Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bob Meistrell Turns 80 and Dives 100+ Feet

Body Glove co-founder, Bob Meistrell turned 80 today. To celebrate his birthday he did a dive down to 100+ feet on old 60's dive gear!!!!! Simply amazing. He had Jocko and Scott Smith close by in case of any emergencies, but he didn't need any of them. He did a perfect dive and had a smile on his face the rest of the day. The Daily Breeze will have a story on Bob and his big birthday day tomorrow and the Easy Reader should have something out very shortly. There should have been more underwater photos, but I was busy being rescued by Greg Browning down at 100+ feet with gear trouble. Way to go Bob!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunglass Brands Discuss Latest Lines

As Reported on Transworld Surf Biz: July 24th, 2008

See what Scott Daley (VP of BG Marketing) has to say about Body Glove Sunglasses.

Body Glove and The Stanley Cup

Saw this on Mike Babcock is the head coach for the Detroit Red Wings who recently won the Stanley Cup this year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Perry Ellis Int. Signs New Licensing Agreement for Gotcha Apparel in Europe

As reported on Transworld Surf Biz: July 23, 2008

Perry Ellis International PERY announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with TV Mania GMBH and Must International Trading, PTE, Ltd. to design, manufacture and distribute casual, snow and surf apparel for men, women, and children under the Gotcha® brand.

George Feldenkreis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Perry Ellis International, said: “We are very excited about this agreement with TV Mania and Must International Trading. Their knowledge of both the European market and the surf lifestyle make them the ideal partner to re-launch Gotcha in Europe. We look forward to an outstanding partnership.”

The line will be available throughout the European Union, as well as in Switzerland, Turkey and Norway. The product will be sold at various European department stores and specialized apparel chains, beginning with the Spring ’09 collection.

“In light of the recent changes we have made in our European operations, and after carefully considering our options, we have decided to proceed with this agreement, as it strengthens the Gotcha brand, while maximizing our financial prospects,” Mr. Feldenkreis concluded.

Mike Losness Artshow

Team rider Mike Losness is having a artshow this weekend.

Shelter Strives for Creative over Commercial

As reported on July 22, 2008

There’s lots of debate these days about the survival of core shops and how they can compete with larger chains that carry the same brands. At the Board Retailers Association Summit in Puerto Rico, panelists discussed ideas for differentiation and reinventing the surf shop model.

With that backdrop in mind, I decided to stop by a new shop in Long Beach called Shelter after Jade Howe sent an email telling me I should check it out. The store is new and it remains to be seen if it will become financially successful. But, Shelter is trying something different so I thought it was worth sharing what I learned.

Graham Day and his wife, Kim, say they wanted to operate a store that is the antithesis of the modern surf shop. Graham says going into the typical surf shop today nearly gives him an anxiety attack. The relentless POP marketing and big brand competition for shelf space is a major turnoff, he said.

So when Graham decided to leave the music industry after 13 years working on the business side, he and Kim chose to open a surf shop that harkened back to his days growing up surfing in the South Bay. Then, surfing was about the love of the ocean more than competition and commercialization, he said.

The Days (pictured here with their son, River, 2) opened Shelter Surf Shop on Fourth Street - a destination for independent, funky stores - four months ago after operating a shop and online operation for a year out of a warehouse in Signal Hill. That space was a crash test to see if the concept could work in a hard-to-find space far off the ocean.

“We were selling enough to pay the bills,” Graham said.

Now, Shelter gets a lot of foot traffic as well as people who have heard of the store driving from Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles.

The store has a warm and natural look. The Days built the fixtures themselves, and broke through the plaster on the ceiling to expose the wood beams.

“We wanted a nice, warm inviting space that felt like the beach before the beach became a mall,” Graham said.

The philosophy behind the store is to carry apparel brands, art and surfboards that can’t be found everywhere else and have a limited edition vibe. They carry organic and sustainable merchandise as much as possible.

“Quality is the gimmick here,” Graham said.

Apparel brands in Shelter include HippyTree, Yellow Rat, Livity, Ando & Friends, Gonz and private label Shelter T-shirts designed by artist friends.

The Days sell two brands of wetsuits: custom fit from the Japanese label Axxe and off-the-rack styles from the UK brand Nineplus.

Surfboards are handshaped by Terry Martin at Hobie, Josh Hall, Mike Hynson, Greg Liddle, Jeff Beck and others.

The Days don’t advertise, but rely on word-of-mouth, grass roots marketing. Both Kim and Graham blog frequently on the store’s website and post on message boards. They have monthly parties that draw 300 or so people.

This month’s party on July 26, for example, includes a free screening in the parking lot of George Greenough’s film “The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun” with live bands providing music for the soundtrack.

So far, the store isn’t making large profits but Graham says they’ve only been in business a year and half and they have realistic expectations. He does believe the model can work, plus he has some other business ideas for the store he didn’t want to reveal.

Some of the big brands have expressed interest in being carried in the store, but Graham has declined.

“I say, ‘No, not right now,’ “ he said. “I’m not knocking what they’re doing, it just doesn’t fit into our philosophy.”

Volcom buys Laguna Surf & Sport

As reported on July 21, 2008

Richard Woolcott, left, has repeatedly said he wants to keep Volcom’s cash available to take advantages of opportunities that arise in the economic downturn.

An opportunity has come to fruition. Today, Volcom announced it is acquiring Laguna Surf & Sport’s two stores in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The Laguna Surf & Sport name will remain the same and the retail team will remain in place. We’ll probably learn more about the transaction when Volcom reports earnings this week.

The news comes weeks after Billabong announced it is acquiring retailer Quiet Flight.

As retailers continue to struggle in a tough economy, brands with resources that are eager to expand their retail operations will most likely buy more stores, many industry watchers believe.

Here’s the release:

Volcom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VLCM - News) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire the retail operations of Laguna Surf & Sport, a core retail partner in Southern California that operates two stores serving the Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo communities. The stores will continue to operate under the same name and experienced retail team. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Laguna Surf & Sport has been a landmark on the Southern California surf and skate scene for many years and this acquisition further demonstrates our dedication to core retail and its importance to Volcom,” said Richard Woolcott, chairman and chief executive officer of Volcom. “It’s great to now be more strongly aligned with one of our longest standing accounts and we look forward to working together even more closely in the years to come.”

“This agreement truly represents a relationship that has come full circle,” said Eric John, owner of Laguna Surf & Sport. “I have watched Volcom grow from a small operation to a leading global board sports brand and I’m excited to be more closely involved with the company. I am confident our new partnership will continue to enhance the retail experience of Laguna Surf & Sport.”

Upcoming Ad For Mundo Rad Magazine

New ad of Mike Losness in the Vapor Fullsuit to be coming out in the upcoming issue of Mundo Rad.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bob Meistrell Surfing The Cove after 40 years

The Body Glove Entertainment crew jumped on the Disappearance today with Bob Meistrell and set off for the "Cove" off of Palos Verdes.  The mission was to get film and photos of Bob Meistrell surfing the Cove where the last time he surfed there was 40 years ago.  Approaching 80 years old at the end of this month Bob got on the surfboard and paddled into the line up.  A few sets rolled through and Bob was able to paddle into a few and ride.  Scott Smith got some amazing water shots while Greg Browning filmed from the boat.  Bob had said one of the reasons he married Patti Meistrell was because she would help him carry his surfboard down the long dirt trail.  The next mission is to go diving with Bob on his birthday.  

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cool Watch Designs

Check out this site for cool watch design inspiration.

Dive Ads Pt 1

This is the newest ad created by Body Glove Wetsuit art dept that will be out in Sport Diver next month.  This photo is from the recent trip that Alex Gray, Cheyne Magnusson, Holly Beck and Greg Browning went on in Tahiti.  They were down there filming for the "Drop Zone" project that Body Glove is involved with PADI.  They got amazing photos and footage of our team riders surfing and diving in unbelievable conditions.
Scott Smith in the EX3 Free dive suit.  Shot this photo of Scott off of Palos Verdes.

BGI art department has the hi res files if you need them for ads in your region.  Please send your request to

Dive Ads Pt 2

Holly Beck Dive Ad in the EX3 Suit.  Shot this photo of Holly off of Palos Verdes.
Scott Smith in the EXO dive suit.  We shot this photo on a dive at Catalina.
Holly Beck in the EXO dive suit.  I shot this photo of Holly diving with Scott Daley and Greg Browning off of Palos Verdes.

Steve & Barry's Faces Fire Sale

As reported on Transworld Surf

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

July 10:
In the ongoing saga of the demise of Steve & Barry’s, an apparel retailer that sells Laird Hamilton’s clothing line, Wonderwall, the company said in a bankruptcy filing late Wednesday that it doesn’t have the money to stay in business and is being forced to undergo a fire sale. Lenders led by General Electric Co.’s (GE) General Electric Capital Corp., which control Steve & Barry’s access to cash, are demanding that the company be sold or hire liquidators by July 31.

“Without any cash, (Steve & Barry’s) cannot replenish their inventory, and, therefore, the value of their business is declining on a daily business,” lawyers for the company wrote in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

According to “Court documents indicate that harsh capital markets put bankruptcy financing out of reach for the privately held Port Washington, N.Y. company. Steve & Barry’s has no cash of its own that’s not subject to seizure by senior lenders owed a total of $165 million. That leaves the company with no choice but to heed lenders’ demands that it sell its assets “by no later than July 31,” court documents say.

“Due to its bankruptcy petition, Steve & Barry’s needs court permission to strike a deal with the banks that will allow it to use cash for a brief period, until Aug. 1. “Absent authorization from the court to use the cash . . . (Steve & Barry’s) will have to cease operations immediately,” lawyers wrote in documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

“According the new filings, Steve & Barry’s tried and failed to find a buyer or investor before it filed for Chapter 11 protection. Court documents say the company has not abandoned hope that a buyer will step up by a July 29 auction and offer to keep the business open as a going concern. If no prospective owner appears at the auction, however, the retailer will be picking a firm “to liquidate the inventory at all or some” of its retail stores, according to court documents. The time from Chapter 11 filing to liquidation or sale “will take approximately 30 days,” court documents say.”

Read the full story here.

June Comp Stores Sales Report Mixed

As reported on

Retailers same-store sales in June were mixed. Discount and value chains such as Wal-Mart, Target and Costco did better than expected while some higher priced stores such as Nordstrom and some mall-based stores such as Gap, Limited Brands and Wet Seal struggled.

Here’s how some retail customers of action sports brands fared. I also posted results from industry competitor Hollister.


Same-stores sales: up 3 percent driven in part by increased promotions.

Total sales: up 5 percent

Weekly sales: sales were up 10 percent in week one and down 2 percent in weeks four and five.

Strong regions: Texas, Midwest

CEO Sally Frame Kasaks, above.

Weak regions: Desert Southwest, California, Florida

Apparel comps: up 17 percent, accounting for 81 percent of comp store sales

Girls apparel comps: up 30 percent, driven by Bullhead denim, tops, swim and dresses.

Guys apparel comps: up 6 percent, driven by Bullhead denim, shorts and tops

Accessories comps: down high teens

Footwear comps: down high 40s as PacSun exits the business.


Same-store sales: down 3.4 percent

Total sales: up 10.2 percent

CEO Rick Brooks, left

Strong categories: footwear and skate hardgoods

Weak categories: accessories, juniors apparel, men’s apparel, boys apparel.

Comps by week: No. 1 - down 3.1 percent; No. 2 - down 1.2 percent; No. 3 - down 5.2 percent; No. 4 - down 3.4 percent; No. 5 - down 4.4 percent.


Same-store sales: down 8 percent

Guys comps: up mid-single digits

Girls comps: down low teens

Strong regions companywide: U.S. based tourist stores, international stores, Southwest.

Weak regions: West and Midwest

Strong female categories company-wide: jeans, swim

Weak female categories: graphic T’s, knit tops

Strong male categories company-wide: knits, fragrance, shorts, jeans

Weak male categories: graphic T’s, swim.


Nordstrom said this morning that the “competitive and economic environment remains challenging.” The higher level of markdowns at Nordstrom led the upscale department store to lower profit forecasts for the current quarter.

The company said earnings per share will be at the low end or below its previous forecast of 65 to 70 cents.

June same-store sales: down 18.6 percent. A large part of the decline was from the shift of the half-yearly sale from June to May.

Quarter-to-date same-store sales: down 5.9 percent

Strong regions, May and June combined: South, Midwest, Northwest.

Weak regions: California

Strong categories, May and June: designer goods across all merchandise categories, cosmetics and accessories.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Archy-Built For Speed

Check out the trailer to Archy-Built For Speed video. There is a section where it show's a old MCD ad. I designed that ad almost 20 years ago at Mike Salisbury Communications when he had the Gotcha account. It was that account that drove me to become a designer in the surf industry and lead me to where I'm at now.

Sector9 Co-Founder Discusses Billabong Deal

The fireworks and celebration began a bit early this year over at Sector 9 after it was announced on July 2nd that Billabong had purchased the brand. Transworld Business was able to wrangle a few minutes of co-founder Steve Lake’s time after the smoke lifted momentarily to get his thoughts on the deal and what it means for Sector 9 and Gullwing.

Transworld Business:
How long has this been in the works?

Steve Lake:
We first spoke of the possibility in January of this year.

What does this mean for Sector 9?

This means we will have access to resources we never imagined possible for Sector 9. Our team will now have a much larger platform from which to grow the business both domestically and internationally.

Do you see a lot of synergies?

Billabong has the most successful multi-branded platform in our industry. They are an industry leader with an amazing global footprint and our synergies are plentiful.

Any new initiatives you have planned now that you have deeper pockets?

Not all new initiatives take deeper pockets to execute. Our merely having a mentor to help us avoid the inevitable costly mistakes in growing our business is what we look forward to most.

Do you foresee being in more doors now?

Yes, especially internationally where there remains tremendous growth opportunities for our brand.

Will you have to pull out of some of your current accounts?

We have no intentions of changing any of our retail account base. All of our accounts so far have been very supportive of this deal and they can look forward to even better products and customer service from Sector 9 in the future.
What are you most stoked on about this deal?

We are excited to be part of such a dynamic and forward thinking group. The same crew that grew Sector 9 from the backyard to this point will now be armed with the best horsepower in the industry. We’ve set some pretty lofty goals for ourselves and now we have no excuses but to reach them and we’re up for the challenge.

How will oversight/reporting with Billabong work?

I’ll let them answer this question if they want to. I will say that our crew that got us here remains intact and if history repeats itself we will operate autonomously within the group.

What can we look forward to as far as design collaborations?

Lot’s of really good stuff…

European Economy Slows, Data Shows

As the U.S. economy sputters, Europe has been the bright spot for many companies, including those in the action sports sector.

Quiksilver European revenues increased 23 percent to $284.5 million in the quarter ended April 30, with some benefit from exchange rates. Volcom’s European revenue in the quarter ended March 31 reached $25.2 million, above the $21 million plan. Billabong’s European revenue rose 19.6 percent in constant currency terms for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2007.

But recent economic data shows that a slowdown has started in several European countries.

A key measurement, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the Euro zone manufacturing sector contracted in June for the first time in three years, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Unemployment also increased for the second straight month in May in the Euro-zone.

Denmark technically slipped into a recession after gross domestic product contracted in the first quarter, the second consecutive quarter of contraction.

As reported on July 8th, 2008
Economists believe Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are most at risk of following Denmark into recession. The gross domestic product fell in Ireland and Portugal in the first quarter, and Italy just missed a second consecutive GDP contraction in the first quarter.

In the U.K., which is outside the Euro zone, the PMI fell in June to 45.8, down from 49.5 in May. A PMI reading below 50 signals a contraction in manufacturing.

The U.K. is facing falling housing prices and tightening credit conditions.

Retail data there show consumers are still spending, but appear to be switching to less-expensive food and clothing stores.

In May, U.K. retail sales rose a healthy 3.5 percent from April, the Wall Street Journal reported. Asda, a discount chain owned by Wal-Mart, reported a sales increase of 7.5 percent for the quarter ended June 15.

However, upscale British retailer Marks & Spencer, the largest clothing retailer in the U.K. which also operates high-end food stores, reported a larger than expected 5.3 percent drop in same-stores sales for the quarter ended June 28. In all stores, sales fell 0.5 percent.

Marks & Spencer CEO Stuart Rose said he expected the tough conditions to last two years

Anemic Forecasts For Back-To-School Sales Prompt Retailers To Ramp Up Campaigns

As reported on Style Sight: July 7th 2008

The critical back-to-school season is now officially underway and with the anemic expectations that retailers will post sales growth that is flat to slightly negative between July 4 and Labor Day, reported The Wall Street Journal. The downturn is a bitter one in comparison to last year’s 21% increase in sales to $65.7bn, and reflects just how severely the slowdown in the U.S. economy, inflation, rising costs of living and unemployment are hitting consumer wallets. (Photo Credit: WSJ)

Experts are predicting that essentials, such as textbooks and laptops, will slow down sales of apparel, but even within the electronics sector, there is a no clear must-have gadget. The harsh reality of what’s ahead has retailers such as Kohl’s Corp., J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. all ramping up their B-T-S campaigns earlier and offering more exclusive offerings to lure customers.
Kohl’s has launched a back-to-school exclusive girls apparel and accessories line by singer Avril Lavigne as one of it star attractions as it kicks its biggest back-to-school campaign ever next week, a week earlier than usual.
J.C. Penney is launching five exclusive brands this month, its largest grouping ever launched simultaneously. “It’s a huge time of the year for us, and we’re spending against it,” Mike Boylson, Penney’s chief marketing officer told the newspaper. The retailer has created an online game called “DorkDodge,” to promote the new lines. It will also air a 60-second spot in theaters recreating scenes from the 1985 teen film “The Breakfast Club.”
The retailer also announced Monday the launch of its new Dorm Life private home brand, a modern lifestyle brand that targets college students. Prices range from $3.99 for a bath towel to $39.99 for a comforter.
Macy’s, not to be outdone, begins filming a documentary next month following five young adults as they road trip across the U.S., visiting 12 cities to meet musicians and music producers while wearing clothing by Macy’s American Rag label. The 10-episode show, titled “Ragged Road,” will begin airing on in September. It will feature live video blogs.

Monday, July 7, 2008

U.S. Payrolls drop by 62,000 in June, Unemployment Rate Still at 5.5%

As reported on Style July 3rd, 2008

Sixty-two thousand jobs were lost in June, marking the sixth consecutive month of layoffs in the U.S., as soaring fuel prices absorbed economic stimulation and prompted companies to reduce costs, reported Bloomberg. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.5% after a record jump in May, but continued job losses suggest that consumer spending will continue to slow, signaling that more bad times are ahead for our nation’s retailers. Retail payrolls fell by 7,500, following a 22,600 decline in May.

For the first half of 2008, 438,000 jobs were lost in total, reversing the 91,000 jobs generated by the economy each month on average in 2007.
Federal Reserve policy makers may delay their first interest-rate increase since 2006, according to Bloomberg.
“As long as the consumer is facing these headwinds, it’s going to be very tough for a major turnaround in employment growth,” Kathleen Stephansen, head of global economics at Credit Suisse Holdings USA Inc. in New York, said before the Labor Department issued its report in Washington D.C. “There is very little room for the Fed to do anything.”

For Full Bloomberg Article Click Here

Dick Baker on the recession

I wanted to get some thoughts on the recession from Dick Baker so I called him the other day to tap his expertise.

Dick is an apparel industry veteran having run Op for years, served as president of Esprit and launched Tommy Hilfiger women.

He offered some opinions on why this recession is different from the past. He also talked about distribution trends he sees coming.

I should preface the piece by saying Dick believes the surf industry is performing better in the downturn than most sectors. And, even though the big box stores (Target, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Kmart) are making another run at creating or buying surf or action sports brands, “Kids still want the authentic, cool brands,” he said.

Here are Dick’s thoughts about the current climate and other issues.

“This economic slowdown is different from previous recessions because the scale of the surf business is so much larger, so the issues that go along with surviving in a recession are magnified. You now have large, publicly-traded companies operating on global platforms. It’s not 10 years ago when you had a few $30-to-$40 million companies trying to figure things out.

“I don’t see any clarity about the economic climate emerging until 2009.

As reported on shop-eat-surf: July 7, 2008

“The three biggest issues facing core stores and brands this time around are:

“1. Credit. The dynamics have changed. In the past when companies were smaller and private, they could carry core store operators who were having trouble paying. Now, some of the large, publicly-traded companies have shareholders to answer to and smaller companies need to get paid as well. Plus, some companies such as CIT are having problems of their own, so are looking to collect every dollar they can. This has led to a credit crunch for those retail accounts that are slow to pay, and I don’t think it has run its full course yet.

“2. The development of the brands and scale of the brands have grown so large, but there has not been a major increase in the number of core surf shops. Brands need to grow, and doing significantly more business with core shops will be difficult sheerly because there are a limited number of core stores. So where is the growth going to come from? The smart brands will protect and ensure they are successful at the core level while seeking other distribution. Also, the internet has the single biggest upside as both a wholesale customer and a direct brand vehicle. But it also has the biggest investment required.

“3. There will be an influx of brands opening stores or acquiring stores. There are three models for this. A single-brand store where a company opens a store and only carries its own brand. But it’s challenging to be successful selling one brand that reflects one lifestyle and getting the product right all the time. Or, brands will acquire multiple location core surf shops where they keep selling other brands in addition their own. A third option is to acquire multiple brands to include in their retail strategy.”

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kohl's Shares Up After Licensing Deal with Hang Ten

As reported on Transworld Biz June 16th, 2008

According to an Associated Press story posted June 12, by Business Week: “Shares of Kohl’s Inc. advanced on Thursday, after the government issued a positive May retail sales report and the company reported a licensing agreement for lifestyle brand Hang 10.

Kohl’s shares rose $1.52, or 3.6 percent, to $44.11 during afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $37.31 and $73.38 during the past 52 weeks.”

To read the full story, go to
For more details on the licensing agreement between Hang Ten, Quiksilver and Kohl’s, click HERE.

QuiksilverEdition Simplifies Marketing

QuiksilverEdition Simplifies Marketing, Now Branded Quiksilver Men's

click here to read the story. Posted on Transworld Surf Biz July 1st, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cheyne Magnusson Photoshoot

I did a photoshoot with Cheyne Magnusson yesterday for the Dive N' Surf "Find Your Passion" campaign. Cheyne just got back in from Australia and drove straight from the airport to our offices to do the photoshoot. Even though he was tired as hell and feeling the effects of a mystery sleeping pill he still showed up and did the shoot. We took some shots over at Malaga Cove and knocked it out in less than an hour. We got back to the office and Cheyne was on his way back home to San Diego where he said he can't wait to sleep in his bed. Cheyne is home for a few days than off to Seattle to see his girlfriend and from there to Bali to hook up with photographers to get some exposure.


Save Trestles as reported on Transworld Surf website. July 1st, 2008

Billabong acquires Sector 9 for its latest buy

As reported on July 1, 2008

Billabong acquires Sector 9 for its latest buy