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

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

A Taste of Heaven

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Craft beer comes to Mount Angel.


Read more...

Knight Vision

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


Read more...

Tight and Loose

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

As schools implement more rigorous academic standards, holistic and flexible approaches to K-12 education flourish.


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