Rab, the British brand for technical mountaineering apparel and equipment, has just opened its own subsidiary for the U.S. market. The Brits showed up at the OR show for the first time two years ago and now consider the American market attractive enough to install their own operations in Boulder, Colorado. Sales in the U.S. make up 5 percent of the brand’s turnover while 75 percent of the business continues to be done on the U.K. home market; the rest comes from continental Europe.
The American operations will be run by the owner himself, Matt Gowar, who will act as the president of the newly created company. The European business is coordinated by Chris Harding. Rab is represented by sales agents in major European markets such as the Netherlands, Scandinavia and France, but currently not in Germany. The former representative there, Dirk Reinholz, decided to quit the wholesale business and to move into outdoor specialty retailing.
Matt Gowar acquired the Rab brand, whose core business is high-quality downs, in 2003. The company was founded by Rab Harrington, a Scotsman, in 1989. Rab works in Europe with sales agents in the various markets; retailers are supplied from the company’s U.K. warehouse.