Retail Wednesdays: Salty Crew founders on why they gave back to core retail on Black Friday

CJ Hobgood and Jared Lane on driving Black Friday shoppers to local retailers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our Retail Wednesdays series talks to a different specialty retailer or brand each week, in an effort to spotlight success stories and gain insight from businesses that are continuing to grow in the face of a challenging economy. This story is powered by our friends at Building The Revolution.

Salty Crew has always been vocal about supporting specialty retailers. The brand is rooted in the surf and fishing culture, and two of its founders got their start at their own retail shops.

So it wasn’t surprising to hear about Salty Crew’s latest Black Friday promotion, that took the opposite route of most direct-to-consumer brands in the space. Instead of touting deep discounts to drive sales, the brand instead offered up a free skate deck to anyone who spent $100 or more at any of their U.S. specialty brick and mortar retail partners.

We caught up with Salty’s Brand Manager Jared Lane and Deckhand Ambassador CJ Hobgood to understand the thought process behind this strategy.

Tell us about the promotion and what inspired it?

JL: The inspiration comes from a genuine passion for a shop that you can walk in to, smell the wax and put a few freshies under your arm.

Have you got any initial sales reports from retail partners on how much reception the promotion got over the weekend? Have customers emailed in many receipts?

JL: The response was great. We're going to be shipping a bunch of Rocks N Docks decks this week. Still waiting for the full story from retailers on how it impacted their business. The retailers were really stoked! A lot of kind words came our way in the days after the initial push. The highlight for us was the feedback from the end consumer in support of brick and mortar retail.

What other concepts is Salty Crew working with to drive consumers into local shops besides this one?

JL: In September, we introduced the Rocks N Docks Fish-off. This is an Instagram-driven fishing contest. To participate one would need to go to their local Salty Crew dealer and pick up the R&D ruler sticker. The sticker was required to be in the post to enter to win. We sent these stickers to all the shops and quickly they were running out. We wanted the event to some how support our retailers, so sending the event participants to the stores was a must.

You opened the Goods Surf and Skate back in the day with your brother but sadly had to close its doors. How has being a former surf shop owner, along with Milo owning Hanger 94, and Jared being part of Fastlane helped shape Salty Crew’s stance on supporting surf shops and tackle shops?

CJ: The crew can truly relate to the retailers, and still believe that's a huge part of the experience -- going into a surf and tackle shop and talking story, all your senses are at work and that's the foundation for sure.

We just hope we can continue to be a light in that area and keep the vibe alive. We want to always encourage all the conversations in the shops that are centered around the ocean.

Any closing thoughts on supporting independent retailers?

CJ: Thanks for supporting us, too.

More from TransWorld Business

Agenda’s Aaron Levant on the future trade show model

HUF reissues limited Dylan Rieder shoe

Support industry veteran Gerhard Gross