OER speaks to Linda Kennedy Torstensson about Maier Sports, a market leader in outdoor and ski wear in Germany, to find out about their kit and why they’ve decided to launch it to the UK market.
Can you tell us about yourself and what your job role entails?
I am Linda Kennedy Torstensson, I manage HEJ International with my business partner and husband Tomas. We came into the outdoor industry nearly 10 years ago after many years of working with a number of household brand names in international marketing, and are now thrilled to be working with Maier Sports to launch the brand in the UK and Irish markets.
Can you give us an overview of the Maier Sport brand and its history?
Founded in 1938, Maier Sports combines a long history as an outdoor specialist with innovation and function. For over 75 years, Maier has relied on its great strengths – craftsmanship, design and the very latest in textile technology. Maier Sports combines tradition with innovation which has resulted in the German Design Award 2017, the German Brand Award 2016, several Plus X Awards and numerous ‘best in test’ recognitions.
Maier Sports not only places great value on quality, but also on the responsible treatment of people and nature. Since 2011, Maier Sports has also been a member of the internationally renowned non-profit Fair Wear Foundation. This Foundation is regarded as the strictest protector in the monitoring of compliance with fair working conditions in the textile industry worldwide. Since 2012 the company has been led by joint MDs Mr Lothar Baisch and Ms Simone Mayer. In 2015 Maier Sports became part of the Schwan-Stabilo outdoor group joining the Deuter, Ortovox and Gonso brands.
What type of outdoor products does Maier Sport produce?
The Maier Sports range caters for all types of outdoor activity from the weekend walker to the committed backcountry skier. We want people to have fun outdoors and to support them in their desire to engage in active outdoor pursuits, enabling them to escape from day-to-day stresses. Maier Sports prides itself on being the fitting expert for all who enjoy the outdoors at whatever level.
The core product ranges include a full range of hiking and walking outfits for summer and winter, featuring base layers, mid layers, insulation, softshells and highly functional waterproof jackets. Maier Sports specialises in functional trousers for men, women and also kids.
What technologies are used in your garments and why?
Maier Sports Perfect Fit: Maier Sports firmly believe that to provide optimum performance, garments must fit correctly. Drawing on nearly 80 years of experience they have developed their own unique sizing software to create a comprehensive range of sizes for trousers, jackets and mid layers which allows the consumer to find their perfect fit.
System Dual Protection: One of the brands technical highlights is the double membrane, System Dual Protection® (SDP) as seen in the Jacket Tamesi Evo. SDP uses a double membrane system. The outer hydrophilic membrane is combined with a water repellent outer fabric and the inner layer is also covered with a hydrophilic membrane to produce a garment which is not only waterproof, windproof and breathable but which also manages condensation to provide maximum comfort.
mTEX: Nearly all jackets feature the water, windproof and breathable membrane technology mTEX, from MTEX 5,000 for everyday use to mTEX 20,000 for those who require maximum performance.
PFC–free DWR finish: Maier Sports are pioneers in the field of PFC-free finishes. Many jackets in the collection currently use this environmentally-friendly treatment with ever improving water repellent and wash resistant properties. New for spring 2018: all walking trousers with stretch fabric will be PFC-free.
How successful is the brand in its home market?
Maier Sports is the recognised fitting specialist and market leader when it comes to walking trousers in Germany. For a number of years the brand has been steadily growing on 2 fronts. During the past 5 years the brand has achieved its strategic goal of becoming an outdoor and ski brand rather than a ski and outdoor brand. Whilst ski accounted for ca 80% of turnover just 4 years ago, the balance has now shifted to ca 60% in favour of outdoor but without negatively impacting on the total ski turnover. Key to success has been the positioning of the brand as the fitting specialist supported by a comprehensive never out of stock (NOS) programme. A further success factor has been the focus on the everyday user; Maier Sports is every bit as much for the weekend wanderer or dog walker as it is for the committed mountaineer.
How are you launching your products to the UK market?
The launch, which has already begun, is focused on the trousers range and Maier Sports’ fitting USP. It is being comprehensively supported both in and out of store. A POS kit is available to each customer enabling them to clearly merchandise and sign post the range to the end user. Our agents are also making in-store training visits to familiarize staff with the product as well as ensuring staff are kitted out accordingly.
In addition, there is advertising support both to trade and consumer via print, digital and social media channels together with a comprehensive PR plan. Last but not least, we will be working with Walks Around Britain (www.walksaroundbritain.co.uk) on their forthcoming TV series.
What makes your kit unique compared to what’s already available on the UK market?
The Maier Sports Perfect Fit. The Maier Sports philosophy is that to be fit for purpose clothing needs to fit well. With the advantage of 80 years of experience, they have created a range which offers 57 different sizes of trousers and 50 different jacket sizes, so whether you are short, long, skinny, round or indeed standard there is a pair of trousers and a jacket to fit!
This perfect fit promise together with a NOS programme, a 48 hour B2B online ordering service, a 5 year product guarantee backed by an in-house repair service, commitment to the environment and an impressive array of awards combine to make Maier Sports a must-stock brand.