WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA (BRAIN) Tuesday April 17 2012 11:35 AM MT—Less than a year after launching its women’s-specific brand, Giant is investing more resources into the growing division with a new apparel and accessories designer, a second demo van to visit retailers and an expanding bike line.
The Liv/Giant brand replaced Giant for Women last August, and is now represented with its own fixtures and displays in 22 shops in the U.S. Giant aims to grow that number to 30 to 35 by the end of the year, said Jackie Baker, marketing manager for Liv/Giant.
Giant is also growing the range of Liv/Giant bikes with its new Anthem X 29w dual-suspension bikes, released this week, and recently hired accessories and apparel designer Uli Beator to develop a women’s-specific line of price-point performance shorts and jerseys.
Beator previously worked with Athleta and Luna and will create the first offerings for an eventual head-to-toe line of women’s-specific gear. The project is in its early stages, Baker said.
“We’re not taking a Voler jersey like we’ve done in the past and putting Liv on it,” Baker said. “We’re not taking something that’s already been created and branding it Liv. We’re literally doing a Liv collection from scratch.”
Baker said there’s a demand from retailers for Liv/Giant-branded apparel, as well as from brand loyal consumers who are looking to buy more than just the bike.
Giant is also supporting the women’s push with a second demo van and driver, who hit the road in February to visit retailers and attend events. Giant now has one van for the East Coast and one for the West Coast to spread the word about women’s product at events like the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, RAGBRAI and the Danskin Triathlon Series.
Ultimately, Baker sees Liv/Giant maturing into a stand-alone brand with a full line of helmets, apparel, gloves and a wider range of bikes to encompass entry-level to top-spec road and mountain bikes. Currently, Giant’s top women’s road bike is the Ultegra Di2 carbon fiber Avail 0 and the top spec’d mountain bike is the XT Anthem. Giant does not yet offer a carbon fiber mountain bike for women.
While Giant has done well in capturing the entry- to intermediate-level rider, Baker worries about losing that customer when she’s ready to take her riding to the next level.
“If we don’t give them that [high-end] option, we lose that brand loyalty then we have to struggle to bring them back,” she said.
Liv/Giant, which grew 30 percent in its first year, will greatly expand its high-performance bike options later this summer with its 2013 line, Baker said.