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

Are millennials reshaping politics in the Pacific Northwest?

News
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

MillennialsThumbA new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Small Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Monday, March 03, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.47 AM

Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.


Read more...

Downtime with Ron Green

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Ron Green became president and CEO of Oregon Pacific Bank in August 2013.


Read more...

Green eyeshades in the ivory tower

News
Friday, April 04, 2014
EducationCosts BlogBY ERIC FRUITS

The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?


Read more...

Barrister bands

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4691BY LINDA BAKER

An intellectual property attorney by day, 48-year-old Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong is a singer and guitarist by night.


Read more...

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


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