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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Old Guys Rule Brand Targets Boomers Abroad for Expansion

Old Guys Rule Brand Targets Boomers Abroad for Expansion

APPAREL: Sales in Germany, Spain, South Africa, others eyed

Golf-inspired shirt: brand has more than 700 designs.  Craig:"Baby boomers are a growing niche in the apparel market"
Golf-inspired shirt: brand has more than 700 designs. Craig:"Baby boomers are a growing niche in the apparel market"
A clothing brand geared toward Southern California baby boomer surfers is looking to Europe and other global markets for growth.
San Clemente-based OGR International Inc., which owns the Old Guys Rule brand, is looking to build business in Europe as its British licensee pursues sales in Finland, Sweden, Germany, France and Spain.
The licensee also is looking to start sales in South Africa.
Besides the U.S., Old Guys Rule clothes now are sold in Canada, Britain and Australia.
“We are constantly looking for new venues without shooting ourselves in the foot and hurting the people we started with,” founder Don Craig said.
The brand began as a tribute to Craig’s father and his surfing buddies.
“We always intended the brand to be worn as a badge of honor, which is the way it had been accepted,” he said. “Baby boomers are a growing niche in the apparel market.”
Craig’s main licensee, Ventura’s Streamline Designs & Silkscreen Inc., produces Old Guys Rule T-shirts, sweatshirts and caps. The products are sold through stores of Coraopolis, Pa.-based Dick’s SportingGoods Inc., Minnesota’s Gander Mountain Co. and others.
In all, more than 1,400 stores carry the brand.
The OGR brand is estimated to do about $10 million in yearly revenue.
Craig has a long history with surf-inspired clothing. He started out as one of the first sales representatives for Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc.
His relationship with Quiksilver Chief Executive Bob McKnight led to stints with Costa Mesa-based Rip Curl Inc. and Hawaii’s Hawaiian Island Creations Inc.
Craig was working as a sales representative for private label apparel companies when he created Old Guys Rule as a joke for his father and his friends.
“It was a fluke,” Craig said.
His father and friends were known as the “three wise men” at San Onofre Surf Beach. They mentored Craig on life, money and where to sit in the lineup for waves.
Craig created a bumper sticker to honor them and handed it out to surfers and others who knew of them.
The brand crystallized on a visit to a retailer in the South Bay for another company. The retailer spied the bumper sticker and inquired about buying 100 of them. T-shirts followed.
“It took off,” Craig said.
The brand started out with three designs in 2003. It now counts more than 700.
“We have about 150 of those active, with new designs introduced every year,” Craig said.
The brand has moved beyond surfers with designs for fans of fishing, racing, golf, winter sports, road trips, even beer.
“I realized early on that not everybody’s dad surfs,” Craig said.
The company is looking into designs based on Nascar, football and other sports, according to Craig.
A deal with the Newport Beach-based John Wayne Cancer Foundation that allows use of John Wayne images has been among the brand’s top sellers.
“We’ve got about seven designs with John Wayne and about four of them are in the top 10,” Craig said.
As a smaller brand, Old Guys Rule has grown through the clothing industry’s slump, which hit surf-inspired companies hard.
“Even through the recessionary period, we managed to hold our own, growing a little bit each year for the last three to four years,” Craig said.
This year, Craig stepped aside as the brand’s Southern California sales representative to focus on the growth and direction.
He recently brought on Tom Gudauskas, formerly of Hawaii’s Local Motion Hawaii Inc., to handle the sales.
“We have about 35 sales reps who are working with our network of retailers to move product,” Craig said.


OGR International, Inc.
123 Avenida San Pablo
San Clemente, CA  92672
Ph. 949-492-1988
Email:  robicraig@cox.net