Industry News 3/4/2005

NEMA Looks Beyond Its Surf-Inspired Roots

NEMA Looks Beyond Its Surf-Inspired Roots


HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA  In the past six months, the Southern California apparel maker has expanded its sales accounts into new territories and revamped its outside sales force by replacing five old sales reps with seven new ones. The company will exhibit at Eurobike for the first time this year and has already added five new international distributors.


The company is also in the process of buying a new building with investment capital that will allow it to double its current square footage.


“It’s time for NEMA to grow up and be a real business,” said Eric Woods, who was promoted in August from outside sales rep to the newly created position of global sales manager.


“NEMA has been in business for ten years, but if you look at our distribution it would appear as though we’ve only been around for two. The tenth year is the year we put the pedal down and go for it,” he added.


Offering a sneak peak into 2006, NEMA has done a through redesign of it’s collection for Spring. NEMA’s designs have always been an important part of their brand, and their recent hire of graphic designer Matt Turney has allowed them to refine their collection. Matt brings years of experience to NEMA having worked for BLK/MRKT alongside Shepard Fairey of OBEYGIANT and Andy Howell of Imagewerks.  With Turney’s assistance, NEMA’s 2006 collection has been given a technical and aesthetic overhaul.


“2006 is the first time we are truly focused. Focused on the product, focused on the retailer and focused in on a theme to tie our entire collection together,” explained Stuart Fingerhut, NEMA’s marketing and promotions manager. “What we will be unveiling for 2006 is on par with product from the likes of Burton and Fred Perry.”


From a technical standpoint, NEMA will introduce an expanded product offering which features patented ventilation technology on cycling shorts for 2006. Applications for the new line include cyclocross, road, mountain biking and spinning.  The design, U.S. patent number 6401250, dramatically increases airflow via a ventilated gusset that spans the inside thigh up through the crotch and down the inside of the other thigh.


NEMA has secured a licensing agreement for the patent from Toolshed Sports, a supplier or custom-branded technical apparel ranging from collegiate and extreme-sports to professional baseball and basketball.


The patented ventilation feature will be incorporated into NEMA’s launch of tradition cycling apparel. “We are no longer a mountain bike clothing company, we are a sportswear brand,” said Fingerhut. Look for NEMA’s product offering to grow by 20 percent over this year’s line.


Between the new Lycra product line, a revamped sales staff and a fresh look for 2006, Woods is optimistic about the future of the company. He said changes in the current line have already been well received. “Some accounts have grown as much as 30 to 50 percent,” he said.


A final component of NEMA’s growth strategy is to apply it’s private-label success to a larger segment of the cycling market. Shorts will be available with photorealistic graphic around the Lycra shorts’ waistband.  There will be no NEMA labels visible.


“The cool thing is that this is a product that companies, shops, or whomever can use to sell themselves. It’s not just going to be a ‘NEMA’ short,” said Fingerhut. “The program is available to any shop in the world, from a1,500-square-foot shop to regional and national retail chains — it’s just another tool for people to sell their brands.”


“This is exciting without being obnoxiously branded European apparel — for those not wanting to ride around looking like a billboard,” he added.


The custom line will be manufactured domestically and will have as little as six-weeks’ turnaround time in quantities of as few as 100 pieces. This program is slated to launch in June 2005.


While NEMA’s private-label program has been a component in its business for several years, the expansion into Lycra is new for the Surf City apparel maker. The company, which made its name with loose fit cycling apparel, will unveil a line of Lycra shorts to the media early in the 3rd quarter.


So far NEMA is only talking about a Lycra short with a chamois and a chamoised-liner that can be worn under street clothes, but hinted at a continued expansion of this line.


It’s been ten years coming, but the NEMA epic is finally coming into focus.


About NEMA :

Ten years ago we set out on a mission - create a technical mountain bike short. After several hundred hours behind the sewing machine, we crafted the first riding system - a system that bridged the inner liner to a durable nylon shell. In the years since, we've continued to define the mountain bike apparel category, all the while staying true to our original goal... the product.


NEMA. Focused on the Product.


For additional information, please contact :


Stuart Fingerhut

NEMA (knee’muh) Vital Garments

888.NEMA.USA (636.2872) ext 104