Beyond Clothing committed to custom outdoor apparel following acquisition

Custom outdoor apparel will remain a high priority at Beyond Clothing, following its acquisition by 5.11 Tactical last week, founder Scott Jones told SNEWS. Plus find out why custom gear brands in general are putting a greater focus on the outdoor industry.
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Custom outdoor apparel will remain a high priority at Beyond Clothing, following its acquisition by 5.11 Tactical last week, founder Scott Jones told SNEWS.

Jones, who moves to the role of chief designer at Beyond, said “if anything, the outdoor business will grow with 5.11’s infrastructure and support.” That includes plans to increase staff — from its current seven employees in Seattle — expand marketing efforts and grow internationally in Europe, Russia, Asia and South America, he said.

Beyond’s newest employee addition is its new president, Rick Elder, who previously worked at Smith Optics before joining 5.11 Tactical in August.

Beyond’s manufacturing will remain in the United States for all U.S. consumer and military orders, but will likely expand to other countries for international orders. “Our strategy will be to keep production as close to the consumer as possible,” Jones said. “In the United States, 5.11 is committed to Beyond's made-in-the-USA model.”

Beyond Clothing designs and builds custom, technical outdoor and wintersports apparel sized to a buyer’s individual measurements. Order to ship time is within four weeks. The company also takes orders from military special forces, a main reason why 5.11 Tactical, which focuses on law enforcement apparel, purchased the company, Jones said.

“The military side has become the larger part of our bottom line, but outdoor is behind the philosophy of the brand, that’s why I founded the business," Jones said. “My passion is to design outdoor and wintersports apparel.”

Jones said his goal is to grow the outdoor category at Beyond to help the brand diversify, especially in the face of looming military spending cuts and two wars winding down. Although, he added that he believes the cuts won’t impact the company as heavily because it focuses on special forces, not the general military.

Still, it would seem evident that within the recent slew of sale/acquisition activity involving outdoor brands with significant military business (see PrimaLoft, Lacrosse and now Beyond) lies a debate of how much the reduction in military spending will affect business.

Whether it’s military spending cuts, or just a demand for more tailored fits, custom gear is looking to gain more traction within the outdoor industry. In early October, Wild Things Gear, another outdoor and tactical customization brand, launched increased efforts toward outdoor consumers. It promises custom outerwear tops and bottoms with ordering that “takes less than a minute” and delivery within 10 days from its manufacturing facilities in New Jersey. Customers can choose insulation type and weight, fabric, hood versus no hood, pocket placements, zipper colors, logo placement, and embroidery.

Wild Things Gear and Beyond Clothing are looking to increase their relationships with specialty retailers too, officials said. Both brands plan on attending Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 in January.



--David Clucas

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