Canada Goose is literally taking the next step as a successful luxury brand capable of withstanding the worst winter can throw at it. It is launching a line of high-tech shoes as part of its “Beyond the Parka” growth strategy.
Coming soon, the Snow Mantra hi-top boot ($ 1,295) and the versatile Journey hiking boot ($ 750) for men and women. They will be available on the company’s website, at its more than 30 branded stores, and through established wholesale partners, including Net-A-Porter.
Both are completely waterproof and packed with all kinds of high-tech performance attributes we’ve come to expect from athletic shoes. But when the weather gets cold and humid, a pair of sneakers is not enough. Now consumers can don a pair of matching Canada Goose boots with their Canada Goose parka to be ready for whatever the weather throws at them.
Canada Goose first focused on footwear with the acquisition of Canadian footwear and outerwear company Baffin in 2018. While the two brands share a common heritage and a focus on cold-weather performance, Baffin continued to operate as a stand-alone business. However, Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss admits he’s learned a lot about the ins and outs of Baffin performance shoes.
Rather than simply affixing a Canada Goose logo to a pair of Baffin boots, Reiss and her team approached the development of a line of footwear following a proven, brand-centric process.
“Part of the success of the Canada Goose brand is its purity from the start,” says Reiss. “We started with the best outerwear and the warmest jackets in the world and expanded into other categories, such as lightweight down jackets, knits and other apparel. With shoes, we follow the same principle of starting small, taking our time to design the best product, and launching the product thoughtfully. ”
The company started going “Beyond the parka” about four years ago with the launch of knitwear in 2017, followed by fleece last year. And today, he reports that the clothing alone is expected to exceed $ 45 million in sales during the fiscal year.
The success of the Beyond the Parka adventure is due to its carefully choreographed step-by-step expansion into adjacent categories appropriate to the brand. With the launch of the shoes, Canada Goose can claim full-fledged lifestyle brand status as it gives its customers the ability to dress head to toe with the brand.
20-year journey towards a lifestyle brand
When Reiss joined Canada Goose in 1997, it was a utilitarian brand serving the needs of people facing the coldest temperatures on the planet, not just mountaineers and arctic explorers, but the people of the working class who needed ultimate protection from the elements.
Canada Goose was founded as a Canadian sportswear company in 1957 and innovated in down coats in the 1970s with the invention of a down filling machine.
She gained international fame in the 1980s with her Expedition Parka designed to protect scientists at the McMurdo Antarctic Station and designed a bespoke parka for Canadian Laurie Skreslet for her historic summit of Mount Everest in 1982.
Dani Reiss, the grandson of company founder Sam Tick and the son of David Reiss, who invented the filling machine, joined the company in 1997 and was appointed President and CEO in 2001.
“When I joined the company, we had about 20 styles of jackets, about $ 3 million in sales and no stores,” he says. Under his leadership, Canada Goose expanded into lighter parkas in 2011 to extend its sales season from the deep cold of winter in colder climates to three-season clothing everywhere. Today, more than 20% of turnover comes from its range of lightweight down.
“In the beginning, we were what you might call an ‘industrial’ brand, designed to serve the people who live and work in the coldest places on the planet,” says Reiss. “We have been able to leverage our performance and our functional promise and integrate with the general public to become a true luxury brand. I refer to us as the “Land Rover” of clothing. Our products really work and that sets us apart from all other brands.
After years of training in its core competency as the ultimate performance brand, Canada Goose peaked in luxury brand status in 2017 when it went public, having opened two flagship stores in Toronto. and in New York the year before.
Since then, it has followed its model of slow and steady expansion which it uses for products in retail. “We are very selective about the location of the stores,” he shares.
“Unlike a lot of other luxury brands, we don’t try to have a lot of stores. We only want to be in the best places in the biggest cities, ”he continues, noting that China is gaining more and more importance. More than half of its 30 stores (18) are located in China, “small compared to many other luxury brands,” he says.
It’s the season
The new line of Canada Goose boots will be released in November, as its primary sales season accelerates. It just completed its third and fourth most important fiscal quarters of all time, from October 2020 to March 2021.
In the fourth quarter alone, sales increased 33.7% compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 and 48% compared to the previous year. And e-commerce grew 123.2% year-on-year. Its growth rate in China is even more impressive with revenues doubling from last year.
Canada Goose closed fiscal 2021 with C $ 904 million, down slightly from fiscal 2020 when it reached C $ 958 million in sales. He expects revenue for fiscal 2022 to exceed C $ 1 billion.
In fiscal 2022, Reiss announced ten new store openings, including one in South Coast Plaza in Southern California, two new locations in Germany, another in the United Kingdom and six permanent stores in Asia Pacific.
“All of our markets have performed very well, as has our online e-commerce,” he concludes. “It shows the power of our lifestyle brand around the world and how our message resonates with consumers. We foresee a bright future.