Anne Cavassa de Saucony on the impact of the supply chain backlog in 2022 – Footwear News

After booming in 2020 largely because of COVID-19 restrictions, the running shoe market continued to be hot in 2021, and Saucony made sure that was part of the conversation.

When parent company Wolverine World Wide Inc. revealed its first quarter 2021 results in May, it said Saucony sales jumped nearly 60% for the three months ended April 3. And more recently, Saucony has continued to prove that she is a standout brand for Wolverine in Q3. For the three months ended October 2, it increased more than 40% year-on-year and 60% compared to the same period in 2019.

On the product side, the brand conquered runners in 2021 with selections from its Pinnacle Endorphine range. Endorphine, which Saucony revealed in July 2020, got bigger this year with new silhouettes, including the Endorphine Trail in July and the Endorphine Pro + in September.

Looking ahead, Saucony will deliver its third year of Endorphin shoes in 2022, which includes the Endorphin Pro 3 which was revealed at the running event in Austin, TX this month.

But the product alone won’t keep Saucony ahead of the pack. Below, President Anne Cavassa explained to FN how the brand will stay in the market conversation in 2022.

How do you maintain the momentum developed by Saucony in 2021 until 2022?

Anne Cavassa: “This is exactly the question we ask ourselves internally. We focus on product innovation, this is the most important thing. We are focused on continuing the innovation pipeline, and for 2022 we have the Endorphine collection, Triumph, the new Tempus, and the Ride and Guide feel amazing. [The running market is] super competitive so we’re trying to figure out how we can stand out in a unique way and how this growing consumer and the people who come to our sport get to know our brand. Plus, there aren’t many brands that are 123 years old, so how do we tell the story of our heritage? And what are all the things within Saucony – our history, our heritage, our mythology – that are just cool stories people want to hear? We’ll think through the lens of a Saucony and what it means on the road, in the trails and in the originals, and how do we tell the stories across the categories. The last thing really is, we’re super good at handling culture, and we recognize that it’s important – and we’ll continue to [focus on] that – but there’s more to people than just racing. It’s really about the lifestyle and the culture and what’s going on around you, so it’s important to be relevant with the times of what’s going on in the world, and also to recognize that we’re not just talking to a dedicated elite runner, but also to people who come to run from a health and wellness perspective. Things from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective, sustainability perspective and other things happening in the world, music and artistic culture that we need to pay attention to, we will talk about these things. “

Saucony Endorphine Pro 3.

CREDIT: Peter Verry

How does Saucony define the culture of running?

THAT : “Running is obviously a sport that drives the community, and no matter the pace, you always run the same kinds of distances, in the same environments and things like that. One of the things we think about internally is what are these connection points for running for everyone? It sounds cliché, but it’s so true: running has a transformative power. What it does for you as an individual, for relationships, for communities, to speak directly about the most amazing things about racing is what racing culture is all about. All the consumer information will tell you that half the people who run love it, and half the people who run hate it but they love the benefits, but those things that are common among all of us are what connect us.

Because there are more things people care about than just running, how can Saucony ensure that you are continually expanding your consumer base?

THAT : “Our core competency and what we do best is performance running shoes, and we don’t intend to do anything outside of that. We will stay true to that core, do it exceptionally well. , but one of the things we’re talking about is connecting cutting edge innovation from a product point of view, down to what’s accessible. How do you reduce that innovation? How do you bring down technology? How does it work? are we for $ 60 a shoe? “

Industry insiders believe performance running shoes will be back in fashion again, thanks to the COVID-19 running boom. Is there a way for Saucony to capitalize?

THAT : “I think we are uniquely positioned with Originals. When you think of the brands that are growing very quickly right now – and I put us in that bucket, of course – but when you think of Brooks, Hoka, and On, there’s only one of those brands that’s as old as us, but they don’t have a lifestyle business. We can do the lifestyle side of that very well while still being a running figure. It will be one thing that we will do. The other thing is that we have created a design center in Montebello, Italy. Having our team in Italy work with our team in Boston, working with our team in China and having a global perspective on fashion or trends to infuse into our product line is something we are really working on from a marketing perspective. relevance of trends. And then I would say just be knowledgeable, lean into it, and color in a fun way. Sometimes what tends to happen in our space is that people get very conservative with color, and it is true that a lot of people want soft and muted colors, but there is also this audience that wants. something a little more nervous. Looking into this is also a fun way for us to differentiate ourselves. “

What makes the third year of the Endorphine collection the best yet?

THAT : “Endorphin was originally built and developed with deep consumer knowledge, and iteration after iteration after iteration, and then the original was born. The first Endorphin was amazing – the Pro, in particular. What has happened over time is that we get more and more information and we adjust our product, so some of the things that happen in these great shoes, some people feel like the balance between the carbon fiber plate and cushioning isn’t quite where they want it to be or that’s what you set, or the midsole materials get a lot softer and a lot more responsive. What we did was took the best of Endorphin with our SpeedRoll technology, the carbon fiber plate, and continued to fine-tune our foams and geometry. It’s faster, it’s lighter, it’s more bouncy. It’s a really fun shoe.

What impact do you expect the supply chain backlog will have on Saucony in 2022?

THAT : “We feel like we are in a pretty good position, we feel good around 2022. Without a doubt, there is a lot of disruption – Vietnam closed for 90 days, this is going to impact the first half of the year. for the whole industry. However, what I would say for us is that we have a diverse portfolio of places where our factories are located, we are not primarily in Vietnam and our core product is outside of that, and we have been able to move products to where we need to be. We feel pretty good to be able to deliver in the first half and second half, that’s for sure. The second thing I would say is that we are super focused on the reality of this situation and are in control of the controllable elements. We can’t control that the government is shutting down our factories in Vietnam, but we can control the way we organize ourselves, how we launch our product, what our communication is, what our plans to go to market are, so we are trying. to be very up to date with all of these things and very communicative and in partnership with our retailers so that they know what’s coming, when it’s happening and they can prepare for it. And then if there is disruption and things change, something else happens, we come together really quickly. “

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