SurfStitch – Live Offline, Shop Online

SurfStitch - TV CommercialInitially leveraging Australia’s iconic beach and surf culture, SurfStitch now claims to be the world’s largest online action sports fashion business.  Founded in 2008 by Australians Lex Pedersen and Justin Cameron out of a backyard shed on the surfing beaches of Northern Sydney, SurfStitch has grown rapidly to represent over 500 brands and 20,000 products.  It’s even outgrown its original focus on surfwear, street fashion and accessories to include whole new categories, such as snow-related products, like goggles and helmets, as well as other Outdoor items, like GoPro.  Its not stopping at Australia, either, having recently launched SurfStitch Europe to compete against the likes of Blue Tomato, a more ski and snowboard orientated online retailer.

SurfStitch’s rise has won it a number of awards, including 4th in the 2011 Deloitte Technology Fast 50, which ranks 50 of Australia’s fastest growing technology companies, and was awarded 2012 Australian Online Retailer of the Year, as well as being acknowledged for best site optimisation and design.  SurfStitch is also a hit with consumers as witnessed by the more than 332,000 “likes” on Facebook at the time of this article.

SurfStitch - WarehouseFor products, it’s hard to find a more comprehensive offering for the core surfwear, skate and street fashion and associated accessories.  The big surf brands such as Billabong, Roxy, Rip Curl and Quiksilver are all represented, of course, with many of the products being housed in a massive warehouse on Australia’s Gold Coast surfing hotspot for distribution throughout the country (with a similar warehouse in Hossegor, France, one of the European surfing centres, to cover SurfStitch Europe).  While the company’s product offering in the Outdoor and Snowsports Industries is still minimal, particularly for hardware, such as skis, boots, bindings and so forth, there is a growing number of big names getting on-board, such as Nike, Adidas, Oakley, The North Face, Patagonia, Timberland, Burton, Dakine and many more.

Behind the scenes is Billabong International, which invested in the company in 2009, and upped their shareholding to 51% in 2012.  Billabong also owns Swell.com, a similar online retailer to SurfStitch covering the US and Canada. Where SurfStitch goes next, including the recent talk of a possible Initial Public Offering (IPO), will potentially depend on Billabong’s assessment of its own e-commerce strategy.

Don Jurries

Featured Photos:  SurfStitch Media Images

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