Cimalp, which has developed a patented quick-dry polypropylene fabric coupled with Coolmax for its T-shirts and jackets, was the other company that got the French Outdoor Award at Camp de Base, the collective French exhibition at the OutDoor trade show in Friedrichshafen in July. Cimalp claims that its fabric, which is called Cyclone and has been specifically developed for trail running, absorbs sweat and other kinds of moisture ten times faster than regular fabrics.
The prize was given to Cimalp and Luxov (see the story on the digital climbing system in this issue) by Sporaltec, a regional organization for technical innovation in the sports sector financed with public and private funds.
Aside from its quick-dry fabric, this small French brand is interesting because it sells its products mainly over the internet and without agents in order to offer consumers a great price/quality ratio. Made in Asia and Portugal, its technical T-shirts and its jackets currently sell for only €17.97 and €39.90, respectively, after hefty end-of-season discounts.
Aside from its online shop, which sold its products directly to about 25,000 final users last year, Cimalp trades through only 50 physical stores in France. Its sales grew by 40 percent in 2004 to about €1.5 million. This compares with only €300,000 in 2008, when the company's current managing director, a 35-year-old engineer by the name of Lionel Marsanne, began to run the company. His father had taken over Cimalp in 1991 through a larger group, MDC.
Cimalp is looking for partners abroad that wish to follow the same B2C business model in order to keep prices down to a competitive level. The brand is relatively big in China, where the manufacturer of some of its clothing has positioned it in a higher segment of the market, opening 27 mono-brand stores at key locations. This year, besides the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, Cimalp participated with larger booths in the Ispo Beijing, Ispo Shanghai and Asia Outdoor trade shows.