Please give us the “elevator pitch” on what OS1st is all about in 2022?
We share the same mission as running retailers — to empower active lifestyles and connect with runners via small businesses who are invested in their community. While we celebrate a return to semi-normalcy compared to the past two years, OS1st will continue the work we’ve done during the pandemic to double down on our commitment to independent retailers with fairly priced sock and compression bracing products that empower add-on sales, delight customers and drive them back to the store.
What makes OS1st unique in your space in run specialty?
OS1st is different because of our mission and patented technology. We’ve built our brand on supporting independent retailers because we believe in the industry and we know the power of community. That is why no matter the audience, our story ends and begins with purchasing our products at an independent run store. Second, all our products use our patented Compression Zone Technology to ease pain with targeted compression, add comfort with premium materials, and perform with anatomical design.
What is your product focus in 2022?
We continue to see our existing run specialty stores expand their sock wall to include all our OS1st Socks with Purpose, including the Active Comfort, Thin Air, Wellness and Wide Wellness Socks, so part of our focus is maintaining our inventory and ship times to ensure our retailers continue to have what they need when they need it. For new products, we’ve just launched the Plantar Fasciitis Relief Kit to give retailers a premium, all-in-one, compression solution for customers with Plantar Fasciitis. The kit includes our FS6 Foot Sleeve, DS6 Nighttime Sleeve and Plantar Fasciitis Socks all featuring our patented compression approach to heel pain.
Why should run specialty retailers carry more product in the category?
If you are a Running Industry Association member, then you’ve probably received the Upper Quadrant weekly snapshot emails. Broadly speaking, the shoe-to-sock fitting ratio for the run industry participants has been around 16 percent, meaning that fraction of shoe purchases included socks. Additionally, the total number of socks sold over the total number of shoe units for the industry participants has been 50-56 percent. That tells us that socks can be high-volume add-ons but aren’t being fully utilized on the sales floor.
How can these retailers sell more OS1st products?
To fully leverage OS1st socks and compression bracing it all must complement and organically flow with the fit process. As a retailer is making unique shoe and insole recommendations, they can add on unique sock and bracing products to satisfy the customer even after they take their shoes off. OS1st products are condition and/or use-specific, which makes them a natural third piece to the process. For example, if a runner is being fitted for a shoe with more heel cushion and a Plantar Fasciitis insole, it should be second nature to recommend a brace and sock to help relieve swelling and support them while they are off their feet.
What are you looking for in your involvement with Runchella?
We are looking forward to showcasing our new products, making new run specialty friends and catching up with our old ones. It seems like a great place to celebrate a return to “normal” and dream up new plans to grow the industry.
Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for OS1st?
Our mission doesn’t change and so we will continue serving our independent retailers — working on new products, utilizing new technology to help us learn more about their needs and fun brand building activity to keep telling our story. For details, schedule a meeting at Runchella or come see us at The Running Event.