“We’re big enough to make the proper investments to bring interesting and desirable products to market.”
Tove Fritzell, Bollé global product manager for Vista Outdoor, not only talks the talk but walks the walk. This outdoor sports fan—who has a master’s degree in chemical engineering and industrial ecology from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm—joined the company this past January. She started her career in 2010 with POC, a Swedish-based sporting goods brand and worked her way up to products manager. Here, Fritzell highlights the technology that keeps Bolle’s sunglasses at the forefront of performance eyewear and explains why the company is just the right size.
MICHELE SILVER: What is the unique perspective that you bring to your position?
TOVE FRITZELL: I took a break halfway through my engineering master’s degree to do a ski season in the French alps and ended up staying. Rather than going into the chemical industry, I picked up on an opportunity to join [Vista Outdoor]. I finished my master’s thesis while I was skiing, cycling, climbing and running the POC flagship store in Chamonix. I soon joined the product development team, managing eyewear and helmets. So my unique perspective comes from three pair of eyes: the retail and customer service manager, the engineer/product manager and the skier-mountain biker/outdoor sports enthusiast.
SILVER: What changes are you planning to make in terms of product offerings ?
FRITZELL: The brand has been quick to adopt some of the most useful advancements in technology. An example of this would be the growing number of products in both the sunglass and goggle categories equipped with photochromic Trivex lenses. In addition, we developed a new liner technology for our snow helmets, AViD, which uses an innovative mix of materials and manufacturing techniques. The helmet is impressively light and extremely well-ventilated for its demanding users who spend long days on the mountain.
SILVER: What growth areas do you see in the sunglass and goggle market?
FRITZELL: Serious athletes and outdoor enthusiasts are beginning to fully recognize that eyewear is more than just protection from UV light, wind and airborne debris. Done right, sunglasses and goggles can actually help improve both performance and the overall experience.
SILVER: What are the top-selling products and why?
FRITZELL: In the U.S., 8-base and 6-base models in our Sport Lifestyle collection are bestsellers because they meet real-world needs in terms of protection, fit, style and versatility. Also, our Sport Lifestyle models offer a range of useful features such as polarization, anti-fog treatment, Thermogrip temple tips and nosepads.
Models in our sport-specific lines for cycling, golf, tennis and watersports are very popular, but the specialized nature of these means a more limited audience. Many of the technologies and features developed for our sport-specific sunglasses eventually trickle down to our Sport Lifestyle collection.
SILVER: How does Bollé differ from the competition?
FRITZELL: We’re big enough to have the resources to make the proper investments necessary to bring an interesting, diverse and desirable selection of products to market. We are of sufficient size to recognize the factors that are driving and/or disrupting the market. We are, on the other hand, not so big that the necessary course adjustments cannot be easily and quickly accomplished. Doing business with us never becomes overly bureaucratic.
SILVER: What are the top three factors that you want ECPs to know about Bollé ?
FRITZELL: I’d say the most important thing is that we’re fun to hang out with at a trade show. Seriously, it’s the three things that make the most difference to their business: selection, service and margin. First and foremost, ECPs want well-built, stylish products to fit a diverse range of customers. Bollé has one of the industry’s most comprehensive lines of eyewear for every lifestyle and style preference. Next, with a seasoned crew of long-time industry pros and support from independent reps, we are able to provide stellar service. Finally, our margins—often enhanced by generous incentive programs—are among the best in the category.