Billy Martin's, the western lifestyle retail boutique, and subsidiary of Real American Brands, Inc. is pondering expansion in China that could bring cowboy boots and authentic American-made western apparel, belts and buckles to the far East.
"In the current fiscal year, we see good prospects for positioning Billy Martin's to serve the Chinese market through a network of mini-Billy Martin boutiques, 500 to 1000 sq. feet, which will be franchised to local Chinese partners," said Doug Newton, CEO of RLAB who founded the western brand, along with former NY Yankee manager, Billy Martin in 1978.
"Our first test markets will likely be in the mainland coastal cities of Wenzhou, Dalian and Shanghai. We plan to take a prudent, steady approach to rolling out in China, and our pace of expansion obviously will depend on the degree to which our western lifestyle goods are embraced by the younger generation of Chinese consumers who have the money and motivation to wear our wares. We are carefully watching the experience of other real American brands doing business in China now."
Heading up the company's Asia-Pacific Rim drive will be Joseph Gimiano, a 25 year veteran of the company's New York boutique. "In over 2 decades of observing customer reaction to Billy Martin's goods, especially by tourists and visitors from Asia-Pacific Rim in the last 5 years, we believe there is an enduring appeal of authentic American-made western wear that extends across the globe," Gimiano said.
Real American Brands, Inc., the non-reporting public company (RLAB) owns 100% of the licensing and franchising rights of Billy Martin's and its registered US trademarks. The company is headquartered at Trump Plaza in New York City, a market where the boutique has operated without interruption for the last 31 years.