Sustaining Market Share: Stall and Dean Uncovered An interview with Rikers, Marketing Director for Stall and Dean/ Rucker Clothing on FashionLedge.com (www.FashionLedge.com).
Interviewed by Kenyatta D. Pious
Explain a little bit about Stall and Dean's space in the apparel business? Stall and Dean officially went in business in 1898. In the early stages of the company, Stall and Dean was really a manufacturing company. We manufactured everything from catalogs, gloves, cleats, baseball bats, football helmets, etc. Stall and Dean was also one of the first companies to manufacture Jerseys for the NHL. Possessing the original catalogs and having access to these authentic historical items allows us to always have fresh, original apparel to offer to the marketplace and our consumer.
How often are new collections churned out? We work on collections months in advance, we may alter a few styles, but our designers basically turn out 5 deliveries a year.
If you had to pick one thing that you don’t like about Stall and Dean, what would it be? Good question, I will be sending out my bio after this answer [laughing], I would want to go back to producing baseball and basketball jerseys and make them web only specials or sporting good accounts exclusively.
The Rucker collection is a great move. Nothing says basketball like NY’s Rucker park. What exactly is Stall and Dean doing as part of this deal? Is it for a couple of years or did Stall and Dean buy the exclusive rights to Rucker? We do have the license for Rucker, which was established 1946 and is the oldest known basketball tourney. It actually shares the same birth year as the NBA. The deal we have with Rucker is for apparel, but Rucker has many options as well. Rucker is the only black owned company that has its own basketball with Spaulding (official NBA ball). Rucker also has a movie on the table and is constantly taking offers for its own official shoe deal. We all share in the vision of Rucker, but that's because we look at our infrastructure as a family and not as a business.
Are there other deals on the plate? We are close to doing a licensing deal with Pabst Blue Ribbon, they are one of the oldest brewing companies in the country, dating back almost 160 years. They own around 13 brands including Colt 45 and Iron City. When we consider a deal, we look at tradition and heritage, marketability and will it be a great relationship for Stall and Dean.
What other licenses do you have? Besides Rucker, we own Draper and Maynard. They have a legacy as long as Stall and Dean's. You can web search/ eBay them to see some of the items and the dates. We also have the rights to do the Ivy League schools as well as Oxford university clothing.
What sells the most and why? Hard to say honestly, in regards to Stall and Dean, we're known to have the hottest jackets and one of the best in the marketplace...that's based on quality and our design team, which does an excellent job. In doing so our outwear is insane! We do shirts on a very limited basis, but if we push tops as much we will be an all around company.
Who is your biggest competitor, if any? Hmmm, good question. I think Jay (Z) cleaned that up for the most part...haha. In caps, its New Era of course, but we have by far one of the best caps in the entire market. We use a 40% wool blend that prevents shrinkage and it sustains its hold well. Outerwear, none really, basketball jerseys it'll probably be Adidas, but again we use a unique fabric in our jersey production. Baseball jerseys, none... Our flannel jersey is almost similar in quality to the jerseys the legends played in such as Satchel Paige, Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, etc.
What do you like/ hate about the current fashion industry/ trends? What I hate is that every Tom, Dick and Mary think they can start a clothing line. Many do not use anything creative, they just attempt to knock off something they wear and call it their own. Also, poor quality in the market place - -in the manufacturing they put forth zero effort, charge the customer insane prices and wonder why their product isn't selling. It's like music: for every Madonna there are a dozen Ashlees, or for every Jay, there are a hundred whack MCs. What I like about [the industry], is that the youth keep the market hot. Currently, the youth are anti establishment for the most part. They'll go to boutiques, grab something clean and move on. The white tee's are ok, but after I see a white tee and black jeans, I get a migraine after the 10th set. I don't like the $400 shoe, but I like that the market wants something fresh and different.
Who are the core clients of Stall and Dean? Do you see this changing and/ or who do you wish to target? Odd speaking, we basically do not have a core client, but we are heavily embraced by the Urban Community. Maybe its our grassroots approach to what we do on the daily basis, but we just attempt to keep the best quality on the market, that's from the initial stitch to final product. The people who want something original, if it's sneaker fanatics, cap lovers, to those loving just something hot and clean, they share the company and direction with us.
Anything else you want to add? Well, with the Rucker, we were part of the initial Elite 24, which brought the top 24 high school players in the country to Rucker park. Rucker also sponsors High school teams including perennial New York and National power Boys and Girls high. We also do Wadleigh, Cardozo, Kennedy in the Bronx and Philly Prep Charter.With Rucker we're also petitioning a campaign to have Holcomb Rucker nominated to the NBA Hall of Fame for his contributions to Basketball. With the Rucker foundation we will be renovating basketball courts, fund raising for schools and other avenues to be more community aware.
For more info: RikersMarketing Director Stall and Dean;Rucker President G.I.T. Recordswww.Myspace.com/Rikers357 www.stallanddean.com