IN THE FIELD: Carhartt Inc. makes clothes for women; they just want more women to know it.
The 127-year-old, privately held workwear company is ramping up its efforts to win over females in need of its thermals, overalls, dungarees, waterproof boots and other key apparel pieces for work.
“What we really want to do is bring that women’s product to life, too,” said senior vice president Tony Ambroza. “Traditionally, Carhartt’s not recognized for making women’s product as we hear out there.”
The Dearborn, Mich.-based company most recently mailed out its first catalogue for women last month and early indicators point to a growing women’s business that will hit plan for the month, despite the warm weather, Ambroza said. It was a modest, targeted group, he added, of about 20,000 female consumers already loyal to the brand.
The catalogue is something that will continue to be developed and scaled over the next few years as an important component of the company’s direct-to-consumer business, Ambroza said. The majority of the company’s sales though continues to be generated via the wholesale channel with the brand in some 11,000 doors in the U.S., Canada and Europe with the bulk of those catering to rural residents. Carhartt also counts 30 company-owned doors, the most recent of which opened in Illinois in late October and totals more than 3,900 square feet.
Growth of company stores will continue to open in larger, metropolitan markets and focus on playing up the full range of women’s product.
“We’ve been very focused on addressing the needs of the next generation of workers and that’s what you’ll see in our retail stores and in the way that we are starting to market to women,” Ambroza said.
The women’s business accounts for about 5 percent of the company’s sales today, although Ambroza said it’s too soon to determine a growth target for that channel.