OluKai and Roark explain their new partnership
Last week OluKai and Roark announced a new financial partnership. Executives recently shed more light on the arrangement and how it will work for both brands.
Founded in 2015, Roark is an Orange County-based lifestyle brand that has gained action sports industry attention for its authentic storytelling. In December 2015, Roark gave a minority interest in its business to La Jolla Group. The deal allowed Roark to use La Jolla Group's infrastructure and back end platform while retaining its emerging brand identity.
The new deal with OluKai will give Roark money to grow. It will give Roark exposure to OluKai's multi-market strategy. The partnership will also allow Roark to use OluKai's infrastructure which at some point will affect the La Jolla Group deal. Roark will use OluKai's money to focus on sales, product and marketing.
OluKai's VP of Marketing, Kerry Konrady, told Shop Eat Surf what drove OluKai's investment in Roark. Specifically, the brand wanted to access Roark's ability to harness consumer experience and retell product stories through that lens.
As consumers define themselves through experiences and not just product, Roark appears to be tracking for deeper market penetration. Konrady said, "Roark is a rare brand that consumers see through a prism of adventure rather than just as an item."
While OluKai has double the amount of followers on Instagram as Roark does, Roark's messaging resonates with its growing consumer base.
Ryan Hitzel is the CEO of Roark and will continue to lead the company under the OluKai deal. He said, "OluKai feels that Roark is an independent minded brand that's set up to operate with our culture driving the day to day."
OluKai is a private company. It has freedom to choose the types of investments and partnerships it makes without having to report on a strict timeline. Both brands believe they will be able to engage their core audiences and keep them happy with the new partnership.
Roark will continue operating in its current headquarters. As an online brand, it will transition from La Jolla Group's platform to OluKai's shared platform as part of the new deal.
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