Jockey International has nothing to do with horses and everything to do with the classic men's brief (its invention). The nearly 140-year-old company makes men's, women's, and children's underwear and loungewear. Its products are sold through thousands of department and specialty stores the likes of Bloomingdale's and JCPenney. Jockey licenses and distributes its apparel in 140-plus countries and holds several licensing agreements. Chairman and CEO Debra Waller and her family own the company. Jockey International was founded by Samuel Cooper in 1876 as a hosiery company intended to relieve lumberjacks of blisters and infections resulting from shoddy wool socks.
Based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jockey sells its products in more than 140 countries worldwide. The company has a presence in the US and Canada. In Latin America, it serves Central America, the Caribbean Islands, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. In Europe, it caters to Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Herzigovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK. Jockey has a hand in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Singapore through its Asia Pacific operations. The company also serves South Africa.
Jockey makes and markets underwear, socks, thermals, sleepwear, activewear, sportswear, and loungewear. It serves multiple markets such as men's, women's, and children's ranges. It also operates a 6,000-sq.-ft. outlet under the Jockey Factory Store banner in its home city of Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Companies like Jockey and rivals Fruit of the Loom and Hanesbrands specialize in making value-priced items for most of its products portfolio. This keeps profit margins razor thin. As a result, they rely heavily on cotton crops because the raw material accounts for a greater percentage of their total cost. For instance, high commodity prices for cotton sometimes swung to a low later in the year, making it difficult for Jockey to justify dropping prices for its products while it's still paying the higher cotton price. To this end, consumers who purchase Jockey products typically won't see price drops until the next year as cotton prices drop.
Jockey partners with other companies to expand its products portfolio. Thermal underwear leader Komar Layering makes men's and women's thermals and layering apparel exclusively for Jockey through a licensing agreement inked in 2011. Adding more thermals to its drawers in 2014, Jockey partnered with global apparel supplier Intradeco, which specializes in sleepwear and thermals.
Jockey is working to extend the reach of its brand. Through an agreement with Page Industries Ltd. inked in 2011, Jockey sells its products in India. Page Industries, as the exclusive licensee, makes innerwear and leisurewear for men and women.
In recent years, Jockey has been chasing after the kid niche. To expand into children's apparel, the company has partnered with Gerber Childrenswear, a unit of Kellwood Company, to make and market Jockey-branded underwear, sleepwear, and thermal apparel for infants through children. The deal spans the US and Canada.
Jockey has taken a page from the Tupperware and Avon playbooks and joined the home-party niche. Through its Person to Person direct selling unit, the company trains salespeople who peddle Jockey apparel through parties in customers' homes. Jockey executive Waller launched the concept in 2005 in an effort to help women balance their career and family lives.
Sales and Marketing
Jockey sells its products through department and specialty stores. It distributes its items internationally. Through its Person to Person unit, Jockey is a direct seller.
To portray a more glamorous side of Jockey, the company in 2013 launched a new "Redefining Comfort" marketing campaign with Rachel Zoe, deemed a fashion icon and voted "Stylist of the Year" in 2013.
The company in 2009 celebrated the 75th anniversary of its brief-style underwear. Jockey enlisted the help of football quarterback Tim Tebow to act as a spokesman for the company.