Not only you. Tommy Bahama beach chairs everywhere

Not only you.  Tommy Bahama beach chairs everywhere

This tropical brand, which began in 1992 selling men’s silk Hawaiian shirts and then has moved into remote areas as furniture and restaurants, is just about everywhere by the ocean these days, from Florida to California to New Jersey.

‘” said Edward Yerma, retail analyst at Piper Sandler, who covers the brand’s owner oxford industries (OXM). “You see them at all the major coastal beaches during the summer.”
The brand has conquered America’s shores thanks to a licensing strategy with the major outdoor goods manufacturer, access to more than 60 million Costco members, and new features on the chairs since their debut in 2009, like backpack straps and extra pockets to hold sunscreen and smartphones.

Oxford Industries Thomas Chubb said in a phone call Thursday that Tommy Bahama sales are also getting a boost from “a return to leisure travel, vacations and the permanent migration of many people to warmer climates” during the pandemic.

Tommy Bahama does not manufacture chairs and beach essentials. Manufactured by ShelterLogic Group, a leading manufacturer of outdoor and beach products, which also makes the RIO Beach brand of chairs, other sheds, tents and camping gear lines.

Instead, Tommy Bahama licenses its name and design to beach goods and takes royalties from sales from retailers. This licensing strategy means Tommy Bahama can increase customer exposure to the brand without incurring production or advertising costs.

The beach chairs themselves are “an incredibly powerful marketing tool,” Yerma said.

“Better to be lucky than to be good”

There is no general market share data for beach chairs, but Rob Silinsky, president of ShelterLogic Group, estimates that Tommy Bahama controls 80% of the market for chairs above $30.

It’s an unexpected success story for Tommy Bahama.

The man who oversaw the launch of the chairs in 2009, nearly two decades after starting the company, never imagined customers would buy them.

“It’s better to be lucky than to be good,” said Doug Wood, the head of the brand at the time and now CEO. “I had no illusion that it would go off like this.”

At the time, Tommy Bahama was suffering.

that it Founders Positioning the brand as a fashion line for country club men. Bob Emfield, one of the founders, said of the brand’s target customer at This year’s podcast.

Emfield said they were looking to create a design that evokes “sunbelt and dress-up,” and they intended to use the name of an island close to the mainland United States.

Tommy Bahama store in Naples, Florida, March 2020.

“Hawaii was beaten to death,” he said. So they came up with “Tommy Bahama” because I loved the resonance of the two words together. “

The founders recently left the company, and the country was experiencing the Great Recession, which reduced sales of Tommy Bahama.

“We were a silk company known mostly for flowers CEO Wood said: Camp shirts for men. “We had some swimwear in class. Nobody thought of us as a beach brand. We were more stylish than that.”

So when a Tommy Bahama executive suggested Wood the idea of ​​working with ShelterLogic to sell licensed chairs at Costco, Wood never thought it would work.

But the brand needed the cash and Costco guaranteed about $250,000 right away, so Wood reluctantly agreed. “I took off,” he said. “It continues to sell at an incredible price.”

After his success at Costco, Tommy Bahama expanded distribution to other chains such as Amazon and Walmart. Now, Tommy Bahama releases a new chair every season and sends an email to subscribers when it debuts.

Richard Galante, Chief Financial Officer at costco (cost)“We sell crazy numbers” of Tommy Bahama chairs in stores, he said. “It’s a year-round product.”

Galante added that the brand does not separate sales from the company, but Tommy Bahama sells as many as 2 million chairs annually and 700,000 umbrellas.

The most popular Tommy Bahama chair.

Their most popular product is the $89 “Wavy Marlin Deluxe” Dark Blue Aluminum Reclining Chair with built-in cooler, padded back straps and neckrest. Costco, Amazon, and other chains sell more basic versions for around $40.

In recent years, ShelterLogic has expanded its Tommy Bahama line to children’s chairs and higher-than-ground chairs designed for seniors to get out of their seats more easily.

As a result of the popularity of chairs, Tommy Bahama has developed an entirely new business around beach gear, recently moving into swimwear, coolers, and women’s shirts.

“It allowed us to build businesses that we didn’t have,” Wood said.

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