LOS ANGELES, United States — “Vans was a brand that was run very emotionally,” said Kevin Bailey, president of the action sports division of VF Corporation, which owns Vans, a company with almost 50 years of heritage, as well as associations with Z-Boys Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta, who created modern skateboarding in the early 1970s. “I think emotion is capable of sustaining a brand for a period of time,” continued Bailey, who previously spent time at Nike, American Eagle and Lucky Brand. “But with global growth ahead of us, if we want to reach beyond the confines of being a fairly regionally-driven brand, a Southern California brand, we really needed to understand our consumer better. Instead of being purely emotional and right-brain-driven, we had to add the left brain and get smart about it.”
Getting smart about it has led to impressive results. From 2008 to 2013, Vans grew revenues from $750 million to $1.7 billion. The second quarter of 2014 marked the company’s 19th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. And the brand says it’s on track to reach its target of $2.9 billion in revenue by 2017. But Bailey — who returned to Vans in 2009, after a two-year absence — is already thinking beyond 2017.