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Volcom: The Story Of An Action Sports Giant

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Volcom: The Story Of An Action Sports Giant

In the world of action sports, a few companies fly above the rest. These companies are not only at the top of the action sports gear industry, but have huge presences in the apparel industry and overall sporting goods industry. Unlike many clothing lines, these companies grew their business on the streets and in skateparks, before making their way onto Wall Street. There are many action sports companies that are now traded publicly, with business people seeing the market potential of skaters, snowboarders, and those who wear their uniforms as being an exciting moneymaking prospect.

Most of these action sports companies start with a hope and a dream, and they had to struggle through some growing pains on their way up. Companies like DC, Birdhouse, and many more were once the dreams of skaters who were at the skate park. There are few companies, though, that can match Volcom in either name recognition or product quality. Quickly becoming one of the top action sports apparel companies after it launched, Volcom is now traded on the stock market and beloved all around the world. Volcom started as a dream, and is now a huge earner.

The Start of Something Big

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In 1991, with massive amounts of snow carpeting the landscape, Richard Woolcott and Tucker Hall departed on an amazing snowboard trip that would turn into something much bigger. Hall had just lost his job, but was determined to enjoy the Lake Tahoe trip that he took every year. Woolcott and Hall made it to Tahoe, marvelling at the quality of the snow. Richard called in to work and lied about being snowed in at Tahoe, just so that he could keep riding the incredible powdered slopes. It was the first time the two had experienced snow of that quality, and they quickly became addicted.

At the end of the trip, Woolcott ended up quitting his job so that he could spend more time snowboarding. Though he and Hall had discussed starting an apparel company while on the trip, it wasn’t until later that spring that they decided to start making t-shirts. At first, the shirts were really just sold as a way to fund the pair’s newfound love of snowboarding, with both taking every opportunity they could to go off adventuring and finding new places to ride. The first year, Volcom’s sales topped out at $2,600 dollars, with the company being run out of Woolcott’s bedroom, and sales out of Hall’s bedroom. The whole company was started with just a modest $5,000 dollar investment from Richard’s dad.

Volcom’s business took off, and continued to grow rapidly over the next four years. In 1995, Volcom was the first clothing company to have its own record label, Volcom Entertainment. They developed a great relationship with the Van’s Warped Tour, and soon the Volcom Stage joined the tour.

Volcom Goes Public On Wall Street

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Volcom soon became one of the biggest clothing companies in the action sports world. They were making clothing not only for boarders, but high-end clothing that could be worn in classier situations. Not only was Volcom becoming a great skateboard and snowboard company, they were growing a presence in the world of fashion. It all started to show in their yearly earnings, and other companies started taking note.

The year 2005 was an important one for Volcom. With the underwriting of Wachovia Securities, Volcom Inc. became a publicly traded company on the stock market. The initial public offering for Volcom was held on June 29, 2005, with 4.69 million stocks on offer for $19 each. The IPO helped raise $89 million dollars for Volcom, allowing it to continue to expand. With the expansion of Volcom progressing so quickly, they were able to acquire their first company, Electric Vision, a producer of snowboarding goggles and sunglasses, for $23.5 million dollars. This helped Volcom grow faster and wider than anyone had ever expected.

The Massive Acquisition By Kering

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In May of 2011, French clothing giant Kering offered to buy Volcom for $24.50 dollars a share. Volcom decided to take the offer, making it a subsidiary of Kering. This also increased Volcom’s value to $608 million dollars. Because of the deal, Volcom has been able to branch out into areas that they haven’t been in before. Volcom now produces both Women’s and Men’s shoes, and has  become heavily involved in the world of snowboarding gear, producing their own line of boards. Kering buying Volcom really allowed the company to expand its influence into areas which they would not have otherwise been able to.

The Volcom Team

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Volcom sponsors some of the most impressive professional athletes in skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, and motocross. The Volcom team boasts some of the biggest names in the action sports world, including Rune Glifberg, Geoff Rowley, Kevin Pearce, Gigi Ruf, and Alex Grey, just to name a few. The company has the reach that it takes in order to support and promote these athletes effectively. The Volcom name continues to grow, as athletes release videos, compete all over the world, and endorse products, all under the Volcom banner.

Volcom Retail Stores Around The World

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Volcom decided in 2002 to create its own retail presence, creating the Volcom store. Not only did Volcom want to bring their products to the masses in America, but they had a vision to make their stores into a worldwide brand. Volcom now has stores in France,  Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, Thailand, England, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Portugal, Germany, Canada, and Guam. It also has a number of outlet stores all over the world, with the total number of Volcom retail locations standing at 38. The stores make up much of Volcom’s great number of employees, with the company now employing over 500 people.

The Future of Volcom

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It has been something of an amazing journey for the company on its way to becoming a worldwide giant in the world of action sports, clothing, and retail, and it will be fun for fans of the brand to see where Volcom goes in the future. Recent quarterly earnings have been promising for this company, and with French giant Kering now backing it, Volcom shouldn’t be going away any time soon. This is a company that has worked hard to brand themselves over the years, and with that Volcom Stone logo, they have made millions. It’s proof that a small idea can turn into a very big one. With just the right idea and enough work, you can start a company from your bedroom and see it turn into a worldwide phenomenon.

It’s fun to think of what Volcom will be doing in the future, with easy guesses pointing to surfboards or snowboard boots as new avenues the company might explore. With its new developments in shoes and snowboards, we can see that Kering is trying to make Volcom into much more than the t-shirt and jeans company it was for so long. In a few years,  we could see Volcom becoming a big competitor within the footwear industry, competing against companies like Nike, DC, Adiddas, and more. Volcom has turned itself into a company that is here to stay, its founder’s dreams of exploring the outdoors in style right at the heart of its success.

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