Supra’s new development office in Dongguan, China, is aimed at taking manufacturing to the next level.
The 3,000-sq.-ft. facility, which opened last month, will be key in driving footwear growth and innovation, said Scott Bailey, CEO of Supra’s parent company, Luxembourg-based One Distribution.
“We had reached a volume where it made sense from a cost standpoint and to be competitive,” Bailey said. “With the rising prices and all the changes in footwear and supply chains in Asia over last couple of years, this [allows us to] get back to what Supra was known for: cutting-edge materials and executions that were leading the market.”
The new center represents a more than $1 million investment for the skate brand, Bailey said. All sourcing and material development for global footwear, which is designed out of the company’s Los Angeles offices, will be handled by the new center. With 17 full-time employees, the center will eventually employ 21 people. Supra VP of footwear Udi Shiloah oversees the office.
Bailey added that about 40 percent of sales now come from international accounts. In addition to helping grow its overseas business, the center also will support Supra’s domestic account base, including Zumiez, Nordstrom and Journeys.
“The brand has been growing at a pretty fast rate since it launched in 2007, and we have reached a point where the quality [control] and types of materials [are] more important,” Bailey said. “We’ve already seen [improvements], from us being able to have our quality assurance staff on the ground. We expect to see incremental progress every season.”
The full impact of the new facility won’t be felt until the spring ’15 product line is released.