Six months after SNEWS® first announced the launch of Point6 to the outdoor industry (click here to read the June 16, 2008, SNEWS story, "Point6 launch heralds return of Peter and Patty Duke"), Peter and Patty Duke contacted us to reveal that Point6 is turning to retail distribution with what they termed, "an aggressive buying program."
When Point6 debuted, it was with a direct-to-consumer strategy only. And, at the time, Peter Duke alluded to the potential shift to a wholesale endeavor down the road.
"I had plans to move to retail distribution, if needed," Duke said, when explaining why the company was launching a retail distribution program now. "My home is with the retail end of the business. When we were seeding events and giving away socks all across the country, the buzz started to build. Now, 30,000 people are aware of what we are doing and our hope and expectation is that we will be able to get those folks to go into stores to purchase our product."
While Point6 will still sell direct to consumers via the Internet, Duke admitted to not feeling fully comfortable with the channel of distribution the company had initially chosen as an exclusive one. "The Internet was more an experiment for me, to learn about the channel and understand it," Duke told us. "What I quickly concluded was that on the Internet I did not think we could establish the necessary presence to become a successful brand-based business. Partnering with retailers is the best way, in my view, to do that."
What makes Duke firmly believe his products will be successful at retail is the quality differentiation, he told SNEWS. "We are using compact spun merino wool in our entire new merino wool sock, whereas our competitors are using it only in high-abrasion areas. Compact spun wool is far more durable, comfortable and long-lasting -- the pair of socks I am wearing now are ones that I have been wearing non-stop (other than to wash them) for over a month and they are showing no signs of wear…they look new."
Duke said the use of hand-looped toe closures in his socks virtually eliminates the seam in the toe and makes for a far more comfortable toe area with less opportunity for bunching or rubbing.
Point6 will be at both SIA and Outdoor Retailer Winter Market where Duke told us he expects to convince retailers that Point6 has a "beautiful program for the retailer to purchase. Our buying programs will demonstrate that we want to become the choice of retailers and that we are a great vendor to partner with and very retail friendly."
He added, "We will have 3,000 pairs of socks to give away at Winter Market with the latest merino technology and I do not want to have any left."
SNEWS® View: We've known Peter and Patty Duke a long time, and it has been years since we've heard Peter so energized and enthusiastic. We do expect retailers will open their doors to the Dukes simply because of reputation and history. Whether or not the open doors translate into sales is another thing entirely that reputation and history have little to do with. The sock business is a very competitive one, as the couple knows full well. That said, members of the Point6 team are veterans in the sock business and as long as they are able to deliver great product to retailers on time, we'd never bet against the Dukes to be successful.