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The Real News on Soap
Sep 9, 2006 by Mart
Steve (Go2Crew) originally posted this in the forum, but I feel it warrants more visibility than it'll get being in there. Thanks to Steve for taking the time to write all this, it's certainly an interesting read
There has been a lot of rumor, conjecture, and as we say here in Texas, just plain old BS bantered about concerning the health and pulse of Soap Shoes. If you don’t really care, you can stop reading right now, because this will take a moment to tell …
Here’s what I know as of now, September 9, 2006 03:01 CDT 09:01 GMT (Mart and Dunk time). Dateline: Carrollton, TX ----- Here’s the straight skinny on what’s up at HSL.
Of the three brands that HSL owns: Heelys, Axis, and Soap:
· Axis, the skater shoe line is totally dead and gone as of about two to three years ago. I know I’m personally disappointed because there was some decent looking stuff, with some really good suggested retail prices.
· Heelys, the roll line is expanding big time in the US, UK, and Europe and is fact is beginning to exceed pipeline capacity. Needless to say, it is drawing the vast majority of HSL’s attention and capital. They have SMU’s (special make-up units) going on with the major Retailers. I was over at Nordstrom’s the other day in the kid’s shoe department looking at a Heelys style, Chocolate w/ Pink trim (I really stood out looking at girls’ shoes, but oh well, got to do the market research).
· Soap … Mart is correct in his previous comments… Soap is not dead, but I will say it is doing a slow walk. The Express is the only style that will be currently continued and it is being produced in all three colorways (alright Renny, quit jumping up and down, I know it’s your favorite shoe). Sizes 3-9 are in stock (the first half of my initial stocking order arrived today, after a three-week delay and the second half of it should ship out Monday. As I said, Heelys is getting all the attention, so the Soap shipments off the shipping dock in Carrollton are running somewhat late. Anyhow, sizes 10-12 are being produced and should be available late October (my stocking order should ship-out Oct 15th). And if I read the size grid correctly, the 6026 is being made in size 13 (yeah, I ordered some of those too and I’m waiting for confirmation on whether the size was a misprint or not). I asked about the A-sides and as I feared, the only molds and dies made were the one set of size nines for the prototypes. Derek, I guess you’re safe, those were the only pairs to be produced. Mold sets and dies are still available for the T-Bone, so if HSL sees a revival in business, they could re-open that production, TBD. I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide if the T-Bone warrants support, because as of now, it will be closest to a full-sole plate shoe HSL is set-up to produce (even though it is technically a half full-sole plate, sort of heeling while you Soap!). None of the old molds and dies were retained from the Artemis or In-Stride days, so you won’t see a re-introduction of old styles like the Broadside, Scorcher (one of my favorites), Scab, Turntable, Crowbar, Flow (another of my favorites), or Ordnance (my favorite --- Mart, Renny, Rick, Ryozox … sorry I had to do some jumping up and down here!). That’s a pity because there was some pretty slick stuff produced then, but it is what it is now, so we move on. International distribution is just not happening for Soap and Soap/HSL is locked into distributor agreements until 2008, so UKFSW guys, if you need something and the Retailers aren’t going to carry the brand, you know how to get a hold of me. And I will ship Worldwide.
As for me, well I am a Soap Shoes Dealer again (I am totally stoked about that!) and I have brick-and-mortar partnered with a Skateboard shop here in San Antonio, so if you have some specialty skater needs, I should have access to that side of the business soon. Next step is to talk HSL into letting me distribute roll/grind Evolutions or Torches, or bring back the Grails, etal. Or maybe Plan B …… pulling a rabbit out of the hat and working toward a resurrection of the Soap brand by a new style introduction or an A-Side production run. It never hurts to dream!
So keep on grinding and promoting Soap, because like I told my Sales Rep the other day, that combo shoe is good, but if you’re grind only, you don’t want to have to yank the wheel off when you’re looking to shred some rail. Crash landing when you have a wheel in can really put you on your ass…
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