Quiksilver is one of the pioneer groups in the surfing equipment market. I am keen on the sport and have been working in this sector for the last 3 years, in the area of "Environment and Society (Quiksilver Quiksilver Initiative and Foundation since 2008). It is a service attached to the Directorate General of Europe, where I am in charge of organization of events and interventions in Western France (Brittany). I am thus detached from associations with partners of the Foundation with which I was previously involved, namely ANSEL (Social Inclusion and Protection of Environment) and Surfrider Foundation Europe (Environment Protection).
Restructuring activities were carried out recently by the group, and the lack of information relating to these restructurings (even intra-group) has complicated the drafting of the dossier; the situation of the group is set to change on some issues (including the posting of staff in the Rossignol Group in 2009 and the resignation of Bernard Mariette).
My involvement in the group forced me to make "public" information "private". However, to publish this issue and reflect a true picture of the group's strategy today, official sources were supplemented by sources inside the company. Thus this issue may be treated as a first step in the strategic analysis of the history of the group, and subsequently its current status.
The story begins in 1969 with the Quiksilver factory in Torquay in Australia, with a certain Alan Green working on a prototype of shorts designed specifically for surfing. He removed everything that seemed superfluous to a pair of shorts (zipper, buttons) and used materials such as Velcro, and tissues derived from technology utilized in the manufacture of wetsuits. Alan Green developed the first real swimming shorts, called "boardshort.
The company Quiksilver was created by Alan Green and another surfer John Law in 1970 which marketed the "boardshort" and a range of clothing to the surfers in Australia; at the time, the surfing gear market was uncompetitive and the company quickly became a resounding success in Australia. The limited financial resources then available encourage the company to opt for a strategy of (relative) direct marketing by seeking direct surf shops. The first Hawaiian surf shop to trust Quiksilver is the Lightning Bolt Shop.
Quickly overwhelmed by this method of "artisanal" and limited distribution, Alan Green and John Law in 1976 conceded a license to two other Quiksilver surfers: Jeff Hackmann and Bob McKnight. Jeff Hackmann was the then double world champion of surfing while Bob McKnight was a newly churned out management graduate from the University of Southern California.
Despite a slightly risky debut - the two men sold their shorts in the back of trucks parked on the beaches of Newport Beach - some 600 shorts developed by the Australian firm were sold during the first 9 days, proving the success of the company in the USA.
The internationalization strategy of the Australian firm took a new turn by focusing on contracting and licensing on other continents.
Tags: Internationalization strategy of Quicksilver, Surfing equipment market, Alan Green, Jeff Hackmann
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