Find your voice – David Hieatt

Your voice can be many things. It is much more than how you speak in your ads.

A quick story to make the point:

I sat down for a coffee with Richard, one of the founders of innocent, and he told me his taxi story. He was taking a ride back to work I think. Anyway, as all taxi drivers do, he wanted to make conversation. His went along normal lines. What do you do, mate? Richard replied, I help run a smoothie company. Oh yeah, which one? Innocent. Nice company. But it’s not the same any more. Richard was a bit taken aback. How do you mean? Well, you changed the label. It’s glossy now and the other one was matt. So it doesn’t feel as real any more, you know as authentic. Richard thanked him once he was dropped off. And he went inside work and the first thing he did was change the label back from glossy to matt.

The taxi driver had just taught him the importance of the bigness of small. How those little things that we don’t think are that important have a huge impact. If you want to build something big, do all the small things right.

Excerpt from my new book: Do Purpose. Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more.

10 Tips to Finding your Voice

1, Be Clear

Define the purpose of your company. Do this alone. Do not consult anyone but yourself. One sentence should do it. Write it on a paper napkin and pin it to the wall. Once decided upon, you cannot change it. Make sure that you are excited by it. Make sure you are willing to spend the rest of your life working towards it. Make sure it is your real purpose and not just what other people want to hear. Make sure it lives in your head and, as importantly, in your heart.

2, Be Focused

Define your product and it’s purpose. And stick to it. Stop making product that is not consistent with your definition of where you sit in this world. Even if it makes money, stop making it. Do not dilute the company focus. There is more money to be made from being focused than from trying to be everything to everybody. Narrow the focus. Google achieved more by offering less than its competitor. Rather than closing down opportunities, going narrower opens them up. Those who spend their days trying to be all things to all people rarely have time to change the world.

3, Be yourself

Don’t try to be like others. Don’t follow or mimic. Don’t pretend. You can tell when someone doesn’t mean something just by how they say it.  A voice doesn’t come from a meeting or a committee. Or from the latest trend or for that matter the latest piece of research. It comes from one man. It comes from the books he has read. The conversations he has had, the experiences he has endured, and the family he has been raised by. There is no manual to read. The voice is fragile in the wrong hands. Be careful whom you give the task to. The strength of Nike was that Dan Wieden got inside the head of Phil Knight. He understood that he was a super competitive sports nut who wanted to crush the competition. And he kept relaying that to his customers. Year after year. Come rain. Come shine.

4, Be emotional

You have to make your customers feel something. Understand what is in their hearts. Logic is a blunt tool in this regard, my friend. It makes perfect sense, it ticks all the boxes, but it changes very little. And guess what, intelligence is no better; it is overrated in its ability to either change things or behaviour. You need a different set of tools. Those tools will comprise of music, pictures, words that when shaken up by your author and put back in the right order will leave your customers inspired, stirred, awoken. Oh, by the way, this is not easy to do. Give them meaning by all means, but don’t give them ads. Bare your soul. Tell your struggle. Tell your pain. Tell your lows. A corporation finds it hard to show its soul as it rarely has one. Be vulnerable. Be honest. But most of all, be you.

5, Be instinctive.

Research nothing. Listen to what you feel. If you are in doubt, ask your wife. If you are still in doubt, ask your kids. Go no further than the circle that you trust. Ever.

6, Be Useful.

Make products for a purpose. Be useful. Make products that chase a function and not a fashion. Invent for a need. Focus on your customers needs. Small needs can become big business. If you suddenly become fashionable, it is because you have chased being useful. Don’t build your business around being fashionable; it will go away as quickly as it came. Customers can decode real from fake in a blink of an eye. If you try to be of a moment, you will die in the moment, once it has had its time. Instead, carry on making products that have a use. Be authentic. If you can say that, you are on solid ground. Don’t get sidetracked by chasing fashion.

7, Be the change.

To support your purpose, you need more than just words. You have to change your industry; you have to show another way. And you have to communicate that change in the most inspiring way that a human can imagine. Look at how well Apple communicates change. Every revolution needs an enemy. Challenge design, challenge pollution, challenge landfill, challenge peoples ‘buy and throw culture’. Now that you can make anything, what does your company want to make? And, even more than that, what does it want to change?

8, Be consistent

A worthwhile business has to be built over time. A company’s product, its purpose and how it speaks to the world needs to be consistent if it wants to be all things that it hopes to be. Do not blow with the wind. Do not chase a bandwagon. Stay true. Patience is required in a world that doesn’t always understand the value of it. It is easy to make small little changes in a busy day and think they do not matter. But there is a big-ness to small decisions. The financial world fully understands the concept of compound interest and how a small change can make a big difference. Similarly, a small tweak here, a small compromise there, can accumulate over time to change the very soul of a business. The rule of consistent product and service is easy to get. But the same rule needs to be applied to a company’s voice. Nike has talked with the same voice for a couple of decades now. A signature seems to run through it. And because it is so consistent, each communication seems to build on top of the last one. They have gained compound interest of voice thanks to their consistency of voice.

9, Be relevant

Understand your customer. And make product that is relevant to their lives. Remember, the worse thing you can do for the environment is to make something that no one wants to buy. Speak to them in a way that connects with them and makes them feel something. The trick to this is give something of yourself. If you feel something, the chances are so will they. This is not rocket science. It’s just gut instinct. Its knowing what they are into because you are into it too.

10, Be Positive

If you want change to happen, you will have to inspire people. A fire needs wood to burn. It also needs a flame to start it. You need to be the flame. A business needs to do the numbers but it also needs a purpose to supply it the passion. If we listened to just our intellect, no one would fall in love. If we did not listen to our soul, no poetry would ever be written. To stir someone, you have find emotional ways to touch them. But first you have open up and let go of the worry about talking in more emotional terms. Only then will you start to connect with people. You have to stir yourself to stir others. Then you have to find the flame that inspires them. And be positive. Be the hope. Hope is more powerful. The cynic changes little or nothing. The optimist can and will. Spread wonder. Spread optimism. It’s good stuff.

via david hieatt.

Outdoor-jacket test detects high amount of polluting chemicals –

After testing 15 outdoor jackets and five impregnating agents of poly- and perfluorinated chemicals (PFC), the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt; UBA) has found high levels of these substances, which severely contribute to the environmental pollution. Poly-and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are widely used in jackets, pants or sports clothing to make them water-and stain-resistant.

The study aimed to determine the emissions of PFCs from outdoor jackets and concurrently the associated risk to humans and the nature. PFCs were found in all the 15 tested jackets, which are liberated to the environment through washing processes and evaporation. Then these chemicals spread through rivers, seas, deep sea and into the groundwater. Organisms are also exposed to PFC, as these particles are inhaled by air or ingested through water and food.

Maria Krautzberger, president of the UBA: “Unfortunately, the impregnations don’t stay in the jackets, but evaporate into the air or reach the sewage treatment plants while washing and from there get into natural water courses. Even though the jackets deliver few PFC into the environment compared to other sources, the question is whether this type of waterproofing substances must be used.”

Germany, together with Norway, will present a legal restriction for PFC and its precursors to the EU. This includes limits for products, such as textiles, medical products and household goods. Some manufacturers already rely on PFC-free impregnation.

Lorenzo Molina

via Outdoor-jacket test detects high amount of polluting chemicals –

New index pressures brands on Chinese disclosure | Materials & Production News

GUIYANG – A new index has been launched in China which will measure apparel brands’ performance in managing the environmental impacts of factories in their supply chains in China. The Corporate Information Transparency Index CITI is a quantitative evaluation system which has been jointly developed by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs IPE and the Natural Resources Defense Council NRDC.The inaugural CITI list has M&S, Puma, C&A, Gap and H&M in the top ten leading companies, while bringing up the rear on the list are brands including Guess, DKNY, Macy’s and Polo Ralph Lauren. 147 consumer brands were assessed, while 47 of the brands were unable to provide any sort of response to questions about their supply chains.The CITI was released at the Greening the Global Supply Chain sub-forum, organised by the SEE Foundation and IPE, held at the Guiyang Eco-Forum Global hosted by the Environmental Protection Department of Guizhou.“Despite the central importance of supply chains in globalised business core function, and despite the heavy impact of pollution from manufacturing in this way, company corporate social responsibility programs generally focus very inadequate attention on pollution from their supply chain. To the contrary, they focus on where it is easiest to start, rather than where it is the most important to fix,” says Linda E. Greer, Ph.D., director of NRDC’s Health and Environment Program.Since 2010, IPE and partner NGOs have pushed dozens of brands from textile industries to use IPE’s Pollution Map database to identify and address their supply chain pollution problems.Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs said that, “The inaugural CITI evaluation looks at brands that have hundreds of millions of customers across the world. Our hope is that consumers in and outside of China pay attention to the CITI evaluation scores and rankings and use their own purchasing power to make more environmentally conscious choices, and be a force for pollution and emissions reduction in China.“The CITI reflects the brand’s will, capability, and institutional backing to solve pollution problems in its supply chain, and can also aid brands to move from basic compliance to continuous improvement and eventually best practice.”The inaugural CITI assessment looks at eight industrial sectors with significant environmental impacts: IT, textiles, food and beverage, household and personal care, automobile, breweries, and leather.

via New index pressures brands on Chinese disclosure | Materials & Production News.

The Outdoor Industry Compass – EDM Publications

Good start for the OutDoor show

July 12, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications

More visitors went through the turnstiles on the first day of the OutDoor show than one year ago, and the mood was generally positive through the second day, according to various exhibitors. It is not sure how many will stay all the way through Sunday, however, because of the final match of the football World Cup in Brazil between Germany and Argentina. We trust that we shall be able to provide figures for the number of visitors by country, like before, in one of the next issues of The Compass…


Provocative T-shirts in a growing Chinese market


July 12, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


In 2013, the core outdoor market in China grew by 16.2 percent to 15.38 billion yuan renminbi (€1.82bn-$2.48bn). This is one of the numerous interesting findings of an annual market research project commissioned by the China Outdoor Association (COA) and the organizer of the Asia Outdoor trade show which will take place in Nanjing from July 23-26.


The researchers make the difference between the core market for authentic outdoor brands and the wider market which includes general sports brands offering a line of outdoor gear and retailers and suppliers which are basically not associated with the outdoor industry. The wider market reached a total of RMB 36.8 billion (€4.36bn-$5.93bn) at retail prices, with an increase of 12.9 percent. The good news is that the turnover grew faster last year than the number of points of sale, which went up by 11.9 percent to 12,420 units (many more figures in the regular issue and in a report on the Chinese sports and outdoor market due to be released by us shortly)…


At Asia Outdoor, the six member companies of COA are launching an initiative for cleaner air as the basis for healthy outdoor activities. They are going to put out a black T-shirt, each with their logo, the script “I need fresh air” and the provocative image of a gas mask. To start with, the companies will sell or just give away some 1,000 shirts. The campaign may be expanded later on, depending on the reaction to the initiative.




Pertex is one of six first sustaining members of EOCA


July 12, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


Pertex has won two new important clients – Adidas Outdoor and Ortovox – for its lightweight, functional fabrics. Like some other suppliers to the industry, the company, which has been a property of Mitsui since 2006, has been boosting its marketing and sales activities lately, and its business in Europe has been growing nicely following the appointment of new agents, most recently in Germany.


Pertex will act as one of the seven first “sustaining members” of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) along with Keen Footwear, Nikwax, Patagonia, Messe Friedrichshafen (OutDoor), Messe München (Ispo) and the European Outdoor Group. Each will donate an extra $10,000 a year to help pay for EOCA’s future personnel expenses. After growing by 53 percent over the past 18 months, EOCA will move to two funding rounds per year in order to raise more money for the environment.






Páramo, the apparel brand owned by Nick Brown, the founder and managing director of Nikwax, is showing for the first time at the OutDoor fair as it is moving into Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Páramo’s credo is a sustainable philosophy since the collection is entirely free of PFC and is sewed by Latin American women in need. The distribution will be selective. The move into Central Europe comes along with the creation of a website for direct sales which went live last autumn. Brand executives emphasized in Friedrichshafen that the line offered on the web shop will be higher-priced on average than the merchandise offered in independent retail stores.




After the sale of eVent by General Electric a few months ago to Clarcor, a filtration specialty company, the supplier of laminates is presenting itself at OutDoor with a new corporate identity and innovative products. The logo is new and the company has added a new waterproof laminate, DVStorm, described as the most breathable membrane technology available. It adds to the other lines of waterproof products. The management has basically remained unchanged following the acquisition…




The Thule Group has launched its first line of technical backpacks, to be sold from next February. The line is being presented at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen for the first time. It is divided into three sub-categories, ‘Thule Guidepost’ for large backpacks from 65- 88 liters, ‘Thule Capstone Hiking Series’ for smaller backpacks from 22 to 50 liters and ‘Thule Sapling’ for child carriers. Graham Jackson, who has been part of the Thule Group for seven years, was appointed category manager for the technical backpack range two years ago. Ty Wivell, a previous independent sales representative for Thule, Camelbak and Salomon among others and sales manager for Lowepro for the last two years, joined the company as sales category manager in April. He will take care of sales in the U.S. and Canada. Mark Thibadeau, former designer at Gregory, joined in May for the newly created position of lead technical pack designer.




The French Outdoor Award for product innovation was won by Swelsy Tech, a French start-up that has developed a backpack with an adjustable volume: Sold under the Prism brand, it consists of a back panel with attachments of three different sizes, as well as helmet holders in various color combinations. The winning company was only established a few weeks ago but the team behind it has been working on the new product for nearly two years. The award was organized by Sporaltec and regional French authorities. While Swelsy Tech is currently based in Lyon, it will move to a start-up nursery in Annecy next year. During the OutDoor show, products selected for the award are displayed at Camp de Base, a special French pavilion, in Hall B3.




It emerged at the OutDoor show that Fjällräven has left the Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG). The Swedish outdoor brand was one the most influential members of the organization, which has helped to place many of the Nordic brands on the international map. Fjällräven decided to quit just before the European Outdoor Summit held in Stockholm last October, due to disagreements on unspecified issues, and its membership expired in January. Tierra and Primus, two other brands belonging to the Fenix Outdoor group, are still members of the organization. The SOG said at a presentation yesterday that it now has 41 members, the latest entrants being Peak Performance (returning after several years of absence) and Nokian Footwear, the Finnish brand of rubber boots.



>Haglöfs has seen its turnover increase at a double-digit rate so far this year and reorders have been up by 35 percent, with ample increases in both footwear and clothing. The rise is attributed to the improved situation in some markets and the brand’s expansion into Asia in the last two years, but even more so to the compact and focused aspect of the current range. To further improve its offering for the Asian market, the company will hire a product line manager to be based in Hong Kong. This recruit should help to develop a clothing range with some Asian adjustments, with more items suitable for warm and humid conditions, and with an Asian fit. Magnus Nervè, Haglöfs’ area manager for Asia, will be moving from Japan to Hong Kong, where the Swedish brand will share offices with Asics, its Japanese parent company. Meanwhile, the search for a new chief executive is ongoing…



HeiQ is launching a new IT solution for garments, called “Identity,” which was developed in cooperation with a German IT specialist, Trace Key. “Identity” transforms the serial number of each product into a QR code that allows consumers to check in the store whether the product is an original, where the components of the product come from and where it has been manufactured. Clients from the outdoor industry are able to check the quality of the product and where and when it was sold. The IT solution is currently offered to clients from HeiQ, who already work together with the Swiss company for the usage of its textile finishes…




Do you really understand the female consumer well enough to develop the most suitable products for her and to trigger the purchase? There are many different types of female consumers for sports and outdoor products, and they need to be addressed differently. Ulrike Luckmann and Karen Laubach have researched this subject in-depth over the last few months, interviewing many experts and using a survey of more than 3,000 women in Germany. They will present the main findings at a conference at the OutDoor show prior to the release of a study on the subject in September by the publisher of The Outdoor Industry Compass and SGI Europe. The conference is free for anybody to attend:


WOMEN & SPORTS – GERMANY Conference on Saturday, July 12 at 11 AM Room Paris – East Entrance


OutDoor will remain a trade-only show


July 11, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


Plans to open up the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen to consumers for an extra day, as is already the case with the Eurobike show on Lake Constance, have been set aside. A majority of the members of the European Outdoor Group, which is sponsoring the fair, voted against the proposal just as the show was opening to the trade yesterday.


Participants in the EOG meeting decided, however, to find new ways of promoting consumption of outdoor products. The issue will be discussed in the morning before the European Outdoor Summit in Munich next October.




Growth of 3.1% for outdoor in Europe, says the EOG


July 11, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


The European outdoor market expanded by 3.1 percent to €4,776 million at the wholesale level in 2013, based on the State of Trade survey compiled by the European Outdoor Group (EOG). The organization estimates that this amounts to retail sales of more than €10 billion before sales taxes. The number of units sold increased more slowly by 2.8 percent to 174.6 million, driven by footwear.


Germany alone remains the largest market in Europe, with sales amounting to 25.7 percent of the European tally. They amounted to €1,229 million at wholesale and were up by 3 percent for the year. Then came the U.K. and Ireland, with joint sales up by 3 percent to €638.5 million. They are ahead of France, where wholesale revenues of outdoor products were estimated to have advanced by 3 percent to €581 million last year. The market that displayed the fastest growth was Russia, where outdoor product sales climbed by 10 percent to €299 million, but observers felt that the sell-out was lower.


The survey showed growth for outdoor products across all regions and all categories last year. Some 53 percent of sales came from apparel and 27 percent from footwear. Among other categories, accessories and backpacks each accounted for 6.5 percent of European turnover, compared with 3 percent for tents, and 2 percent each for climbing equipment and sleeping bags and other travel gear, including mattresses.


The most vibrant category was footwear,…




Patagonia is opening new offices in Europe


July 11, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


We have collected more information on this topic at the OutDoor show. Patagonia is planning to transfer some of its European operations from its present European headquarters in the French town Annecy to a new European office in Amsterdam. It also wants to open sales offices in London and Munich to be closer to its clients in two of its major European markets.


The reorganization is coming after a year in which Patagonia Europe’s sales grew by 18 percent to €52 million through the end of April under the leadership of Stefan Wahlén, the former executive of Nike and Peak Performance who has been charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the past couple of years.




A panel of experts has selected 35 products that have deserved an OutDoor Industry Award this year for their high degree of innovation or the quality of the design. Seven of them have received a Gold Award:


    • Osprey’s Atomos AG65


  • Toray’s 100% plant-based PES
  • Salewa’s Speed Ascent
  • Berghaus’ HyperSmock 2.0
  • Primus’ Winter Gas
  • Arc’teryx’ Alpha2 FL Men’s Shoe


  • The North Face FuseformTM Originator Jacket


Some Notes:


Arc’teryx footwear is to be launched in about 1,000 stores next year, using some of the lamination technology that distinguishes the Canadian brand as well as specific footwear materials. The award-winning range features special elastic and breathable liners (some of them removable), along with one-piece, four-layer laminated uppers and Vibram soles. Development for the range was started in Annecy about two and a half years ago, supported by the footwear team at Salomon. However, Arc’teryx emphasized at a presentation during the OutDoor show that Salomon would not make use of the same technologies. Developed by Federico Sbrissa, a former executive of Dynafit, the footwear range complements an offering built up over more than two decades, from harnesses to backpacks, apparel and gloves. While Arc’teryx boasts one of the few remaining technical apparel plants in Canada, its footwear will be made in China.



Toray received the Gold Award at the OutDoor show for its plant-based polyester yarn, “ecodear,” which is made exclusively from renewable raw materials. The Japanese company is ready to market plant-based polyester using treacle, a by-product of sugar production. The first bulk production with the new material will start from 2020 and Toray is currently in talks with 7 outdoor brands for the usage of the new material in their production processes. The new ecodear plant-based polyester can be used for garments, bottles and packaging. The polymer is chemically identical to existing polyester from crude oil and can be used for all functions and applications. Toray has subsidiaries in Germany and in the Czech Republic and employs 40,000 people worldwide.




Martes Sport, the Polish distribution and retail group, has expanded its licensing and distribution agreement with Hi-Tec Sports to 19 countries around Eastern Europe. While it previously covered Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Ukraine, another 15 countries were added, from the Baltics to the former Yugoslav Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Moldova and Albania. While distributors in these countries previously had to buy Hi-Tec apparel and equipment directly from China, they will be able to lean on the well-oiled infrastructure and stock of Martes Sport in Poland. The company is currently building a large-scale extension of its warehousing facility in Bielsko-Biala (more news on Hi-Tec in the next issue).


Vaude is expanding its franchising concept outside Germany. For mid-October, Vaude plans the opening of the first store in Switzerland. Encompassing 220 square meters, it will be in Zurich and will be managed by the outdoor retailer Spatz Camping & Outdoor Equipment, which has a store in the city, offering outdoor and camping equipment. Its Vaude store will be incorporated into a large Spatz store that will be opened this October in Zurich, measuring 1,400 sqm.


A lot of action at Sympatex


July 10, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


Michael Kamm, chief executive of Sympatex Technologies, has disclosed that the refinanced company is discussing the acquisition of another firm, and that it is working on optimizing its textile manufacturing operations in Zittau to raise production levels and improve profitability in the long term.


Sympatex’ sales went up by about 3 percent in the first five months of this year, but orders have increased by 43 percent, due in particular to strong demand by some European railroad companies for functional clothing. Sympatex has also boosted its marketing and PR activities this year…




Lowa is back on the road to success


July 10, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


The German-based producer of outdoor shoes, which is still under the control of Italy’s Tecnica Group, managed to increase its total consolidated sales from €140 million in 2012 to €152 million in 2013 and expects to lift its consolidated sales once again to €161 million at the end of this year.


The number of Lowa shoes delivered worldwide went up from 1,787,929 pairs in 2012 to over 2 million in 2013. The last time that Lowa sold more than 2 million pairs of shoes was in 2010.


The outdoor industry managed to grow like before as retailers managed to adjust their inventories, says Lowa. Although the last winter was not very snowy, the company’s sell-in was successful, especially for its collection of winter city shoes.




The Lifestraw sells more widely, does good in Africa


July 10, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


WaterNlife, the Danish company that took on distribution of the unique LifeStraw water purification system in Europe and some other parts of the world a year ago, has already placed the product in hundreds of European stores, including those of big chains such as Globetrotter in Germany, Naturkompaniet in Sweden, Snow+Rock and Tiso in the U.K. and Speydersport in Denmark. It is also offered on specialty online stores such as Campz in Germany.


New markets have been recently opened by the Danish distributor for this award-winning hydration system in countries such as Russia, Turkey and Japan. However, there are still some open spots such as Italy and Spain where WaterNlife, which will have a stand at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen this week, is still looking for sub-distributors or agents. The product is already well-established in the U.S. and Canada, where it was first introduced three years ago by EarthEasy, a company based in Vancouver.






Patagonia is said to be contemplating the transfer of its European head office from the French town of Annecy to a new location in Rotterdam. Some officials of Patagonia Europe are said to have left already. Observers have noted that Patagonia is the only foreign international brand to have its European office in the French town, where Salomon, Millet and other French outdoor brands are also located. Some speculate that the move to the Netherlands may be related to a possible change of ownership. Company officials could not be reached for comment, but we hope to find out more about this at the show.



VF Corporation has appointed Jeremy de Maillard as vice president of marketing for The North Face in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), replacing Eric Pansier who has left the group to pursue other interests. He reports to Arne Arens, vice president and general manager of TNF EMEA. De Maillard has been with VF since 2008. He has apparently done wonders over the past six years for another VF brand, Vans, which has grown very fast in Europe lately. Praising his “consumer understanding and digital marketing vision” a statement by the group says he played a key role in driving collaboration between marketing, sales, product and retail, helping to position Vans as a true icon in youth culture. De Maillard will be fully dedicated to TNS while continuing to oversee the new House of Vans project in London for the foreseeable future.



Deckers Outdoor Corporation has reported the appointment of Rob van der Vis as managing director for Teva‘s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will work from a new European headquarters for Teva in Rotterdam. Van der Vis previously acted as managing director for the Benelux countries for Teva and for two other brands of Deckers, Ugg Australia and Sanuk. Teva’s EMEA operations were previously steered out of Deckers’ office in the U.K. Meanwhile, Deckers has taken over the distribution in the U.K. of another recently acquired brand, Hoka One One.



Fjällräven has now a store in the important Karl Johan Gate retailing arbea in Oslo, the first one for the big Swedish brand in Norway. This subsidiary of the Fenix Outdoor group previously opened stores in Amsterdam and New York.



Polartec reported on July 4 that it has filed a patent infringement complaint with the German District Court in Düsseldorf against Pontetorto and its German sales agency, Christian Weichert Internationale Textilvertretungen. In the suit, Polartec is demanding compensatory damages and an injunction to prevent the sale of the infringing products. At issue is the Italian company’s Technostretch products. Polartec is complaining that they infringe on a European patent (EP 1 312 710 B1) for grid-back, knit construction textiles that is exclusively licensed to Polartec. The company points out that it invented modern synthetic fleece and that it holds over 135 patents worldwide.



A panel of six experts has selected the winners of this year’s OutDoor Industry Awards, tightening the standards. The number of competing products submitted by the exhibitors increased by 45 to 361, as compared to last year. However, the number of winning products, which will be revealed at the end of the first day of the show, has been reduced to 35, down from 52 in 2013, and seven of them were given a gold status.


Besides Arc’teryx’ first shoe collection, the new footwear entries at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen include Keen’s Uneek sandal, with its very original construction, and a hands-free shoe by Treksta

via The Outdoor Industry Compass – EDM Publications.

The Outdoor Industry Compass – Polartec’s founder

ispo 2011: Polartec Neoshell
ispo 2011: Polartec Neoshell (Photo credit: airFreshing)

The OutDoor show honors Polartec‘s founder July 13, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications Aaron Feuerstein, the former owner of Malden Mills and the man behind Polartec, has been elected OutDoor Celebrity of the Year for 2014. The 88 year-old grandson of Malden Mills’ founder was credited for changing the clothing that people wear for outdoor activities.Under Feuerstein’s leadership, Malden Mills invested $20 million in the early ‘sixties to produce synthetic fibers. He made the strongest impact on the outdoor industry in 1979 with the development of Polar Fleece, a new fabric that was first adopted by Patagonia and then most other outdoor apparel brands.The jury was impressed with the commitment displayed by Feuerstein in 1995 when an explosion destroyed three of the company’s buildings in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Then aged 70, Feuerstein decided to rebuild them entirely, on the same spot and keeping all the staff on the payroll. The company eventually filed for bankruptcy and was acquired in 2007 by an investment fund, Versa Capital Management, which subsequently bought Eastern Mountain Sports and is now taking over Sport Chalet

via The Outdoor Industry Compass – EDM Publications.


David Epstein: Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger? | Talk Video |

When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this delightfully counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents is just one of them.

pin This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

via David Epstein: Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger? | Talk Video |


Dear Startups, Don’t Skip Design Thinking

In 2013, Forbes reported that a startling 80% of young companies fail within 18 months. Why? There’s no shortage of information online to advise on growing market penetration rates, brand loyalty and so forth. Nor is there a lack of able agencies and specialists to consult with.

One thing the Internet can’t give, and money can’t buy, is learned personal experience. A consultant I admire always says: “You’re not paying for my successful experiences, but my failures.”

Humans learn by doing, and by the transitive property, companies do, too. The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a non-profit brainchild of the city’s government, industry and academic leaders, recognized this and set out to fuel Los Angeles cleantech startups with knowledge that is either very expensive or learned the hard way.

LACI cultivates traditional business acumen through providing CEO mentoring, access to investor and customer networks, and collaborative working space, but recently, LACI saw the increasing value in adding user-centered design and creative thinking to the mix.

Would tech start-ups succeed if they adopted this holistic approach from square one?

(Check back in a few months and we’ll let you know).

Partnering with local specialists, Pull Experience Inc., Motivo Engineering and Echo-Factory, LACI started an ongoing Design Thinking Workshop Series to equip its portfolio companies with this methodology.

Erik Steeb, VP of Programs at LACI, explains: “Design is a critical element of any business but it’s especially important for startups who have the unique challenge of discovering the right business model for their innovation. Too often, companies spend all their time on the innovation itself and miss one or two key elements that would really connect with a particular market. By identifying and really understanding their customers early on, companies can save a lot of time and money in discovering that successful business model.”

The series started with participants collectively selecting a problem to solve that affects their community: “create a solution that combats the negative health affects of smog in populations near the freeway.”

Through five pillars of design thinking, shared below, theory was put into practice in a “safe and fast fail” environment.

1. Uncover insights that drive innovation

Considering the user through the lens of empathy is crucial. Start with definingwho your users are. Create personas. Speculate about the pain points of their daily lives, their behaviors, desires and needs. As a startup, narrow down your potential users to one beachhead market that you can service and win quickly.

Next, deepen your understanding by walking in their shoes (literally, if you can) with meticulous research to verify and refine your speculations. Skipping or skimming this step could jeopardize success; these insights let you know whether your target users would want and value your offering.

Make sense of your findings. Do opportunities rise to the surface that you hadn’t seen before? Be nimble. Identify key insights and focus on turning them into meaningful solutions.

2. Identify enabling technology

User driven, tech enabled.

Letting users drive solutions instead of technology might seem counter-intuitive for a cleantech startup, but it pays off. Insights from users should dictate the key requirements for a product or service. Ideas that aren’t harnessed in the right context risk missing their mark…and potential.

Develop concepts, prototypes and their use-cases. Test, fail, refine and debug. As you hone in on the best technology for your concept, evaluate whether it is a product or a platform. Be careful not to pigeonhole yourself into one product if your concept is actually a platform.

Nail the logistics.

In 2012, 84% of Kickstarter’s top projects shipped significantly later than promised. As a new company, understanding realistic timelines and costs for product development, packaging and delivery is important, impacting your ability to compete and retain customers. Consult with seasoned experts and take advantage of multi-functional teams.

3. Turn solutions into viable ventures

Make it real.

As your prototypes increase in fidelity, refine your value proposition. Pivot as necessary, but never lose sight of the user. What needs are you satisfying? Who are your competitors and why should a customer choose you?

Refine the details of your business model.

Identify your partners, channels, revenue streams and cost structure. If infrastructure necessary for the ideal user experience is missing, address that. For example, offering a life-simplifying technology with a complicated purchasing experience creates dissonance. Find or create alternatives.

4. Design and tell stories

Bring your value proposition to life by telling the story of your solution. Get people excited, create memories and make complex ideas digestible. Do this at every touch-point of the user experience, and for different audiences. Know what to say to both the venture capitalist and the social media blogger.

Ensure that the core of your story is both harmonized and reinforced across each touch-point – from the design of the artifact, the experience of using it, purchasing it, maintaining it, to social media messaging and customer service.

Be concise. In 2013, the average attention span was only eight seconds. Brief and repeatable messages are your friend. Visuals and imagery are too.

5. Fail efficiently

Companies rarely get the solution right the first time. Understanding and expecting that teaches us how to test early, often, and adjust accordingly. It’s OK to fail…but learn how to do it quickly, cheaply and learn from the experience.

In the design world, “thinking outside the box” is a cliché buzzword that might earn you a groan. Design thinking isn’t just about thinking outside of the box. It’s about empathizing with it. Knowing when it’s a sphere helps too.

Understanding the needs of your audience through design thinking is the first step, and critical foundation to creating solutions that solve real problems, create great experiences and improve life.

Cole Hershkowitz, CEO of LACI portfolio company Chai Energy, attended the series and remarked: “The workshop showed us that executing great design is far less about being some sort of Steve Jobs reincarnate and far more about approaching problems with the right processes.”

After the series, Hershkowitz recognized the adjustments his company needed, “We have already turned our product development process on its head. We now take our mockups, feature ideas, and prototypes directly to customers to get their feedback.”

via Dear Startups, Don’t Skip Design Thinking.

LITHOGRAPHICA – A Quarterly e-Journal from Arc’teryx // Issue No. 4

Design // by Lisa Richardson, Photography by Angela Percival and Brian Goldstone



Twenty-four year-old Isaac Newton, the father of gravity, calculus and the three laws of motion, was the first to discover that white light contains all the colours of the rainbow— by sticking a knife into his eye socket and wiggling it around.

It didn’t prove anything to his exacting satisfaction – he just saw coloured spots in his vision – so he pulled the blinds closed and began the less tactile work of bouncing a beam of sunlight through a glass prism. What projected was a 22 foot rainbow of colour, proving that white light isn’t white at all, but a composite of all the colours of the visible spectrum.

Newton also noticed that each colour was balanced by an opposing colour. Through the starkness of perfect contrast, an opposing colour is able to render its complement more beautiful, more essential, more luminous. His colour circle evolved into the colour wheel, revealing how blue complements orange, violet complements yellow and red complements green. Choosing which colours go together however, is not as easy as following a formula. At Arc’teryx, colour has its own department, a team of eight who, in their daily dedication to bringing richness and vibrancy to all products, dive deep into the collective unconscious of the colour underworld with nothing to guide them but their own insight.

“Colour preference is emotional and subjective,” says colour designer Trina Thompson, “and that makes colour prediction an art. But it’s also a science, because we need to balance and control each colour in each fabric.” Part psychology, part sociology, and a big dose of mystery; but at least there are no knives involved.

Colour is energy— literally. It’s a property of light, the radiant energy from the sun that streams towards earth at a speed of 299,792,458 meters per second. The visible part of this light energy sits on the electromagnetic spectrum in between longer radio, microwave and infrared waves and shorter ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, these colours make up what Newton termed the visible light spectrum. White light. This is the toolbox for the Arc’teryx colour team. And their goal? Render the power of the sun, one bold colour at a time, onto the surface of a garment.

For every single collection, each and every product, the colour team works from scratch to make abstraction real. At the colour stage designs come in as samples first; although the fabrics are correct, they may be in odd colours and there is no direction toward where colour might play: in panels, trim or otherwise. An entire story has to be created, one that harmonizes colour with purpose, other selections and across the entire line.

For the aerobic Endorphin product collection, colourist Sybille Kissling honed in on bright, swift colours with pace and high visibility. Easy to spot against any background, the palette was chosen to convey energy. When completed, colour lights up a collection so it can catch the eye, transcend oblivion, stop us in our tracks, close the sale and get us all outside.

Up to 90% of decision-making is based on colour. In a crucial 90 second judgment-forming window, as one admires the effect of a dye and the way it illuminates, colour is actually bouncing into your eye to trigger a cascade of memories and associations and emotions. The surface is just the thinnest part of the story.

Dr I-Chant Chiang, a professor in cognitive psychology at Squamish’s Quest University, is interested in the way the brain and the mind interconnect, and how language and culture affect the way humans think. She says that humans are visual creatures. A quarter of our brain is devoted to visual processing; the eye is just an outpost of brain neurons.

“When light hits an object, it bounces different length waves to your eyes which are processed by the rods and cones in the back of your eyes,” explains Chiang. That “colour” information is then processed by the brain’s occipital lobe via the ocular nerve. Barring dysfunction or disability, we all experience the same physical process of light transfer to signals in the brain. Or do we?

“Colour is extremely subjective,” says Corey Bond, the colour team’s administrator. “A big part of our job is to understand how people prefer colour and then compensating for that preference. Do they like their whites more blue than yellow? Do they prefer really saturated colours? ” Bright clear colours best serve the Northern European blonde-haired, blue-eyed complexion, whereas North Americans favour more muddy tones. Yellow is risky because not many Caucasians wear it well. In Asia, red is so lucky it’s used for wedding dresses. Gambling with a bright accent can score or it can scare.

Spinning the colour wheel becomes a game of roulette.

The colour team reference trend reports, global sales, feedback, colour theory and hard-won experience. They look to Nature. But mostly, to render the invisible visible, they go with their gut.

When even the least complex garment requires a cascade of colour decisions, a rigorous process is needed to keep the imagination in line. Main fabric, logo, zipper, zipper pulls, pull cords, patterns on the pull cords, sleeve binding, thread – nothing can be overlooked. Should the colours blend? Should they be tonal? Does the piece need some spice, an accent that pops out and draws everything together?

It’s a Rubik’s rainbow, a puzzle of garments and colourways and fabric quantities unraveling into infinity. The solution is colour boards. “Every single item we make requires a colourboard,” explains Corey Bond. “The colourboard covers each dyed piece in a product. They can be anywhere from one page to six pages long.”

Final colour selections are based on lab “dips”, tiny pieces of sample fabrics custom-dyed to the team’s specifications. Using what Kristi Birnie, Colour Design Manager, calls “projection,” the colour designers mentally translate the tiny swatches up to full scale. “When I was newer to it,” she says, “I’d see the piece in the end and think, Woah! That’s not really how I envisioned it. It’s wa-a-a-ay brighter. Or wa-a-a-ay green. But you get good at it. Now I can see the colour at the small scale, measure it with a spectrumometer, look at it under four different light sources, and project it up.”

Ruthlessness and an eye-crossing attention to detail are required to finalize the colourboards. Typically, six out of eight lab dips are positive. From those six colours, perhaps only two can be used. Colour options are pared away, codes entered into spreadsheets. Series of numbers become jackets with eye-popping details and subtle harmonies. But when the difference between lemon zest and magma red is typing 535 instead of 553, the margin for error is no margin at all.

For an athlete, the basic performance applications of colour are to stand out or to blend in; provide protection through visibility or invisibility. Nature operates the same way, using colour as a strategy to either attract attention or avoid it. Sometimes, invisibility is the best line of defense.

For colourist Kavan Cronin, the focus of some of his colourboards is to create products that not only blend into their background environment, but where “as many external visible components as possible match each other so no ‘targets’ are left.” When working with the LEAF division of Arc’teryx, (Law Enforcement and Armed Forces) Kavan’s aim is always to achieve near-perfect invisibility. “It takes extreme colour scrutiny and attention to detail.”

For personnel needing urban camouflage, Cronin developed Wolf, a dark grey tone chosen from the grayscale that blends in with concrete, glass and steel. From distance or in situations of marginal light, the grayscale tone of most surfaces is dark grey. Wolf is an alternative uniform colour for environments where black stands out.

Black isn’t always low profile and white isn’t white at all. And colours are really just complex judgments rendered as sensations. The invisible made visible, colour is just one tangible way to joyfully interact with physics’ most complex concepts – power, energy, frequency – just as skiing, climbing, hiking, running, are the ways we play with gravity, geology, momentum. We don’t have to grasp the science intellectually, or poke out our eyes, to get it.

“All humans see colour, but when you really tune in and appreciate it in your surroundings, it gives you a whole new perspective,” says Trina Thompson. “Viewing the world becomes much more of an emotional experience.”

It’s in this layer of emotion that colour is most impactful and mysterious. Once you attune to it, colour can be consciously harnessed, as a source of energy or serenity or power. For Kristi Birnie, the original Arc’teryx colourist, that’s what her team serves up every day, as they immerse themselves in a sea of contrast, hue, saturation, luminance, theory and spreadsheets. Empowerment.

“If you feel protected, and are in a colour that gets you really amped up, in a place of true confidence, then you’re at the top of your game.”

And that’s the goal.

via LITHOGRAPHICA – A Quarterly e-Journal from Arc’teryx // Issue No. 4.