It’s one of the best-known names to come out of the British Isles in the last century, and Land Rover will forever be associated with rugged landscapes and the outdoors life. With this in mind it seems that footwear and lifestyle clothing is an ideal extension of the brand, as Pieter Gommans explained to SGB…
SGB: Land Rover seems a natural brand name choice to take into the outdoors market, because it’s such a famous name – was it as simple as that, the decision to take it to market?
Pieter Gommans: Not really… Land Rover is licensing their name, like many brands are doing, and they found us at the Bosgroep to be the right partner for them as a licensee for their footwear and lifestyle accessories business; and that’s how we got involved with each other, it’s that simple.
SGB: Who is your target consumer for outdoor wear?
PG: It’s not only outdoor wear that we are doing, it’s a part of it. With footwear we target our customer, and our target customer is 30- to 50-year-old men or women, though of course there will always be some younger and some older people who like to wear our products. From there we went to see what was possible in that market, what they need, what they’re wearing, what are their habits and so on; of course, you look first at the people who drive Land Rover or a Range Rover, then we divided our market into three parts: Active, Casual, and City, which gives us a broad appeal across different demographics.
SGB: In terms of geography, where have you seen the biggest successes with the name and the lines, which countries?
PG: At the moment of course we are based in Holland, we have offices in seven countries in Europe, so Europe is a very important market for us, but we also decided we would open an office in the United States. The main markets for us to start up now are in the European market and the United States.
SGB: Looking forward and driving your growth, where are you targeting next?
PG: I think the next step for us first of all are countries like Russia where also the brand Land Rover as a vehicle is doing very, very well and then later on you get areas like the Far East for example, especially China, comes a big, big market for Land Rover as well but the business over there has gone differently than in Europe. You have to monitor how the business is done in the market, in small brand shops or in multi-brand shops or whatever, so there’s a big difference potentially.
SGB: Russia endures huge extremes of weather, as does China – do you tailor product specifically for those countries?
PG: In the future we’ll do that for sure. When you first start up, in the first seasons you try to drive in the middle a little and then later on you make some special ranges for different countries. In the United States for example, they have a different collection than in Europe and this is not only concerning fashion but also concerning the weather and everything. For Russia in the future there is a big market there for the winter collections, big market for the extreme cold and everything, but you also have other countries, within Europe only, like Italy or Spain and Greece, of course Turkey where the summers are the most important seasons, so you have to be very careful which direction you’re heading.
SGB: Bosland has been doing this for more than a year now, what have you learned in that year?
PG: That the fashion industry is much faster than the car industry, that’s for sure. In the car industry, they are thinking ten years ahead and if you want to go along with them then it’s very difficult, because you have to think season by season and you cannot change quickly like others in the fashion business are doing. You have to stay put a little bit, not change too much in your line because as a licensee holder we will never be able to change the brand awareness of Land Rover.