Klättermusen is preparing to slash its product range in the coming months, as part of the new management's efforts to simplify the offering of the distinctive Swedish outdoor brand and to move on to another scale in terms of distribution.
The strategy is to be deployed by Johan Nordqvist, who became Klättermusen's chief executive in May. The appointment came about eight months after Scope, a Swedish private equity firm, acquired a majority stake in the company. It was previously owned and run by Peter Askulv, Klättermusen's founder, and his wife Eva. While they retain a minority share and pledged to ensure an efficient transition, they have decided to take a sailing trip around the world.
The particular challenge for Nordqvist is to make the brand scalable while retaining its distinctive identity – easily recognizable with a small range of conservative colors, sturdy garments and design made for performance, which come at a price. Another important part of Klättermusen's identity is its emphasis on sustainability, which has earned it countless prizes.
Nordqvist wants to keep all that while rationalizing the concept and explaining it more clearly to consumers. While Klättermusen was previously driven by product development, the approach should be more consumer-oriented in the coming years.
For this purpose Klättermusen has hired a brand experience manager, Eric Spongberg, who previously worked for Saatchi & Saatchi and founded Ski Lodge Engelberg in Switzerland. Spongberg, who has particular experience in social media, will join toward the middle of August. The brand is studying various options to engage with consumers, such as pop-up stores.
A designer who has been involved with H&M, Esprit and Gant helped to analyze the entire assortment. Klättermusen organized multiple workshops on the matter and held talks with some of its largest customers. On the back of the review, the product range should be roughly halved (for a start). The offering will be segmented and the brand will bring out many lighter garments – less sturdy and also lighter in terms of weight.
Klättermusen will start by building up its business in Sweden and Norway. Europe makes up 59 percent of the brand's sales, which reached about 45.3 million Swedish kronor (€4.90m-$6.63m) for the financial year until the end of March 2013. A significant part of the remaining 41 percent comes from Asia, with distribution in Japan, South Korea and China. Germany is the third focus market for the brand.
Nordqvist spent several years at Procter & Gamble and then moved on to EF Education First, working in London and as Asian regional vice-president based in Shanghai. Klättermusen's development is also closely followed by Fredrik Oweson, who represents Scope on the Swedish company's board.