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Vittoria Shoes to launch helmets, eyewear

Published July 22, 2012

BIELLA, Italy (BRAIN) Monday July 23 2012 —Vittoria Cycling Shoes has bolstered its in-house engineering and design team as it prepares to launch its first helmet and eyewear lines at this year’s fall trade shows.

Over the past year the Italian-made shoe brand has worked to rebuild business in the U.S., growing its dealer base from about 100 in spring 2011 to just under 400 this July, said U.S. sales manager Michael Musil.

Now it’s expanding the brand by entering the highly competitive helmet and eyewear categories. But Musil believes its manufacturing story and flexible stocking programs—no minimum order requirements—will go a long way.

“There are a lot of people out there that love our shoes and the quality of our shoes and will hopefully buy our helmets because they’re being made to the same standards,” said Musil. “Edoardo Vercelli (the founder’s son) is very interested in expanding the brand and making sure we’re not missing out on opportunities.”

The company began thinking about expanding into both categories last summer and recruited four new people. “The idea was to have something else as a way into a store as well as to showcase what we can do as a company in other areas,” Musil said.

Unlike shoes, which are all made in its factory in Biella, Italy, manufacturing of the helmets and eyewear will be outsourced to European and Asian factories.

The helmet line’s colors and graphics are still being finalized but the initial product offering will consist of five road and mountain models in about a dozen colors. Retail prices will range from around $75 to $200-$250. Vittoria was also still putting the final touches on the colors, graphics and styles of its eyewear but the goal was to have final production models to show at Eurobike and Interbike.

“We want to move forward with products we think we can do and do well,” Musil said. “The (Vercelli) family, they’re always interested in moving forward with new things, new materials and new technology for making shoes not just lighter but more breathable. And now we’re applying that to helmets and eyewear.”

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