Founded the same year as Wild (1981), Jack Wolfskin’s large range of apparel and gear has become something of a benchmark in Europe. In fact, it’s identified as the largest outdoor brand in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, while recent growth in China puts it in the top three.
To put some more solid figures around the size of this company; Jack Wolfskin booked sales totalling US$390 million in 2015, as well as managing a network of over 900 retail outlets globally.
Speaking exclusively with Wild, Jack Wolfskin’s sales director for the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, Hartmut Klein said the brand was confident in its ability to establish a unique selling proposition in our “saturated market”.
“Australia is, as well as others, a saturated market in the outdoor industry, but Jack Wolfskin is able to establish ‘the point of differentiation’ for consumers,” he said.
“With a full range of apparel, equipment and footwear, Jack Wolfskin can fill the needs of all outdoor enthusiasts.”
It’s this commitment to catering for the entire spectrum of ages and interests that has led to Jack Wolfskin’s success overseas and will hold great interest for local consumers, but its go-to-market strategy in Australia may be of even more interest to local retailers and distributors.
Rather than managing its own physical retail footprint on top of its wholesale business, as it has in Europe as well as other places, or partnering with a large distribution or retail partner as it did with Zappos in the US, Jack Wolfskin will instead be distributed locally via Ecoterra Consulting Group and its owner/operator, Brian Sheedy.
“Brian Sheedy impressed the Jack Wolfskin team with his knowledge of the Australian and New Zealand outdoor market,” explained Hartmut. “Brian is confident in achieving the goals for all sides of the business: consumers, retailers, as well as the brand, seeing the launch in terms of long-term strategy. Establishing the brand at a mid to high level in this way will lead to long term partnerships with outdoor specialty retail partners.”
The launch, which will see a range of Jack Wolfskin products come available in mid-2017, is all part of the company’s five-year plan to build its presence in all relevant markets, with the Australia/New Zealand region among the last to be included.
For Sheedy, it means a lot of work ahead, but he also expressed his excitement and honour to work with such an internationally significant brand.
“It’s a pleasure being part of the team in bringing Jack Wolfskin to Australia and New Zealand, in which I plan on utilising all of my 20 years’ experience in the outdoor market to achieve,” Sheedy said.
“Not only is the brand extremely well regarded internationally, it’s also seen as a leader in corporate social responsibility with regard to both sustainability practices and supply chain management.”
One of the brand’s more well-known initiatives is its ‘Green Book’ – essentially a conduct manual that it requires all of its suppliers adhere to in order to ensure the very best in ecological and workplace practices. Klein explained that the Green Book’s requirements, first released in 2007, are “even stricter than the notably strict OEKO-TEX Standard 100“.
More recently, the brand has also made headway in the PFC space, with 89 per cent of its upcoming summer 2017 apparel free of the bioaccumulative chemicals.