Windsong Allegiance Group, which owns the 165 year-old Hathaway brand, best known as a better men's dress and sport shirt resource, announces a new, go-forward strategy. "Our company is committed to broadening the Hathaway legacy," says Bill Sweedler, CEO of Windsong Allegiance Group, "whose dedicated work force through the years has insured the brand's quality and integrity. We believe Hathaway is as American as apple pie and blue jeans, and has enormous brand equity. The man in the eye patch is an icon still today."
The Group plans to build upon that image with a new marketing campaign using today's celebrities, athletes and tastemakers. The campaign is being created by the same award-winning team, which works for the Group's other proprietary brands.
"We are aggressively pursuing strategic licensing partners in all product categories," adds Sweedler, "including home furnishings, tailored clothing, hosiery, footwear, belts, accessories and a new partner for dress shirts. In fact, we are finalizing an exclusive outerwear license agreement with DDK International Inc. DDK is the largest outerwear importer in Canada and is growing rapidly in the United States. "We sell to all major U.S. department stores," says DDK, CEO Hershey Gold, "and we feel that Hathaway has great potential, its brand recognition knows no borders."
Earlier this year the Hathaway Sportswear Collection was launched at 300 retail stores including the Bon Ton, Parisians, Younkers, Carsons and Belk. Sleepwear, loungewear and underwear are also a natural progression since the Group also owns JOE BOXER(R) and Change Daily!(R).
This American brand, however, will no longer be made exclusively in the United States. The Waterville Shirt Company in Maine closed this month, which made the Hathaway dress shirts and other private labels. Windsong Allegiance purchased the factory and brand in October 2001. The Group spent the majority of 2002 procuring private label business to fill the open capacity, but without success and even going so far as offering to donate all the manufacturing equipment within the plant to any party who could operate and bring business into the facility.
The facility was simply not able to compete with overseas competition. "The world, and retail in particular, has changed since last year," adds Jay Shaw, COO of Windsong Allegiance Group. "We sincerely thought we would be able to obtain the business necessary to keep the plant running in this downturn economy, but aside from Wal-Mart and Dillard's, who supported the Waterville plant, we were not able to secure any other commitments for large volume private-label orders for the Waterville factory. Not being awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force was a giant blow to the Waterville Shirt Factory."
Today, Hathaway's future looks bright. "Even in today's tough retail environment," states Shaw, "a brand with great equity and roots is always embraced by the consumer. It is our goal to continue to make the Hathaway brand, one of America's oldest, a premier apparel resource. We're looking to reinvent this classic and introduce it to a new generation. We hope to make the hard work and dedication of all who have worked for Hathaway past, present and future, a symbol of what the brand becomes."
The Group's proposed advertising strategy and product assortment is the start of a new chapter of history for this 165 year-old brand.
Windsong Allegiance Group, LLC is a privately owned, multi-faceted men's, women's and children's apparel company. The Group owns Hathaway, JOE BOXER(R), Change Daily!(R), Pivot Rules and Navy Cutter trademarks. Alexander Julian, Geoffrey Beene, Ron Chereskin, Stanley Blacker and Robert Stock are exclusively licensed. The Group distributes apparel through every channel of distribution including better department stores, specialty stores, mid-tier and mass merchants in the U.S. and Canada
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