Native Furthers US Push With New Hires

Native is moving forward with plans to re-establish itself in the U.S. market.

The brand, known for its lightweight EVA shoes, was acquired in July by a group of investors led by CEO Scott Hawthorn. Hawthorn, one of the Vancouver, British Columbia-based brand’s founders, said key hires in leadership, sales and design positions will help fuel the label’s growth, especially as it focuses on bringing adult product back to the U.S.

This week, Native announced it hired Andy Trammell, former sales director at Sanuk, as VP of U.S. sales to oversee the brand’s strategy here.

“[Andy is] a huge hire for us,” Hawthorn said. “He’s got a really good history and he’s worked with people on our team before. He’s a great addition.”

Since the acquisition, U.S. sales of children’s product continue to be handled by Los Angeles-based In Play Showroom, and one of the company’s first actions was to sign Los Angeles-based The Ntwrk Agency to provide outreach to U.S. accounts for adult product.

“One of the first steps [to build the business in the States was] to bring on a capable sales team,” Hawthorn said.

The focus, he added, will be the boutique channel, as well as some larger accounts. For instance, retailers such as REI and Nordstrom have been key partners on the children’s business and represent another opportunity for Native.

“We’ll continue to establish the brand within the boutique sector as a fun footwear option, and we’ll build out some wider sales channels at the same time,” Hawthorn said.

The brand has also brought in designer Mark Gainor — another original Native hire — to oversee the line’s creative direction. Los Angeles-based Gainor is working with the footwear team in Vancouver to add new styles for spring ’15. But spring ’14, currently in production, will be the brand’s reintroduction to the U.S. market.

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