With such low entry barriers in the clothing industry today, one can see how it has become such a highly competitive market. When considering this in conjunction with the recession and fast paced change of trends, it is hard to believe that companies can make it through, let alone grow, in past decade. Despite slight growth in retail numbers, retailers everywhere have been forced to fire employees. So what has been the major difference between successful clothing companies and those that fail? As the clothing market evolved, for a company to survive it had to change. Today, it is not enough just to have a skate team and call a company a skateboard-clothing brand. In response to this, many companies have changed their marketing techniques to embody not just a story, but also a lifestyle that appeals to their consumers. This lifestyle is not merely an extension of action sports, but integrates art, music, fashion, politics and sometimes even food and alcohol. One of the most impressive companies in the past decade has been The Hundreds. Based in Los Angeles, Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar started the company as an escape from the monotony of law school and it has grown into a multimillion dollar, global business. The clothing they sell is reminiscent of the 80′s surf and skate explosion with bright, vivid colors and cartoon designs but the lifestyle they exhibit cannot be matched. The company boasts that it is inspired by the Los Angeles lifestyle of surf, skate, punk, and hip-hop which tells a good story in and of itself, but Kim was revolutionary in the way in which he communicated that lifestyle. The Hundreds was the first clothing company to feature a blog on their website at a time when many companies did not even have websites. In an interview with Sneakerfreak, Kim says “The Hundreds is a very personal brand, and we wanted to let our customers in on that experience.” This allowed them to show their viewers how they lived through the various stories, photos and videos they highlight. They use gimmicks such as “Music Mondays” to showcase music videos that are inspiring to the company and promote musicians they feel are worthy. Their blog goes further than just skating or surfing and talks about Los Angeles life from the latest news on streetwear clothing, music, and art to Bobby’s favorite place to get a burrito.
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