Just In Time For Cozy Season, Solo Fires Up With Snoop

Is Snoop Dogg really swearing off weed? No, but Solo Stoves, the outdoor stove brand that became a suburban staple during the darkest months of the pandemic, wants you to know the star is giving up smoke.

“I have an announcement,” the rapper says in the spot. “I’m giving up smoke. I know what you’re thinking. 'Snoop, smoke is kinda your whole thing.’ But I’m done with it.”

The spot ends with him cheerfully roasting a marshmallow over a cozy Solo fire.

It’s the latest in Snoop’s vast universe of endorsements, including gigs with Bic lighters, Skechers shoes, Petco, and Corona beer, not to mention companies he owns, like Death Row records, as well as Indoggo gins and Leafs by Snoop, a cannabis brand.

The new push comes at a decisive moment for Solo Brands, the stove’s parent company, as it tries to reinvent itself as an omnichannel player. The Grapevine, Texas, company just reported third-quarter earnings, with sales rising 8% to $110.3 million in the third quarter. It posted a net income of $3.1 million, compared to a loss of $4 million in the same quarter last year.

Those results reveal the same transitional challenges facing many D2C companies. Solo’s direct sales declined 11.6% to $76.3 million compared to $86.3 million in the third quarter of 2022. Wholesale revenues jumped 114.3% to $34 million, compared to $15.9 million.

Both top- and bottom-line numbers beat expectations, and the company reaffirmed its outlook for the rest of the year.

“Brand momentum is encouraging as we grow our retailer relationships,” said John Merris, chief executive officer, in its announcement. “Looking ahead at the all-important fourth quarter, we recognize the headwinds consumers are facing. However, we have a lot of exciting, unique and compelling marketing programs to reach new customers, which we believe will stand out from the crowd and drive enthusiasm for our brand.”

The company anticipated that the switch into retail would cannibalize direct sales and that it could capitalize on that shift by selling more accessories online. In a call webcast for investors, Merris said that strategy seems to be working.

“So far this year, we have witnessed a 23% increase in first-time customers shopping on our website who are buying a firepit accessory,” he said. “We are building our brand awareness at an accelerated rate, which we believe will lead to higher sales in both channels over time.”

While the stoves are available in a total of 7,500 stores, those with enhanced presentations, such as its shop-within-a-shop approach at Dick’s, are producing the best results. Those only exist in 200 stores, and it is moving to expand those efforts.

It is also rolling out in Target this quarter and has renewed its partnership with REI.

Merris, however, was adamant that D2C is still critical. “I want to emphasize our view that Solo Brands' expansion of wholesale relationships is not a diversion from our D2C expertise but part of an integrated channel strategy that allows us to build deeper connections with customers.”

In addition to the signature stove division, Solo also owns Chubbies, the men’s shorts company; Oru, the foldable kayak business; and Isle, a paddleboard brand.

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