In the US a must-have footwear item is still a pair of sheepskin boots from brands such as Ugg. Now, thanks to changes at the Australian company Emu, that same boot style is set is become a bestseller in Europe this season as well.

Emu is one of the brands that provide the European market with the sheepskin boots, and its founder, owner and CEO, Andrew J. Raggatt, has just implemented a new strategy for the European market. Although he started the European distribution with a partner, Germany’s Titus AG in Munster, he is now letting Emu fly solo. Thus the Emu Ridge Europe GmbH, located in Hamburg, was founded this year. It may relocate to Amsterdam in 2005.

"The less intermediaries we have, the cheaper the product," Raggatt says. He wants to keep retail prices for boots at around 100 euros. (Boots from competitors such as Ugg sell for 250 euros).

Raggatt considers Germany and France the most important European markets. "This is just because they have the highest population," he explains.

Apart from Europe, the USA still plays a significant role for the brand.

Another part of Raggatt’s strategy is to offer a wider range of products. At the last GDS in Dusseldorf, the world’s biggest shoe fair, Emu presented sheepskin boots and clogs as well as regular high-heels and ballerinas. "Contrary to others we are not just a boot company but a footwear company," Raggatt says.

All in all, Raggatt is quite optimistic about the potential for sheepskin boots on the continent. "In Europe the hype just began. I believe in the wellness factor. People want comfortable shoes. They buy one style now and will then go for another style or color."

– Sabine Kühnl, German Bureau Chief