Contact: Joe Prebich, Director of Marketing
What trends will we see in next season’s line?
We are really excited about the way the consumers are adapting to this new environment. They are looking for a more crafted and quality style of product, so we are really reinvesting in those core elements and ensuring that each ZEAL Optics piece has the core elements of quality and craftsmanship.
What changes are you seeing at retail/on the business side?
For ZEAL, we are really bringing a totally new product into the marketplace for 2012, so our retail basis is looking at us to lead with strong brand imagery and product offerings. That is what we have seen a lot of, the retailer becoming very aware of their consumers and what they react to, so we try to listen and implement their feedback into our strategy.
What were your greatest successes in 2011?
Not using crude oil in our frames! We went through a full rebranding all of 2011, so the greatest success was being able to build a brand that is from the ground up, different. We reinvested in elements we never thought possible, changed our supply chain to fit our business model and community values, bringing to market the only sunglass line in the world with every frame built out of a plant-based resin.
What are your projections for next season?
Very positive. It is rare to be able to really start from scratch with a company. When we did take that step we were able to take a breath, listen to the consumer needs and design accordingly. Our brand is built on the ideas of giving a consumer a better option to live their life in. I think that we will see more and more companies follow in this direction as the consumer has shifted and is looking for less bling and more subtle style. It’s not about being bigger than life; it’s about balancing a life. This is who our consumer is; a busy, hard working individual with true roots in a lifestyle that has defined their life, and we want to make products that go with them everyday.
What additions are you making to the line? what won’t we see as much of?
As far as additions you will see us focusing on very active elements built into all of our shades. We want to make sure that each piece can be used, whether that is running, walking down for a surf, or trying to make a yoga class at lunch. Life is busy and our shades need to stay with you through it all. What you won’t see much of is crude oil resins. We replaced all our crude oil based resins with plant-based resins in every frame so we are actively trying to expand upon that ethos within every element of the brand.
Where are prices and margins heading for you?
We are trying to keep our prices competitive and our margins as well.
What is the breakdown looking like for men’s and women’s SKU’s?
We are about 30% female and about 50% Uni and then 20% Male, so we are definitely crafting glasses that have all-around elements built into them.
Are the number of SKU’s in your line expanding, contracting, or staying the same? Why?
Expanding! We have had a great initial launch into the market and have identified some new room for growth as well. We are really in this to craft eyewear, so the design and production process doesn’t ever really slow, we are just lucky to have had a lot of success early on which has enabled us to reinvest in new styles.