Vans: Skating on Air (2002) Harvard Business School Case (Moon and Kiron)
Vans is best known for selling footwear and apparel to skateboarders, surfers, and other alternative sports athletes. In April 2002, Gary Schoenfeld, the CEO, is facing a number of challenges. With respect to footwear, he must decide what to do about two product lines that are struggling–the outdoor line of hiking shoes and the women’s collection. More broadly, Vans is currently embarking on a number of new ventures, some of with which the company has little experience. For example, Vans is in the process of promoting a full-length movie, creating its own record label, and working with video-game developers to develop games based on its sporting events. Traces the up-and-down history of a niche fashion brand in a market in which consumers are notoriously fickle. In recent years, the CEO appears to have revived the brand; however, it is unclear whether the company is in danger of losing its hardcore customer base as it ventures into the consumer mainstream.