brand Support Reps to our squad to build deeper, authentic connections in the community.
What's in your crystal ball for 2013/2014?
We've traded in our 2011 model for a crystal ball with some snowflakes. Our lineup will feature fresh design and fabrics, innovation and quality features. We're poised to deliver a compelling story to our retailers and consumers and looking forward to a successful season for our partners, our brand and the industry.
What do you hope to contribute to snowboarding?
Support the sport, inspire and bring new riders into our community and provide consumers with a quality, innovative, performance loaded Canadian designed program to enhance their on hill experience.