Headquartered in Oceanside, the privately-owned premium apparel and accessories brand recently opened a 1,600 square foot store in Long Beach. A third 1,600 square foot location (the company has a 1,000 square foot shop that launched in Encinitas in December) is scheduled to open in Oceanside in October, followed by another in the Inland Empire. A fifth location will launch in Tokyo, Japan, in November.
Phases of Growth
“Brixton has grown in a few phases,” said Peck, who joined the team in 2019 following stints at Oakley and Under Armour. “The original phase of robust growth took place between 2007 and 2014 and was driven around key item styling. Some of our styles got so big and the brand was so well positioned at the time. Between 2014 and 2018, the endemic space of skate and surf started to shrink, and I think that impacted Brixton. A lot of big surf brands became quite over distributed and it made the small guy, like us, special again.
“Phase two of our growth started in 2019, when we professionalized our team and rebuilt the management team,” he continued, adding that private equity firm Altamont Capital brought him in after it acquired the company in 2014. “Since 2019 until now, we have been back on an aggressive, robust growth phase… most importantly, creating the physical manifestation of the brand. Our retail strategy is a core strategy to ensure we give a 360-degree view of what Brixton has to offer.”
Brixton was founded in 2004 by three Southern California friends in an Oceanside garage. Jason Young, David Stoddard and Mike Chapin originally ran the company as a hat manufacturer, operating solely via e-commerce and wholesale, the latter including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Tilly’s and Zumiez. It is also available in countless mom-and-pop shops, including San Diego Boardshop and Hansen Surfboards, among others.
In 2014, it was acquired by Altamont with the goal of aggressively growing the brand. Since then, Brixton has added a men’s line, a women’s line and accessories to its portfolio. It is sold in 5,500 doors globally, said Peck, including in Canada, Australia, Europe and the United States. It is looking to reach Latin America next, he said.
“Brixton has had multiple growth opportunities,” said Peck. “It’s a Southern California brand that grew out of the music space instead of the ‘sand-between-toes’ space. Most Southern California brands are about surfing and skating. But Brixton is more focused on the American lifestyle and that worked to propel the brand to appeal to larger audiences. This is what helped it scale. The second thing is no one was offering well made, branded headwear, like fedoras and caps - this was a wide open space. There was private label stuff that was cheap and expensive, higher end products, but no one lived in between. It was an incredible opportunity to grow the brand.”
The third element that put Brixton on the map was when music artist, record producer and fashion designer Pharrell Williams started to wear Brixton hats to red carpet events and while out casually. In 2016, Williams was photographed wearing Brixton’s Fiddler hat, a paperboy style cap, multiple times, for example.
Fender Guitars Partnership
Most recently and in line with its music roots, Brixton partnered with Fender Guitars for a unisex collection of vintage-inspired headwear. To introduce the collaboration, Brixton tapped psychedelic soul duo Black Pumas for the campaign.
Davide Mattuci, Brixton’s vice president of brand marketing, told Women’s Wear Daily last November about the partnership: “With many seeking comfort in music this year, it lined up well to partner with The Black Pumas to help us launch this artist-inspired collection as we showcased their throwback take on modern music and style both on and off the stage.”
CEO: Raphael Peck
BUSINESS: Premium apparel and accessories brand.
REVENUE: Privately-owned; reportedly $36M annually
EMPLOYEES: Roughly 125 globally
NOTABLE: Plans to open three or four more stores next year.