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Assignment Questions:
Session Nine: VANS - Skating on Air

What were some of the key characteristics of Vans’ earliest customers in the 1960’s and 1970’s? The 1960’s, customers appreciated the fact that the shoes were the best durable and affordable causal deck shoe in the marketplace. Unlike, other manufacturers in the industry Vans sold directly to customers out of their store in Anaheim California. These customers were fun, outgoing, stylish individuals that wanted to stand out from the crowd. “ The kids would come in and they’d say, “Oh, I want green on this side, yellow on this side, blue on this, make the tongue checkered…” Furthermore, Vans accommodated for consumers that didn’t have the perfect shape or size of feet. What Vans did was it allowed consumers to express themselves as openly and vividly by giving consumers a blank canvas to work on, and for consumers that found purchasing stylish shoes difficult before, this was a new customised way to buy shoes for them. 1970’s (The “Z-Boys) emerged and Vans became their first choice sneaker, which matched this new craze of conventional skateboarding. The popularity of Vans among these skateboarding rebels was primarily down to the perception that the runner depicted “A step above everyone”. Also, the price of the shoe was right for this group of talented teenagers. “We wore Vans because they were seven bucks, end of story”.

What was the public perception of skateboarding at this time? During the seventies these “skateboarding rebels” did help the perception of skateboarding. This group were known as misfits, an eccentric group that came from a depressed dubbed place in California. Although, this perception was not pleasant or respectable, they were extremely talented group of young individuals that help create a new craze for skateboarding. “Skateboarding was on the verge of becoming a $400 million business”.

What was Vans’ competitive advantage at this time?
In the 60’s and 70’s, Vans had a...
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