Home Back Issues February 2013 Hillsboro retailer serves young female athletes

Hillsboro retailer serves young female athletes

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013

BY LINDA BAKER

0213 FOB GamePlan AthleticApparel
Diana Marsden started Aries Apparel in Hillsboro in 2008 to target young female athletes.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

In 1972 Congress passed landmark Title IX legislation banning gender discrimination in public schools, be it academic or athletic. But according to Diana Marsden, a former broadcasting marketing manager in Durham, gender discrimination in sports still exists, at least in the year-round athletic apparel market for girls. Retailers “aren’t paying much attention to girls,” Marsden says. “It’s usually about boys, for boys.”

To even the playing field, in 2008 Marsden opened Aries Apparel, a Hillsboro-based brick-and-mortar and pop-up retailer targeting young female athletes. Her research appears to be paying off. In 2012, Aries grossed about $1 million. Last year, Marsden opened a second retail location in Clackamas Town Center, and she is exploring the possibility of opening a third store in Seattle.

During tournament season, Marsden says, girls who visit the store from out of town inevitably lament, “‘We really need a place like this in Bellingham; we need one in Boise.’”

Although Title IX became law 40 years ago, the effects are still playing out in the marketplace, says Marsden, adding that her customer base consists of girls whose moms were the first generation of girls to play Title IX sports. “I didn’t have that luxury,” says Marsden, who is 54.

The rise of club sports, which allow kids to play the same sport 12 months a year, is also driving business. In Portland, a mecca for athletic apparel retailers, there are other places to buy select girls’ athletic gear, Marsden says. “But no one is selling it in a concentrated place, and no one is selling it year-round.”

To help grow the business, Marsden follows a simple marketing strategy: Go where the girls are — on the court, in the pool, in the gym. About 20% of revenue comes from pop-up stores, which means her 14 employees help set up shop at about 100 sporting events a year. “We take our product out to soccer, volleyball games, cheer competitions, all in an effort to make girls aware of the store, and then to serve them where they are,” says Marsden.

Volleyball and general workout wear are Aries’ biggest sellers; the store also sells apparel for adult women. But in a store built around gender equality, Aries doesn’t leave the male sex out altogether. Men are Aries’ “tertiary demographic” for marketing dollars, says Marsden. “We love dads,” she says. “They want their daughters being active in sports.”

 

More Articles

Launch

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

October's Launch article features Soul Kitchen, Easy Company and Slick's Big Time BBQ.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

The short list: 5 hot coffee shops for entrepreneurs

Contributed Blogs
Friday, November 14, 2014

CupojoeBY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Oregon entrepreneurs reveal their favorite caffeine hangouts.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits announced

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

100NP14logo4WebOregon Business magazine has named the sixth annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS