May 1, 2014 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 12 comments
VC and Spin, two of the country’s largest ultimate-focused apparel companies, have finalized a merger that will bring the brands under one umbrella company, VCS Ultimate.
The move consolidates both companies’ market power on the east coast and will allow for increased production capacity and more aggressive sales.
“The idea to merge came to us last fall, after we co-merchandised the 2013 Triple Crown Tour championships,” said Spin President Dan Konisky. “As we began to work more closely together, we realized that we shared the same vision for the Ultimate apparel market, and that we would both benefit tremendously by joining forces. It’s incredibly exciting to be working with the most experienced team in the business. I have the utmost respect for the company and am continually impressed with the highest quality gear that VC has created over the last 16 years.”
The two companies have been working together on combined tournament merchandising projects since 2008, so merger discussions evolved naturally from there. Spin has also used some VC textiles for select apparel in recent years.
“The quality of [VC’s] gear is better than anything you can get anywhere,” said Konisky. Both VC and Spin — which will continue to operate as separate brands under their new parent company — will use the current VC apparel, produced in Canada, for their gear.
The merger also brings together the regional strengths of both companies. VC is based in Toronto and Chicago; Spin is located in Atlanta.
“We are opening a much larger facility in Atlanta, to handle much more customization and logistics for our American orders,” said VC Owner and Founder Adriana Withers.
US Operations will be headquartered in Atlanta, while VC’s current facility in Toronto will handle Canadian orders. The Chicago office will become an event management headquarters. “Our US team is doubling,” said Withers. “Not only are we bringing two groups together, we’re also going to be hiring aggressively over the next few months…This is really going to create a big hub in the middle of the country.”
The new company hopes to take advantage of the brands’ individual strengths: Spin is stronger than ever in the Southern United States and with youth and high school teams. VC dominates the Canadian market and has positioned itself as an upscale, quality-focused brand.
“So you might wear Spin through high school and then graduate to VC as you become a premier college or pro player,” said Withers.
The merger is also about the future, both Withers and Konisky told Ultiworld.
“Long-term, we wanted to be operating from a position of strength and be ready for market changes,” said Konisky, referencing the recent involvement of Puma (Major League Ultimate) and Nike (Nike Ultimate Camps).
VC has already been aggressively expanding production, adding 50% to their manufacturing capabilities in each of the last two years. They will continue to grow now under VCS Ultimate. Printed Performance, VC’s budget-focused brand, will also continue to exist after the merger.
The sudden market consolidation marks a shift in the industry, which has largely seen smaller, regional organizations popping up to compete with large brands like VC and Five over the last ten years.