Original Buff Headwear, the Barcelona, Spain-based, manufacturer of tubular headwear, will begin warehousing products in the United States in 2006 and will also offer a U.S.-specific catalog. The move will allow the company to be more responsive to its U.S. dealers as it expands the brand in North America, said Shirley Choi Brunetti, U.S. sales and marketing director for Original Buff Headwear.
The new warehousing operation will allow retailers to place smaller orders for Buff products, and it will help Buff deliver products to U.S. dealers more quickly when they place an order. The U.S. warehousing will also remove dealers from any paperwork and customs obligations associated with international shipping.
â€œWe heard from many of our dealers that our previous minimum-order size of 48 Buffs, necessary because we were direct-shipping from Spain, was not allowing them to maximize turns and generate more sales," Brunetti told us. "Now, not only are minimum order sizes drastically reduced, but with the new U.S. warehouse there is the additional benefit of allowing us to reduce the shipping and transit time when a dealer places an order.â€
The warehouse will stock 150 of the most popular styles of Buff, from Original to Polar to the new line of Buffinova (a premium line made with Windstopper material).
The new warehouse and shipping facility will be located in Boston and will be operational in July 2006. Until then, Buff will continue to ship products direct from its manufacturing facilities outside Barcelona.
Brunetti told SNEWSÂ® that Buff has also purchased new digital printing machine and hired a full-time person just for printing custom designs. That means the company is able to reduce the minimums on its custom Buff program from 300 pieces to 25, offering custom logo opportunities on Buff Headwear for smaller events and programs.
"The unit price is a bit more for custom printing than it was before, but now we are able to print quicker and offer smaller quantities," Brunetti said. "We can either take existing artwork and adjust it, or we can create the artwork for our customers, and it's all included in the price." Brunetti estimated that for a minimum custom run of 25 Buffs, the cost would come to approximately $25 per unit.
SNEWS View: This is exactly what Buff needed to do to remain competitive in the U.S. and stay ahead of all the me-too competition that is cropping up. Smaller minimums, customized designs, and working with high-performance fabrics will ensure the Buff brand remains distinctive and popular. For those who were on the receiving end of the SNEWSÂ® team handing out the classic limited-edition line of GearTrendsÂ® Buffs we produced for past Outdoor Retailer trade shows, you know customized Buffs are not only very, very popular, they offer superb branding opportunities.