Netti is Australia’s oldest cycling Apparel Company, having been incorporated in 1967.
In recent years the market has become much more crowded with increased competition from both new domestic and international brands.
Bicycling Trade recently spoke to SOLA Sport General Manager John Tsekouras about what they’ve been doing to hold their own in the growing, but super-competitive cycle clothing market.
Bicycling Trade: What’s your strategy for Netti going forward?
John Tsekouras: We’re repositioning the brand and we’re bringing it back to the basics of where it started. Netti was a very good entry level, medium price level, high quality, value for money product and we’re bringing it back to that.
We’ve re-identified our market. The Netti market is a relaxed, looser fit, high visibility garment appealing to the demographic that it’s aimed at.
We’ve repositioned the pricing as well. We’ve a pricing waterfall that has competitive price points, but not sacrificed any of the quality features.
There’s a lot of pedigree with the brand, because it was Australia’s oldest cycling apparel brand people know it and are comfortable with it. They have a confidence Netti and what we’ve done now is we’ve reinforced that confidence with key price points and contemporary styling.
BT: Who’s your typical Netti dealer?
JT: The typical Netti dealer for us is probably not a high-end road bike store. It is the entry to mid-level store. It is the stores that cater for first time and mid-level riders as well as the commuter market. We’re very strong with women and we’re also very strong with children.
We’re one of the only brands that caters for children, and we do a range of knicks, jerseys and helmets and gloves for kids and they’re all price pointed at $39.99.
BT: Is it still possible to make a margin at that sort of price point?
JT: Yes, because of our relationships with the factories and the fact that the factories are competitive as well. If they’re making for some of the larger European and American companies, they’re buying lots of fabric, they have a lot of production space and we just tag into the back of that. There are economies of scale and we need to be conscious of that when we deal with our factories. The key element for us right now is sourcing, which allows us to give our customers value for money and still be able to stay on top of both fashion and material developments.
BT: Do you offer the dealer the same margin on everything from an adult jersey through to a children’s?
JT: Absolutely. In fact we’ve increased their margin and reduced our price points and given them better quality.
BT: Are you looking at doing custom kit orders, going forward?
JT: Customs clothing is an important part of our business as well. We were the pioneers of custom clothing in Australia. In fact we used to manufacture locally, but now it’s all gone offshore.
There are still a few companies in Australia that make custom clothing locally, but they’re phasing out because their pricing is uncompetitive. Another issue for them is their access to the latest technology, materials, etc is more limited than an Asian factory because they can’t renew it here quickly and in a cost effective manner.
We’re going back to the basics on custom printing as well. We’ve repositioned that. We have three fit structures in custom. We have a Race, Elite and Core fit. The majority of our orders come out of the core and elite fit.
BT: How do Netti and Cinettica fit together?
JT: Because of our repositioning of Netti in the market, we stop Netti at a $79.99 retail price point for jerseys. Our bibs are $79 and $89 and they stop there. Jersey retail recommended price waterfall is $39, $49, $59, $69, $79 and the Nix are $39, $49, $59 with the shy shorts at$59, $69, $79. That’s it. They’re really sweet price points for that commuter/mass market.
Then you move into Cinettica. Cinettica takes over where Netti stops and is aimed at the high end road bike market. Cinettica has European styling, all the fabrics are high grade fabric, mostly out of Italy. So we’re using high end European fabrics such as Miti and Coolmax.
All the chamois in Cinettica bibs and knicks are Cytech chamois out of Italy. Again they are probably the most famous chamois maker in the world. We start at a recommended retail of $89 for a Jersey and then go to $129, $139 , then $129, $139 in the nix and $179 for the bibs, its a very tight range. We do a $99 vest and a $119 spray jacket and we also do a $159 thermal, waterproof, wind proof jacket.
We’ve restyled Cinettica so we have featured a classic retro look and colours. They’re a tighter fit than Netti but they’re not a race fit, they’re an elite fit that’s aimed squarely at the road market.
A high end road bike rider will buy Cinettica whereas a commuter and an intermediate entry-level rider will buy Netti.