SAN FRANCISCO BRAND WANTS GIRLS TO GET ‘WITH IT’
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — Mollie Marcotulli wants Withitgirl to be a way of life.
As the president and chief executive officer of Withitgirl, an informational Web site for the athletically and artistically inclined, Marcotulli wants shoppers to know the brand inside and out.
Aimed at independent, active women between the ages of 13 and 25, withitgirl.com launched online last year and has a new line of Getitgirl clothing. The Web site encourages girls to not only be athletic, but also to work hard in school and to pursue challenging careers. The Withitgirl motto is: “Being Cool Is Being Yourself.”
Withitgirl’s e-commerce site is expected to be launched later this month and new cobranded items such as a Flexdex skateboard will be offered later this year.
The company’s outlook stems from Marcotulli’s own perseverance. Growing up in Italy and South America, she was all too familiar with the limited opportunities for girls, but her American mother made a point of letting her know about the feminist movement taking place in the U.S.
As an adult, Marcotulli founded and ran Avviso, a information technology consulting firm, for 10 years. That venture was successful enough to allow her the opportunity to figure out what she really wanted to do.
Learning to surf was on the top of the list, so she headed to a two-week women’s surf camp in Las Olas, Mexico. Empowered by the experience, Marcotulli wondered how she might encourage women to lead more active lifestyles, and the idea for Withitgirl was planted.
But she didn’t want the concept to be limited to sports. As a child, Marcotulli spent many hours watching her grandfather, James Reynolds, the artist behind the Blondie comic strip for 40 years, and aspired to incorporate art into her own career one day. Her uncle, Alex Reynolds, created Flash Gordon.
Marcotulli has continued the tradition by designing digital female superheroes that will be incorporated into the Withitgirl.com site.
Marcotulli insists that giving teens and young women access to events and resources that they will use to broaden their lives continues to be the Web site’s focus.
“Withitgirl is an ideology acknowledging that it’s not just what you do, but how you do it,” she said. “The Withitgirl subscribes to a philosophy of active living that challenges and redefines traditional roles relegated to girls.”
Snowboarding, surfing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, technology, music, style, art, media and health are the Web site’s areas of interest. There’s plenty of information about upcoming events, profiles and advice.
Not restricted by age or gender, Withitgirl’s audience is united by a “sense of alienation generated by a lack of access to coverage of topics that interest artists and athletes in their everyday lives and through a lifetime of achieving and surpassing their goals,” Marcotulli said.
Last month, the company unveiled its Getitgirl line of streetwear at the International Fashion Boutique Show in New York. With an average wholesale price of $30, the brand’s T-shirts, pants, jackets and sleepwear will be offered in about 10 stores this fall.
Designed to be worn in a variety of situations such as after surfing or when playing in a band, the collection consists of updated classic styles. Performance-oriented wool blend sweaters and low-waisted pants are among the offerings.
Periodically, young designers will be invited to create a collection; this will help them along with their careers as well as assuring the brand’s diversity, Marcotulli said.
As a sign of its allegiance to individualistic women, Withitgirl will sponsor about a dozen small and large grassroots events. Later this month, for example, company execs will be on hand for Noise Pop, a San Francisco music festival. This summer they will head to the Wild Woman Water Day, a surfing event in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Providing relevant information that helps get girls more involved in their favorite hobbies is key to getting more hits online, Marcotulli said. Last year, the company generated more than one million hits.
“We’re all about building a community. We want to sponsor and promote girls who share our interests,” Marcotulli said. “Longevity is really important to us.”