Korkers strikes deal as brand targets Europe
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US footwear manufacturer Korkers shipped its first wading boots into Scandinavia this month following a distribution deal with European fly fishing brand Guideline.
The move is part of a two-year strategy to grow the Korkers brand across Europe. The Portland, Oregon, company is currently in talks with potential distribution partners in five other countries.
Brian Chaney, Korkers’ Director of Sales, told Angling International that his company had been looking for a route to the Scandinavian market since losing its distributor in Norway 18 months ago.
“We were still getting demand from the marketplace, but seeing a lot of misconceptions about our product line in chat rooms and so on,” he explained. “A lot of Korkers fans wanted to know how to get product.
“Rather than partner with another distributor, I felt that our wading boot line could add value to a brand that carried waders and was looking to gain market share. I contacted a number of overseas dealers to get their opinions and the majority felt Guideline was the best choice.
“Scandinavia is one of the better territories for us. Anglers there appreciate quality and innovation and are prepared to buy gear that helps them pursue their passion. This is a very big opportunity for Korkers.”
Although Korkers will initially supply a broad range of product, it will allow Guideline and its retail partners to help drive product selection. It will also encourage Guideline to hold adequate stock to support the business.
“To date the response to the product line has been very positive and there are only a couple of styles we will not offer in the Scandinavian market,” he said.
After focusing most of its effort on building the brand in the North American market, Chaney revealed that he was eager to find partners in France, Italy, South Africa, Korea and the UK to add to those already selling Korkers product in Japan, Germany, Austria, New Zealand and Australia. “As we mature we are looking to extend our reach. Europe is a very important market for us and we hope to grow our presence there significantly,” he said.
Guideline Managing Director, Espen Myhre, said that Korkers was a good fit with his company’s product portfolio. “We will see how this strategic co-operation might grow for both businesses,” he added.