OE Retailer speaks to Gunnar Bjorling, General Manager at Snow Peak UK, to find out about Japan’s favourite outdoor brand launching in the UK
Can you introduce Snow Peak and its history?
Snow Peak’s journey began in 1958, when our founder Yukio Yamai, an accomplished mountaineer, created his own line of superior climbing gear out of the discontent for the current gear on the market. It is our birthplace and our founder’s heritage that we look to whenever we sit down at the drawing board and create our next piece of outdoor gear.
Snow Peak’s home in Sanjo City is in the Chūetsu region of Niigata Prefecture, which is also known locally as the hardware town for its history of fine crafted metal work. A range of mountains that rise up to an altitude of 8,051ft between Niigata and Fukushima prefectures with rivers and streams cutting into the valleys, flow out to the East Japan Sea.
This rich environment naturally evokes a strong connection to the outdoors. For the people born and raised here, nature is a part of life. It is this place that inspired Yukio Yamai, and to this day continues to inspire all of the products that come from Snow Peak, as is still home to our international headquarters.
From 1980 Snow Peak has been run by Yamai’s son, Tohru Yamai, who brought the company to national recognition as a brand who inspires people around the world to enjoy the outdoors and find harmony with nature. Yamai believes that it is Snow Peak’s mission to bring people closer to nature; that by spending time out of doors we find our humanity.
Presently, the next generation of the Yamai legacy is being brought forward by Yukio’s granddaughter, Lisa Yamai, who in 2014 launched Snow Peak Apparel. With great acclaim from the fashion and outdoor industries, Snow Peak Apparel has inspired a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.
What does Snow Peak stand for as a brand?
Our mission is to inspire more people to go outdoors and connect with nature in their own way. We do this by offering innovative products using only the best materials and unique aesthetics, running a number of campsites and resorts, and hosting a large number of yearly camping events where employees and Snow Peak customers enjoy nature and outdoor life together.
Can you talk us through your collection?
We offer both gear and apparel for enjoyment in nature. Our products are only manufactured with premium materials and we try to add something new to the market when it comes to aesthetics and technical function.
What makes Snow Peak unique compared to other outdoor brands?
We like to think that we provide a new outdoor culture through design and a quality of product that attracts new users to venture outside. We question the norms of what technical performance actually is, both in gear and apparel, to try to give new perspective on what outdoor life can be. We are also very proud of our Japanese heritage and like to show that in the design of our products.
You launched your first European store in London this year. What are your plans in terms of growing the brand in UK and Europe?
Next step for us will be to create spaces where we can spend time with our customers in nature. Having our own campsites is just as important as opening the London store.
To find out more, visit the Snow Peak’s stand at ISPO Munich in hall A4, stand 415.