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Tip of the Day - 7 Niche Markets to Target Swimwear

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Stitches magazine found seven cool niche markets that want decorated swim gear now.

1. Pro sports. Lori Coulter, president and CEO of Lori Coulter LLC (asi/46771), says professional sports teams in the NFL and Major League Baseball are buying bikinis – but fortunately, not for the players. “We get a lot of requests from cheerleading teams, particularly for professional teams,” she says. “They may do a calendar and need everybody in the same swimsuit.”

2. Car and boat dealerships. Coulter also sells some of her skimpier swimwear to high-end auto and boat dealers for what she calls the “age-old image” of an attractive woman standing next to a shiny new car or boat to add appeal for the consumer. “The dealerships are very interested,” she says. “If a decorator has a relationship with a dealer, it’s an easy add-on to the account – so decorate a branded Lexus or Porsche bikini that models can wear for an event.”

3. Fishing. Stan Rudman, a principal owner of Sportailor Inc. (asi/88796), has taken advantage of the fishing industry’s newfound interest in swimwear via one of its brands, Hook and Tackle Outfitters. “The fishing guys are wearing boardshorts,” he says. “My company came out with boardshorts for the fishing industry, but added features to make it fit into that industry, like utility pockets. They can also be sold to beach stores.”

4. High schools. John Amsterdam, president of Neet Feet Inc. (asi/73525), says flip-flops have come a long way in terms of popularity, both in swimwear and in general fashion. “At first they started as a novelty,” he says. “They’ve become more mainstream and visible, from celebrities wearing them to the Northwestern University championship women’s lacrosse team showing up at the White House with flip-flops.”

5. High fashion. Who knew that flip-flops are high fashion? “We do private-label projects for retail customers,” Amsterdam says. “One of our biggest customers is a top New York City fashion designer and we do flip-flops for his retail stores.”

6. Lifeguards. At municipal swimming pools, lifeguards have always been a popular target in terms of swimwear, but Gulbenkian says business is picking up in this area. “This has been a growing market,” he says. “Drownings are up, and people are a lot more safety-conscious. What’s the first safety item at a pool? It’s the lifeguard, just as the policeman is the first safety item downtown.”

7. Swim teams. “The competitive swim-team market grew a little bit after the Olympics and Michael Phelps, no question,” Gulbenkian says. “What is growing is a solid swimsuit with the individual team logo on it.”

From Stitches’ February 2010 cover story, “Suit Up


2 Comments

  1. Surge Promotions Says:

    We sell quite a bit of swimwear and team apparel to school swim teams. It’s become a huge profit center for us at Surge Promotions.

    Monday February 15, 2010
  2. Eric M. Says:

    Shocks me that fishing industry is now a hot niche market for swimwear-good to know with fishing season upcoming!

    Monday February 15, 2010

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