Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Closer Look At The Strategy For Lost Girls

As reported on June 26th, 2008

As I was reporting my juniors series this week, a few retailers mentioned Lost Girls sold through well this season. That mirrors what Lost International CEO Joel Cooper told me about juniors being a big bright spot for the company this year.

I decided to follow up and find out a little more about the line. Lost Girls has been around for a few years, but Lost Girls swim launched this spring. I asked Lost Clothing President Tim Garrett and Lost Girls National Sales Manager Lindsay Henkels some questions about the brand.

Why did Lost start Lost Girls?
Tim Garrett: It was natural for Lost to go into the juniors business as there is a distinct Lost Girl out there that does not want to be the classic beach girl covered in hibiscus flowers. Our girl is edgier and she wants to separate herself from the crowd.

Lost Girls was started about five years ago when the juniors market was really exploding within action sports, but it did take us awhile to truly find our balance between our girl and the hard-edge graphics for men. We built a great design and sales team that truly understand this girl and also understand business challenges today.

In 2008, we added swim to the division which helped us complete the collection and the Lost story for our retailer.

How is it helping the company this year?
TG: It’s helping on two fronts - sales and image. We have had a phenomenal first half of 2008 - we are up close to 30% as a brand during challenging times. The men’s business is definitely up, but we are seeing amazing growth coming from the juniors side. We have seen the juniors business move from 17% of our sales in 2006 to 24% last year and it is now tracking at close to 30%, which is a healthy balance.

The fact that we took longer to truly get our juniors business going has worked in our favor as the demand for unique and fresh juniors looks really has grown this year. I now believe Lost is a complete action sports brand. Growing from our core roots in surfboards, we now have a strong men’s and juniors apparel business.

What market is Lost Girls targeting?
TG: At the end of the day it’s an attitude that we are targeting not a demographic. We are firmly based in the action sports world, and we attract the girl who has more of an edge within that world as we do on the guys side. A balance between beach and street fashion as well as unique graphics are important to her.

Is the company expanding Lost Girls for Spring 2009 - i.e., more SKUs, categories?
TG: The short answer is yes, as the demand grows the size of the line has grown and it will continue to grow. We are still very focused and are capitalizing on our strengths in dresses, tees and now swim. We are also seeing strong growth in accessories as well.

Is there any interesting selling patterns with Lost Girls in stores - hot categories, looks, pieces?
Lindsay Henkels: Sweaters, dresses, and T-shirts have been the key categories in Fall at retail right now for Lost. We have seen some traction starting in skirts and our denim still continues to blow out.

What distribution channels is Lost Girls in?
LH: Core action sports, majors, specialty and boutiques.

Have more retailers picked up the line for fall?
LH: We seen additional new doors added but the significant increase has been in the current doors we are in.

How would you describe the look of Lost Girls?
LH: A girl that is eclectic and a bit of a tom boy that likes to take the basic pieces in her wardrobe and mix with fashion pieces for her own unique style. She is definitely influenced from the Punk and Indie music scene. She has a confidence about her and a “don’t care” attitude in what she does or what she wears. We like to say she is definitely not the role model girl.

What are the key pieces for fall?
LH: Chiba Dress, Jetty Skirt, Record Breaker Tank, Faux Leather Jacket Bomber, Good Day Bad Day Hoodie, etc.

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