Bluestar Alliance reveals plans for Hurley brand
New York-based consumer brand group Bluestar Alliance, LLC outlined its future plans for its recently acquired surfwear brand, Hurley, on Wednesday, including category expansions, a new distribution agreement for the label’s EMEA operations and a new direction for its athlete program.
Since Bluestar Alliance acquired Hurley in December of last year, the boardsports brand’s corporate workforce has already undergone restructuring, a process that involved the elimination of 56 jobs.
The brand’s athlete program has also undergone significant changes, letting a number of surfers go, including Michel Bourez, Rob Machado, 2019 WSL Women’s World Tour Champion Carissa Moore and 2017 WSL Men’s World Champion John John Florence.
According to the press release published by Bluestar on Wednesday, the company is seeking to find a balance between “the right athletes, celebrities and influencers” for the program, “in an inclusive way.”
In light of these developments, much of the company’s announcement appeared to attempt to reassure Hurley fans that, despite the changes that it is implementing, the brand still has the same values.
“Under this new organizational structure, we are positioned to accelerate profitable growth while still honoring the brand DNA,” commented Ralph Gindi, COO at Bluestar, which also owns the Brookstone, Bebe and Kensie brands, among others.
One of the major evolutions taking place at Hurley is the expansion of its focus beyond surf, into skate and snowboard culture, as well as music and art, a range of activities which Bluestar was keen to highlight “encompasses much of the original Hurley vision.”
Under Bluestar, Hurley has also transitioned into a new licensed model, bringing a number of specialized manufacturing companies on board as license partners in order to support the brand’s move to embrace a broader range of product categories.
Now Bluestar has emphasized that Hurley will be maintaining its long-standing partnership with United Legwear, which has produced the brand’s men’s apparel for a number of years and which is apparently “a large part of the new strategy.”
Another key operation for the brand will be the acquisition of its operations in Barcelona, Spain by David Meire and Javier Carrea, who will operate the business under a new distribution agreement for the EMEA region. Both of the executives who are taking over previously worked at Nike, where Meire served as VP and general manager of football, and Carrera held the role of VP and general manager of the Quiksilver brand.
Hurley’s wider global distribution model will not, however, be changing and will continue to focus on “better retailers,” while expanding through new deals as the brand diversifies the product categories in which it operates.
The brand’s Costa Mesa HQ will also continue to be an important administrative and cultural hub for the business, employing more than 90 people working in design, production and sales.
Hurley currently employs some 320 full and part-time workers in its own retail stores, which according to Bluestar, will also continue to play an important role at the brand in the future.
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