Kanabeach begins recovery
"The comet is back", that’s how Kanabeach has announced its return to its fans, reactivating its Facebook account earlier this year. Faced with a crisis in its business model and heavy losses, the Breton surf-inspired brand went bankrupt in 2013. French stationery company Oberthur bought the rights to the brand, while continuing to operate its stationery division.
In order to oversee the relaunch of Kanabeach’s apparel, Oberthur has signed a five-year licensing agreement with an executive who knows the brand well. Jean-François Plathier, who used to be based in Quebec, formerly served as the brand's distributor in North America until it was shuttered.
"Until the brand went bankrupt, I generated a significant turnover with Kanabeach,” he said. “As someone who is close to distribution networks, I could see that it was a brand that shouldn’t have failed."
Now, from Bidart in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, he is organizing new plans for Kanabeach. He will be working with Olivier Mauroux, one of the brand 64’s founders, who will oversee design, Sophie Robert, who will oversee coordination and Ludovic Lopez, who will develop it surfing division. The new team is also paying homage to Fred Alegoët, who founded the brand in 1987 and died last year.
Kanabeach has just launched its website, on which it is selling surfing equipment with its first series of t-shirts going for 29.95 euros, having produced a few hundred units. "The brand has roots in surfing, but was very present in the ready-to-wear networks thanks to its quirky spirit. We are working on these kinds of quirky designs and products,” said the executive. "I want it to be something different, with a good deal of leeway in terms of design."
Production will be based in Portugal with seasonal deliveries. "A pair of shorts will hit stores when the weather is good - not in February. At Zara and H&M, you find the right products for when you need them. We also don’t want to put pressure on our distribution. We are enlisting partners to become Kanabeach retailers. The store in Bidart can serve as a reference."
For its first season, the brand will offer its products in twenty locations in France. Kanabeach’s team intends to strengthen its range with complete lines of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear in October. Also on the table: while beginning in France, the project should also open the door to international development.
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