Five Ten returns to core management team

Two years after being bought by Adidas, Five Ten is going back to the meat of its original management.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2014 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 21 – 25. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

Acquisitions can be a tricky venture … especially when a giant like Adidas buys a niche innovator like Five Ten.

Two years after the transaction, Five Ten is going back to the meat of its original management, the company announced at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Founder Charles Cole, who created the brand’s iconic Stealth rubber, is back and more involved in day-to-day development and marketing. Five Ten’s U.K. and Germany sales operations are back in house. The changes also brought about an important unification of sales and marketing under Laura Sanders, vice president of global sales and marketing. New CFO and General Manager Wally Barker, who served as Five Ten CFO before the acquisition, has also returned to revitalize the team.

“The corporate team came in for two years and helped with the back office and organizational sourcing,” said Barker, a longtime Yosemite climber who also worked at Quiksilver. “They transferred their knowledge and capabilities in those areas, but now we have much more control and direction with the brand.”

Look no further than Five Ten’s new ad campaign, spearheaded by Cole, to see some of the changes. The ads speak to the way the brand sees itself and the sports it caters to: risky, irreverent, fun. One especially stands out; it’s a retro 1950s poster of a mother and small boy with the tag line: “Now Dean, if all your friends decide to jump off a cliff — would you?” The reference is to longtime Five Ten icon Dean Potter, famed for free soloing and base-jumping off mountains.

That new attitude will not just come out in the brand’s advertising, but also in its product moving forward, taking full advantage in spring 2015. According to Cole and Barker, Five Ten will continue to run with climbers in the climb category and bikers in the bike category … and a new focus on what the two call “risk hiking.”

--Doug Schnitzspahn

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