JOCKEY’S JOLLY BASH
Byline: Nancy Brumback
LAKE GENEVA, Wis. — Even as Jockey International celebrated its 125th anniversary, the company is looking to a future that includes a new, full-price store to show off the Jockey brand’s complete range of products.
Those products will include a men’s and women’s fragrance line to be launched early next year and a home furnishings collection that will first appear in department stores this fall.
Ed Emma, president and chief operating officer, disclosed the plan for the signature store during a presentation on the future of Jockey at a gala three-day celebration of the privately held company’s anniversary.
More than 800 Jockey employees from around the world attended the event at the posh Grand Geneva Resort & Spa here, near Jockey’s headquarters in Kenosha.
Jockey, Emma said in the keynote address, is positioning its brand around comfort and aims to create “a powerful lifestyle brand that will enable us to extend our reach into exciting new product categories and distribution channels.”
Following his speech, Emma said the location for the Jockey store has not yet been selected, but it will be in a top-level mall and will encompass between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet. Jockey hopes to open the store next year. The firm’s retail efforts to date have been with outlets.
“It will be a laboratory for us to get ideas,” rather than competition for Jockey’s retail customers, he emphasized. “We will display the whole family of Jockey products in an environment to show how they work together.”
Bob Nolan, president of Jockey Brands, said the firm’s underwear for men and intimate apparel for women has had a “very strong year, in contrast to what is happening at retail generally.” Nolan attributed the strong sales to new products and an increased use of dedicated shop displays in stores. The brand also is benefiting from a “slowdown big time” in the popularity of designer names in underwear, he noted.
“The consumer is paying attention to price-value relationships,” Nolan said.
The celebration included a review of the company’s history by Debra Waller, chairman and chief executive officer, the third generation of her family to head the company. Waller became head of Jockey in December after the death of her mother, Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt, who had led the company into the intimate apparel business. Steigerwaldt had taken over the company from her father, Harry Wolf, an accountant and consultant who had joined the firm, then known as Coopers Underwear, during the Depression.
Audience members received pins commemorating the anniversary, which were distributed simultaneously to all Jockey employees around the world.