Apparel business partners with three distributors for 2012-13 season
Like most small businesses, Divas SnowGear was founded with a solution to a problem. But it was more than a generic issue, it was founder and president Wendy Gavinski’s own conundrum — she couldn’t find snowmobiling gear built with a woman’s fit.
“I like to ride, and I’m really girly, and I could never find a really cute snowsuit,” she said.
Suits in pink and purple were available, but they were usually men’s suits sized down for women, so Gavinski and her female riding friends often found themselves shopping for ski wear because it fit better. But the issue still arose that it wasn’t appropriate for snowmobiling, so Gavinski set out to design her own gear.
Divas SnowGear was founded in late 2009, and the company’s first line of casual gear came out during the 2010 snowmobiling season.
“We just did kind of a casual line just to get feedback from women,” she said. “I didn’t want to go into production of bulk outerwear until I knew this was something that people would buy.”
Divas traveled to snowmobile shows through the season, surveyed about 2,500 women and received positive feedback to what the company was pitching.
Riders said good quality and feminine fit and colors were important to them. Since Divas was headed in that direction, the company started production. Last year Divas produced a small run of gear, along with casual wear and accessories. Its Divine Jacket II was named one of Powersports Business’ Nifty 50 winners.
Though the company saw success last year, even getting into a few dealerships, its brand wasn’t well known, and the company had plenty of room to grow. But this year it’s seen tremendous growth. Dealers may have heard more about Divas SnowGear this summer, as three distributors picked up the brand for the coming snowmobile season.
Yamaha, Western Power Sports and Canada’s Gamma Sales will all be distributing Divas’ 2013 line through its dealerships.
“Now we will be in a lot of dealers, and it will be easier for dealers to carry our stuff,” Gavinski said.
With the Yamaha deal alone, Divas is adding 55 dealers to its network, and between Yamaha and WPS, Divas, which only has three employees, now has more than 40 reps helping sell its products.
Divas unveiled its 2013 lineup to the public in mid-July via Pinterest. The line has expanded, now including more than 40 different products. The outerwear line, including jackets and bibs that transform into pants, comes in three colors — eggplant, blue and grey. Gavinski designed each piece.
“I design it myself. I draw all the concepts, and then I send that to the factory to go off of,” she said.
Gavinski and Mayne believe by being in more stores, Divas will earn more brand recognition and increased sales. With three distributors now on board, more dealers will be selling the product, it can be shipped more quickly, and women will be able to find more colors and sizes in stores.
“Probably the most important thing it does is add credibility to our business,” Mayne said.
Gavinski said she has a collection of emails and letters from customers, thanking her for designing women-specific gear. She hopes Divas’ expanded distribution will not only mean more sales for her company, but it will also open doors for more women to become snowmobilers.