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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024

OC Apparel Companies’ Headcount Up Slightly to 8,000

This year’s Business Journal directory of Orange County-based apparel companies estimates more than 8,000 local employees across 31 firms, up 7.9% from last year. A headcount of 54,498 in total for all 31 firms is a increase of nearly 7% from one year ago.

These firms brought in an estimated $9.6 billion in 12-month sales, an 8.7% decrease from last year, according to Business Journal research. Several of the companies declined to share revenue figures.

Standouts include Anaheim-based PacSun, which creates apparel aimed at a younger demographic, and a reported 22% increase in local headcount. As of April, PacSun has 393 employees in the region; its companywide count fell 9.6% to 5,185.

Pacsun said it had double digit sales growth year-over-year in 2023.

Z Supply in Costa Mesa also increased its employee total by 12%, counting 91 people as of this month.

After the sale of Boardriders to New York City-based Authentic Brands Group, the newly acquired brand portfolio was given to a new operating company, Liberated Brands, which is expanding its office space to The Met complex in Costa Mesa.

Liberated will be stationed nearby 5.11 Tactical, a retailer that designs and manufactures tactical and durable clothing, in Costa Mesa. 5.11’s headcount was reported to be consistent year-over-year with 200 local employees across its offices and two retail stores.

For co-founder Francisco Morales, who recently moved from the role of chief executive to chairman, the priority has been maintaining efficiency in the office.

“We are diligently working on gaining speed to market in a hybrid work environment—striving for a harmonious balance between remote flexibility and the irreplaceable value of in-person collaboration,” Morales told the Business Journal.

Newly named Chief Executive Troy Brown, who took over the role in January, spoke of that consumer market and 5.11’s work to reach new customers:

“We continue to see consumers expand how they connect with brands leveraging both physical and digital touch points.”

5.11 surpassed 100 brick-and-mortar stores in 2022 and aims to reach 400 in the next few years.

Markets and Models

While many smaller apparel companies chose not to disclose their revenue, larger players such as Boot Barn Holdings Inc. and 5.11 are reporting substantial sales.

5.11’s customer base began with first responders and military personnel and is beginning to extend to outdoor enthusiasts, according to the company. The retailer, founded in 2003, reported 2023 sales climbed 6.6% to $533 million.

Boot Barn, the Irvine-based western wear retailer that targets outdoor workers and country music fans, reported fiscal sales rose 11% to $1.66 billion for the year ended March 2023; analysts are projecting sales will be flat at $1.67 billion in fiscal 2024.

The company is the most valuable publicly traded apparel company in Orange County, with a $3.3 billion market cap.

Sales estimates for local retail manufacturer FutureStitch, which uses a method of circular knitting to create socks and other knitwear for apparel companies, were included for the first time this year, as well with news that the company had reached its $50 million goal last year.

“Traditionally, the apparel industry has focused on aesthetics over substance, negatively impacting the environment by creating excessive waste and contributing to injustices in labor markets,” founder and CEO Taylor Shupe said.

This has led Shupe to create a new manufacturing model implementing environmentally safe methods in its factories.

Shupe, who also co-founded San Clemente-based Stance, received the Business Journal award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship in March.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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