Billabong is a lifestyle brand sports wear and
casual clothing manufacturer.
Billabong International Limited's core business is
the marketing, distribution, wholesaling and retailing of apparel,
accessories, eyewear, wetsuits and hardgoods in the boardsports sector
under the Billabong, RVCA, Element, Von Zipper, Honolua Surf Company,
Kustom, Palmers Surf, Xcel, Sector 9 and Tigerlilly brands.
Billabong International's products are licensed and
distributed in more than 100 countries and are available in
approximately 10,000 doors worldwide. Products are distributed through
specialized boardsports retailers and through the company's own branded
retail outlets. The majority of revenue is generated through
wholly-owned operations in Australia, North America, Europe, Japan, New
Zealand, South Africa and Brazil.
The Company's brands are marketed and promoted
internationally through association with high profile professional
athletes, junior athletes and special events.
Billabong was founded on Australia's Gold Coast
in 1973 by surfer and surfboard shaper Gordon Merchant and his
then partner, Rena. In the early days of the company the two
partners were designing boardshorts at home, cutting them out on the
kitchen table and then carting the finished product around to the local
surf shop to sell. The business found immediate traction, with
surfers drawn to the superior functionality of the Billabong boardshorts.
They were also far more durable courtesy of the unique
triple-stitching technique developed by Gordon. If you are
planning to develop your own lifestyle fashion brand, you may want to
learn more about
stitches & seams here on Apparel Search.
The next step for the fledgling brand was to
introduce the better local surfers to Billabong and incorporate them in
the marketing of the brand. Company-sponsored contests and special
events would later follow. By the 1980s, Billabong had firmly
established its place in Australian surf culture and was ready
for international expansion. The initial focus was on the large North
American market and, again, the brand enjoyed success.
Sales began to grow in other offshore markets,
licenses were granted in a number of territories including New Zealand,
Japan and South Africa, and in the late 1980s a new beachhead was
established in Europe.
Through the 1990s the surf industry grew
exponentially and professional surfing gained a newfound respectability.
The company also followed its core customers into other boardsports
markets, including skate, snow and wake, where it replicated its proven
business model. By the close of the decade, Billabong had been
restructured to capitalize on the growing global opportunities in the
The restructure set the foundation for an initial
public offering in Australia in mid-2000. The move saw the company's
shares publicly listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in August
2000. This gave the company greater impetus and the financial
capacity to grow the business.
Some seven months after the public float the
company demonstrated its growth plans with the acquisitions of the
Von Zipper sunglasses brand and, four months later, the
emerging Element Skateboards brand. The successful integration of
those businesses saw the company add to its stable of brands in
following years, with Honolua Surf Company acquired in January
2004, Kustom footwear and Palmers Surf in September 2004,
a controlling interest in the beachculture airport-retail business
in November 2005 (later converted to 100% ownership) and Nixon
watches and accessories in January 2006. Other businesses were also
established, including the Element footwear range and various branded
retail stores around the world.
In 2007 the Group continued to build its brand
portfolio with the acquisitions of the specialist wetsuit brand Xcel
and girls swimwear brand Tigerlily. This was followed in 2008
with the acquisition of the Sector 9 skateboard brand and the
DaKine premium boardsport accessories brand.
In late 2009 the Company formally entered the
online sales channel through the acquisition of US-based boardsport
retailer Swell.com and the purchase of an interest in Australia's
Surfstitch.com. In March 2010 the Company enhanced its skate
offer through the signing of an agreement to license the
California-based Plan B skateboard brand. This was followed in
July 2010 by the acquisition of the California-based RVCA brand,
the completion in September of the acquisition of the West 49
retail chain in Canada and the completion of the acquisitions of
Australia's Jetty Surf, Surf Dive 'n' Ski (SDS) and Rush
retail banners in November.
In February 2014 Billabong completed the
sale of its West 49 retail
chain in Canada.
In September 2014 Billabong completed the
sale of its 51%
stake in SurfStitch and its 100% ownership of Swell
to a consortium of investors including SurfStitch founders Justin
Cameron and Lex Pedersen allowing the Company to narrow its strategic
focus, invest in building its mono-brand ecommerce and omni-channel
businesses and pursue its strategic vision.
In the opinion of Apparel Search, after Billabong
went public, they went on an ill-advised buying spree. Apparently
in 2014 they got the hint and started making attempts to consolidate a
More information to follow soon.
You may want to learn more about
Lifestyle Fashion Brands such as Billabong.