Helinox, the young Korean brand of camping equipment, has signed with ProAgencies, a network of sales agents and distributors, to represent it in the U.K. with immediate effect. ProAgencies represents several brands in the outdoor sector such as Eagle Creek, Asolo and PackTowl.
The Helinox business will be handled by Lawrence Friell in the North, Matt Moore for the Midlands and Seb Murphy for the South, taking over from Peter Rostron and Richard Garland, the brand's former representatives in the country.
Helinox specializes in the design and production of lightweight outdoor equipment and furniture, including chairs, cots and tables, shade, trekking poles and umbrellas. U.K. operations are overseen by Helinox EMEA, a wholly owned subsidiary for Europe, which is run by Andy Shand, the former international director of CamelBak who came on board in July 2018. However, Mark Flanagan has stepped down from his role as European commercial director.
The company has reviewed its strategy for each European country, recruiting a network of sales agents and distributors. The brand is now represented in 16 European markets, and sales in the first half of 2019 are in line with the brand's growth ambitions, says the company, without providing specific figures.
Shand has been focusing on improving back-office logistics and customer services as well as providing sustained trade and consumer marketing communications to back up the sell-out of an enhanced product offer.
Last September, Helinox opened a regional customer service office in Amsterdam and, working with a warehouse and logistics partner in Rotterdam, the team has improved order management, delivery and after-sales performance for retail partners.
While improving its back office systems and logistics, Helinox has put a strong focus on enhancing in-store presentation for its products, working closely with retail partners. Recent initiatives have included a pop-up in an Au Vieux Campeur flagship store in Paris and a presence at Globetrotter's GlobeBoot “testivals” around Germany. In addition, it has organized proactive PR and product showcases at events such as Kendal Mountain Festival.
Helinox is now playing an active role in many aspects of the industry after becoming a member of both the European Outdoor Group (EOG) and the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) of the U.K., contributing to market research projects and the promotion of outdoor participation.
As with many other companies, issues relating to sustainability are a priority for the brand. The brand's Korean parent company, DAC, is a pioneer in the development of “green anodizing” processes for aluminum. It was the first aluminum producer to sign up to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition's Higg Index.
On the side of product initiatives, at a recent European sales meeting in Belgium, partners were presented with plans for 2020 and beyond. The brand is introducing a wider range of vibrant colors and patterns, and it has expanded into the shade category with new products. The expanded range of on-trend designs and developments will be showcased on the brand's new trade show stand at OutDoor by Ispo and then presented at the Outdoor-Profis show in Germany and at the U.K.'s Outdoor Trade Show (OTS) in Manchester.