Eddie Bauer Revamps Messaging, Focuses on Wholesale, Worldwide – WWD

By News Author

Eddie Bauer Revamps Messaging, Focuses on Wholesale, Worldwide – WWD

News Author

There’s a brand new day dawning at Eddie Bauer.

The corporate is debuting a model repositioning and growth technique that features an up to date brand and messaging to embrace its outside roots, a heightened concentrate on wholesale and an enhancement of its presence outdoors of North America.

One yr in the past, the Bellevue, Washington-based outside model introduced Tim Bantle on board as chief government officer. Bantle had an in depth background within the outside business, serving as basic supervisor of VF Canada, in addition to in key roles at The North Face, Black Diamond Tools and Patagonia.

Upon becoming a member of the corporate Bantle realized there have been plenty of missed alternatives for development. “What I encountered was that the enterprise was at a pivotal level,” he mentioned. “I noticed it had heritage and authenticity, but it surely didn’t have a well-established wholesale or worldwide enterprise.”

The corporate was based in 1920 by a Pacific Northwest sportsman named Eddie Bauer and was nearly completely direct-to-consumer, promoting by means of its personal fleet of shops within the U.S. and Canada, in addition to on-line. Whereas it did have a cope with Kohl’s to promote its outdoor-inspired product and there had been restricted worldwide distribution, neither was sufficient to actually transfer the needle.

So Bantle began to place the wheels in movement on a “average repositioning and rebranding” that might handle these missed alternatives.

The first step was to immerse himself within the firm’s wealthy archives, even studying as a lot as he may from the paperwork left by Eddie Bauer himself.

“Whenever you come right into a 100-year-old model, the very first thing you must guarantee is that you just do no hurt,” he mentioned. “This is without doubt one of the nice Americana outside manufacturers and it was very open to a refresh. However I rapidly acknowledged that our model mark may use some love.”

The brand was truly the identify Eddie Bauer in script. Not solely was it difficult to placed on product, however younger folks as we speak are not taught to learn cursive writing, so it wanted to be modified.

The brand new model includes a goose in flight together with the corporate’s identify in block letters, the phrases Outside Outfitters and the date of its founding. “We introduced again the goose,” Bantle mentioned, including that it had been used on and off because the firm’s inception.

Eddie Bauer's new logo

Eddie Bauer’s new brand.


The brand might be used on the corporate’s e-commerce and social websites this fall and can make its look on product subsequent yr, he mentioned. “It’s a extremely large transfer, however we’ll do it with plenty of humility.”

Then he turned his consideration outdoors the borders of North America. Though Eddie Bauer had labored with licensees in Japan and Europe previously, when the corporate was bought by Genuine Manufacturers Group in Might of 2021 that enterprise “paused,” he mentioned. “It went darkish for round 18 months.”

However shops and shops-in-shop in Japan will start opening subsequent month, and they’ll incorporate the brand new branding, he mentioned. That might be adopted shortly after by the U.Ok. and Northern Europe, after which Central Europe.

Eddie Bauer operates 260 of its personal shops within the U.S. and Canada, most of that are mall-based, and they’re break up between full-price and retailers. Bantle mentioned there aren’t any instant plans to considerably add to that quantity, however the retailer fleet might be “refined opportunistically.”

As a substitute, the first development will come from wholesale. “Now we have a partnership with Kohl’s that began two years in the past and we’re constructing that enterprise,” he mentioned, including that the reasonably priced retailer is including outdoor-inspired outlets to its shops and Eddie Bauer is “a key accomplice” in that initiative.

The corporate additionally works with Costco on an “item-level foundation,” and that additionally represents a giant quantity alternative.

Tim Bantle


Bantle mentioned when he joined Eddie Bauer final yr, wholesale represented solely 10 p.c of gross sales. At this time that quantity has doubled, however he mentioned he would finally wish to see a good break up between wholesale and direct retail.

Turning to product, Bantle mentioned Christopher Bevans, the designer that his predecessor employed in Might 2022 with a lot fanfare as the corporate’s first artistic director, is not with the model. As a substitute, the gathering is being designed by an inner crew.

Whereas it might have its roots in outside merchandise, Bantle mentioned sportswear — or “on a regular basis efficiency” product — represents over half of gross sales. This is without doubt one of the differentiators between Eddie Bauer and the opposite key outerwear manufacturers similar to Canada Goose.

Plus, Eddie Bauer’s costs are loads decrease. A down jacket can price $100 to $200 at Eddie Bauer however promote for $400 or extra at Patagonia, $900 or extra at Canada Goose and properly greater than $1,000 at Moncler.

Eddie Bauer down jacket.

Eddie Bauer is understood for its down jackets.


“We do issues which might be rooted in authenticity,” he mentioned. “We attempt to be broad, democratic and extremely inclusive,” he mentioned. “I enterprise to say our competitors is the other. Now we have the chance to be a trusted, reasonably priced outside model. We’re not going to compete the place we will’t win.”

He mentioned that greater than half of People recurrently take part in outside actions. “So we have now a possibility to deal with that and be the place folks store.”

Partnerships may also be essential to Eddie Bauer going ahead. The corporate was a pioneer within the discipline by inking a cope with Ford Motor Co. in 1983 for Eddie Bauer-branded SUVs. Extra not too long ago it has teamed with Tenting World on a line of RVs. It additionally licenses backpacks, footwear and baggage and works with Huckberry on a Skyliner down jacket.

However whereas different licensees could come on board, Bantle mentioned to not count on many collaborations from the model going ahead. Previously, the corporate has collaborated with The Nice, Baja East, A$AP Rocky and others. “I feel we’re previous the height with collaborations as an business,” he mentioned. “However licensing is a really large a part of what we do.”

Because the rebranding and repositioning acquire steam, Eddie Bauer will talk its new messaging by means of its social media and e-mail channels. And within the fall, when the up to date product and branding hit shops, he expects to be extra vocal in regards to the updates.

“We’ll have numerous launch occasions, however after folks can truly purchase the product,” he mentioned.