Distributor Profile: Ponyride
** This interview was originally featured on CUT & SHOW 22 October 2009
This week, the east coast was on our radar once again. We chatted with Nial Neven of Ponyride, getting the history of his distribution company as well as hearing his thoughts on the industry.
Q: So who is Nial and how did you get here? Into this business, we mean.
NN: I was introduced to this business by my very good friend and former associate, Avi Tenzer. Avi has had a very long and impressive career in Canada, beginning with his first job as design director for Le Chateau in the late '70s and early '80s, followed by his involvement in creating the BACC concept with the Aldo group in '80s. He then went on to consult for Canada’s most important retailers. Toward the end of the '90s, we decided to create a boxer collection called Ponyride, which was geared for the streetwear market and, more specifically, skate shops. The prints were inspired by retro surf/skate board design, pin up girls and music and were very popular among our friends as we ended giving more away than anything else. My first introduction to the distribution business came from my cousin in Spain who offered me a fantastic collection that to this day we represent called Muchacha.
Q: Give us the downlow on Ponyride -- where did the name come from?
NN: Ponyride was inspired by a very naughty claymation video that I had seen in Amsterdam.
Q: What's on your brand roster?
NN: Colcci, Badgely Mischka hand bags, Designers Remix, Grendha Jelly, Ipanema by Gisele Bundchen, Ipanema, Kill Doll, Muchacha, Nanny State, Shellys of London and Spoom.
Q: As we all know, the industry constantly changes. What's different about it to you, from when you first started?
NN: The industry has changed quite bit since I began. For one thing, agents and distributors cannot count on doing the business with only a few collections, as it was in the past. Back then, retailers bought into collections. Now they buy items from collections, which means that we have to offer more in order to do the same business. One thing that needs to change is how we support our retailers. Our counterparts in Europe have changed they way they do business in order to support the retailer and increase sales at the same time. As it stands, retailers here end up getting shipped everything at once and end up paying for everything at once, which chokes them up with payments. The ideal scenario would be for our retailers to take multiple drops from specific deliveries, which keeps the store fresh with new merchandise while extending their payments over a prolonged period of time.
Q: How are you feeling going into 2010?
NN: Very optimistic! Spring '09 turned out to be quite good for many our customers, despite all the fear mongering that took place last September. Quebec ended up being the number one territory in terms of sales, as it was the province least affected by the economic crisis. Usually, the west is the best.
Q: What things do you see trending, in terms of style, silhouette and fabric?
NN: Florescent neon, futuristic geometric shapes, rocker/motorcycle, vintage and lots of denim.
Q: What is it about this business that keeps you going?
NN: Working with products that are always evolving...and travelling!
Q: Speaking of travelling, any favorite fashion-forward cities?
Q: What trade shows can people see you at?
NN: Project, Coterie, MICAM, D&A and Bread & Butter.
Q: Any exciting news you can share about Ponyride for the upcoming season or year?
NN: Yes, we have some great new brands that we are introducing this season: Shellys of London, Badgely Mischka hand bags, Kill Doll and Nanny State.
Q: And on the topic of music -- because we here at cut & SHOW are obsessed with it! -- what's rotating on your agency stereo right now?
NN: Sirius CBC 3 and Shade 45.
- May Globus