CIN Podcast: Jay Romasco on the rise of Tifosi and where trade shows need to adapt to survive

This week’s guest on the CI.N Podcast is Jay Romasco, International Sales Director of sports eyewear brand Tifosi.

Founded in 2003, Tifosi has become a recognised and trusted brand both in the cycle trade and among consumers, distributed in 3,500 stores worldwide.

With its eyes set firmly on competitor and market leader Oakley, the brand set about trying to deliver the same quality of eyewear but at a more affordable price point, says Romasco, who reveals Tifosi is now 70% of the market in the States.

“Oakley left that door open for us as they expanded into other channels, and, although not so much in the beginning, over the past 14 years we have reached a point where we are absolutely on par with Oakley’s specs. And now in the UK with Zyro, in the past 10 years I’ve been coming over we’re over 50% of the market here, so there was the same need as that in the States.”

According to Romasco, there was demand from dealers both in the UK and over in the USA to stock eyewear that was high-quality but also provided a good margin. And there’s more to come from the brand in the next year or so, with a new large-frame model coming out in April called the Sledge, as well as the success of the brand’s Swank series.

“The range used to get upgraded every two or three years, and now we do new models year round as there’s no one big trade show anymore. There used to be Interbike which is now gone. When Interbike moved everything to preseason like the ski industry, and when Specialized and Trek departed, other bike companies followed suit; Felt, Cannondale, Giant all decided to do their own house shows. That was the beginning of the end for Interbike.”

Dealers are driven by these big bike brands, says Romasco, and he believes Eurobike may go the same way as the US show if it doesn’t move from autumn time to January or February.

“People are starting to move away from the fall shows,” he says. “They’ve already done their bike buying by the time they get there anyway. The show situation is challenging right now.

“I believe companies like Trek and Specialized belong at the national shows, frankly. It angers me that they don’t back up our industry and come to the industry show as opposed to their own house shows. I don’t think that it’s supportive of the industry, and as industry partners they should participate.”

Tune in to this episode to hear more from Romasco on:

Soundcloud

Spotify

Apple (uploading…coming soon)

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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