Another American brand of cold-weather, waterproof sheepskin boots, Bearpaw, is trying to take advantage of Ugg's weakness to expand its position as a lower-priced alternative in all the sales channels. Claiming that its shoes are of comparable quality or better for a lower price and better margins, it is making new moves in the European market, contracting a third-party warehouse in the Netherlands to service new and existing distributors in the region.
The new European logistics, which should become operational later this year, are going to make it easier for new and existing distributors to service their clients in a flexible manner in all the retail channels, including outdoor stores. It previously relied on a distributor in France to hold much of the stock, but the relationship didn't work out, leading to some inventory liquidations.
Bearpaw has already long-established relations with distributors, retailers and sales reps in Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic countries. Its Polish distributor, We Global Distribution, will also service the Czech market from the month of September.
Kevin McDonald, who became vice president of international sales for Bearpaw in August 2014, is holding discussions with potential partners in other European countries, including Finland, Switzerland, Italy, France and the Benelux countries. He handled international sales for American Sporting Goods and Brown Shoe Company before.
Bearpaw is considering exhibiting at Ispo and other trade shows next year with a view to expanding its footprint in Europe in the course of 2018.
The company doesn't want to disclose its turnover. It says it has been expanding its presence in North America lately, thanks to the integration of a new waterproofing solution in its shoes, the launch of an apparel line and new marketing initiatives.