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CCS Girl's Catalog - Retailers recognize female skaters ...and their money?

CCS Girls catalog

Women work. Women earn. Women shop. Women skate.

If you were examining these statements in a marketing meeting, you might conclude that women can be earners, spenders and athletes. In this same meeting you might realize that female athletes are a growing market that needs to be tapped (no pun intended). Alas, most executives aren't very smart, so the launch of female oriented action sport offerings are sketchy at best.

"Do girls skate?" asks the Marketing Director at this meeting.

I doubt the participants of any such meeting would have a good answer, but lets see if we can't figure it out for ourselves...
Women are professional skateboarders. Women are sponsored by large skateboard companies. Women own and operate small and large skateboard companies. Women are featured in mainstream skateboard videos and magazines. Women film and produce their own skateboard videos. women produce their own skateboard magazines. Women create skateboard foundations. Women create and participate in skateboard competitions. Women participate in the X-Games. Women win these events. Women who do these things often do other things too, like Snowboarding BMX, Motocross, Surfing, Wakeboarding, BASE Jumping and Car Racing.

Yes, women do skate!

Vanessa Torres in the CCS Girls catalog
Vanessa Torres, in the CCS Girl catalog, was the first women to win an X-games gold medal.

CCS to the Rescue?

CCS Girls

Sure, Active Mailorder has had a Girls catalog for a while, but CCS seems to be the big-boy of sk8 retail. They send me endless catalogs (almost as bad as LL Bean's catalog assault) and I rarely buy from them. CCS' new girls catalog might just wake some folks up to the importance of the female market in action sports.

Many shops are starting to carry more girls gear and section off parts of their shops for girl's stuff. Seeing a big player like CCS try to take a bite out of their profits, may make them see the value of girls. Lets look at what the CCS girl's catalog really is. It's not just a feminization of the regular catalog. It's not just girly-inspired deck graphics and pink trucks.

Vanessa Torres in the CCS Girls

In fact, it doesn't really look "Sk8" at all. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but here's my take (as a guy).

I don't know too many female skaters, but those I've talked with and interviews I've read with chicks like the VVC crew all say they don't want to be treated differently than the guys, they just want product that's more suited to them as females in the same sport as the guys. Does that translate into pastel colored skull graphics on a dress or do they want a slightly lighter weight deck to suit their style of skating. Pretty different views, eh?

All the pics on this page are from the first CCS Girls Catalog. If you casually flip through the actual catalog, you might not even know it's a girl's sk8 catalog. Most of the images are fashion shots - not the sort of pix girls see in Check It Out magazine or the former SG Mag.

Sk8 -vs- Fashion

If you ask me - I'm aware you haven't - most of the shots in this catalog could just as easily appear in a Macy's, JC Penny or TJ Max catalog. Most of these fashion shots look as if getting a skateboard in the shot was an afterthought. “Hey, hold this skateboard and we'll get another shot".

CCS Girls

On the other hand, there are a few pages of skate shoes, t-shirts, decks and hardware. They seem to be trolling for a wide audience - both dress-wearers and hardcore rippers (not that they're mutually exclusive). It would be refreshing to find a girl who can kickflip a 5-stair and don a little black dress over dinner. Or maybe that's just my fantasy dream-girl. Anyway...

If a Women's market is to flourish, major players, like CCS, have to be in the game. Retail marketing is more about telling people what they should buy, rather than presenting options. People get overloaded and need direction... but skateboarding is different, as are most action sports. If you're a female skater, then you already think differently than most people. You probably think more independently than most consumers. If you need new bearings, you go buy them. If you want a sexy new dress, you'll just go buy one. Or maybe you just want to hang out in a pair of comfortable jeans. And possibly you're lounging around clad only in a silk thong as you peruse the phonebook for a new skate shop - sorry, I'm fantasizing again.
Put some pants on and go skate!

My Conclusion

No woman needs a skate company to complete her wardrobe - unless you're really brand conscious. Female skaters need industry support so better product will be developed with them in mind - i.e.: lighter boards and trucks and sk8 clothing that fit their bodies better while thrashing. A dress with the Spitfire logo or capri pants with a barb wire pattern don't make for better female athletes. Besides, Hot Topic has all that crap already.

Soft goods carry higher margins which is why you see more girl's clothing than anything else when a shop says they cary "Girls Products". Money talks, BS walks. The advancement of female athletes is important from personal, logistical and marketing viewpoints. Doing it right is another story.

I wish CCS and others who cary women's skate products the best. However, I think it will be a female-owned skate company or shop that really pulls it off. Who knows women better than women? Not us guys, that's for sure. Forge ahead ladies, make your world the place you wanna be. That's what it's all about for everyone.

Go for it! Start a new business, then go skate!

CCS Girls CCS Girls
CCS Girls

Wow, over 225 new items for girls in April ‘07! Check out the products (at right) that CCS thinks girls need as the warm weather approaches for another season of skating. Swimwear!?! WTF? I vaguely recall CSS being a skateboard company - now with a girls line. How many skater girls do you know who want to buy a new bikini from a skateboard retailer?

I'm all for gals in bikinis (i'm partial to thongs, if you were to ask me), but is this the message an alleged sk8 company should be sending to girls? Girls should get some new board-shorts and go sk8!

CCS Girls

"Lookit! Lookit! We have skateboards!"

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