Navigating the Surf Industry: 7 Insights from Island Water Sports, Karly Cottrell

Navigating the Surf Industry: 7 Insights from Island Water Sports, Karly Cottrell

By Vipe Desai

In a fast-paced Q&A session at the SIMA Industry Breakfast that took place at Surf Expo, Karly Cottrell from Island Water Sports shared valuable insights into breaking into the surf industry, refreshing product categories, impressing retailers, and more. 

Here are the key takeaways from this engaging conversation:

1. Constant Evolution in Retail: Retailers, especially in the surf industry, need to evolve constantly. Brands that were popular in the past may not be relevant today, so staying fresh and current is essential.

2. Opportunity for Innovation: Men's and women's swimwear in the surf industry are ripe for disruption. Stagnation in these categories is driving the need for innovative products that cater to active lifetysle surfers.

3. Embrace Innovation and Quality: Consumers are willing to invest in high-quality, tech-driven products. Brands should focus on providing performance-driven sportswear and athleisure options to meet customer demands.

4. The Role of Reps: Establishing strong relationships with sales representatives is crucial. Trusted reps help bridge the gap between brands and retailers, fostering trust and making it easier for new brands to enter the market.

5. Standing Out Matters: New brands must stand out with unique offerings that resonate with customers. Creating a buzz around your brand and making customers ask for it can drive interest and success.

6. Research and Customer Feedback: Brands need to listen to their customers and conduct market research to stay relevant. Reef’s success story demonstrates the power of adapting to customer needs.

7. Persistence Pays Off: Don't be discouraged by initial rejections. Sometimes, it takes time for brands to gain recognition and acceptance in the market. Keep reaching out and trying.

As the surf industry barrels into rapid change and disruption, adaptability and innovation are key. Brands that prioritize quality, customer feedback, and strong partnerships with retailers and reps have a better chance of winning over retailers and thriving. 

Whether you're an aspiring brand or a retailer, these insights from Karly Cottrell provide valuable guidance for navigating the surf industry successfully.