Scott Farnsworth Becomes New President of OAM

A New Mission for OAM

Scott Farnsworth, 1984 World Amateur Champion and longtime brand manager at Oakley, has only been the president of OAM for less than 48 hours, however his 14-years experience with Oakley foreshadows a progressive change for the independent company spawned by the phrase "On A Mission" in the 1992 video "Momentum".

SURFING: Oakley is a pretty big worldwide dominating icon and OAM, although still popular, is a smaller in {{{comparison}}}. How do you feel your move is going to change your job position and things at OAM?

SCOTT FARNSWORTH: I think my job is a little bit of the same thing. When I went to work for Oakley it was kinda struggling in the surf market, and I went in there as a marketing guy only. At Oakley, I was there for almost fourteen years and it was sorta just me coming in and lending some credibility, authenticity and knowledge of the surf industry back to them from a marketing aspect. Here at OAM, these guys are already very credible within the surfing industry and already have a core grass-roots surf accessory brand. But what I'm hoping to bring to the plate is a level of expertise and professionalism, and things that they just need to execute on. They've been struggling for the last couple years by not having enough of the right people in place to make the right decisions for what's correct for the surf industry.

SURFING: So the move to OAM from Oakley was to move to a company strictly focused on surfing?

SCOTT: That was part of it. Also, it was a great opportunity for me to take all the knowledge and experience that I've gained over the years, both at Quiksilver and Oakley, and move into a higher position. At Oakley I was a brand manager, but at OAM I'll be the president and responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business from top to bottom. It's a great challenge and an exciting opportunity for me to maximize this brand's potential, which I don't think they've been able to do for the last few years.

SURFING: As far as plans to improve OAM's marketing, how would you advertise differently from what they've already been doing?

SCOTT: They haven't done a whole lot of advertising in the last couple of years, because they didn't really have the means to do that, so I think we have to do a bunch of different things. On the marketing side, I think we have to continue making sure that we remain connected with the best surfers in the world that are from a well-respected group — like the guys that founded the company -- but also we have to continue making sure that we're nurturing the up-and-coming kids. We've got a pretty extensive team so that'll stay intact. But we need to actually ramp-up on the advertising side, which we haven't done enough of lately. On the manufacturing side, we just need to continue pumping out great products. Things have been a little bit behind in the last year or so with launching new fresh stuff and I think that's one of the key things that you're going to see from us in the next four to five months is the launch of a bunch of new product that is sorta needed.

SURFING: You mean making new accessories or just improving upon the older ones?

SCOTT: Both, but initially it will be improvements to existing categories. Eventually we will launch a new five-position, calibrated fin-system, which had kind of a soft launch a while back. It's just a matter of making sure we've got the thing working perfect and that we get a lot of good feed-back from riders, shapers and surfboard manufactures in general.

SURFING: What's your main area of concentration then?

SCOTT: It's on getting the fresh product out in the three existing categories: traction pads, fins, leashes -- and that will be, without a doubt, in the next couple months. Basically, the whole brand's going to get a face-lift. We're not going to change the logos or anything like that, but we're just going to make sure the brand looks fresh and new. There will be new designs to leashes, pads and board-bags.

SURFING: What's the difference in atmosphere like working at OAM compared to Oakley?

SCOTT: Right now there's so few people working here compared to what I'm used to, that it's a completely different environment by virtue of its size. But also the mentality of the people that work here is definitely more focused around surfing and the sport of surfing. The day-to-day things that are discussed in the office are more about what's going on in the market, the industry, and the retailers that are specific to surfing, rather than like at Oakley, which is so diversified and across so many different markets that at anytime you can be discussing ten different things. At OAM it's just a real specific focus on one thing, which is kinda refreshing.

SURFING: So are you going to be making any new additions to OAM crew?

SCOTT: Right now we've got our eyes peeled for the next big guy that's going to be a hit as always, but their is nobody in particular that we're sorta spotting out. We've got a great crew and I want to make sure that we're giving all those guys on the team the proper attention, and making sure that they're a part of product development and that we start getting them back in the public eye with some additional advertising that we haven't done lately. However, one thing that we will concentrate on a little bit more is utilizing the younger guys on the team and pairing them up with some of the veterans.

SURFING: How do you see the future of OAM progressing?

SCOTT: In the short term it will be just an ability to execute the current business much better, but I definitely do see this brand as one that has the potential to grow and be an accessory brand going beyond the current product categories that it is in now. Having said that, I want to make sure that as we go down this road and pursue a bigger and broader business that it's done in the right way -- very authentic and very credible.

In the long term, I think that we will be venturing into more travel type gear, like bags and items, and backpacks, which I think is kinda of the first phase of broadening the scope of the brand a little bit. Beyond that, there's a lot of opportunity in a lot of different areas, but it will remain a core accessory brand. We have no thoughts or ideas of taking this thing and starting an apparel company or a surfboard brand or anything of that nature. I want to do things that have a connection back into the process of surfing and if that can translate back into some other markets that are centergenic to the business, then that's fine, but that's so far down the road I'm not even thinking about it right now. It's just really getting things going and firing on all cylinders.