In times of consumers’ growing demand for transparency and responsibility brands are rethinking their position in the market. Bag label Liebeskind Berlin has now decided to expand the partnership with two small Portuguese suppliers to a 100% European shoe production. Compared to partnering with suppliers in Asia, transport routes within the value chain now become more efficient as the leather used for the shoes is also produced in Portugal.
Sportswear International spoke to Liebeskind CEO Brigitte Danielmeyer about the brand’s latest strategic move and its possible consequences.
Liebeskind is transferring its entire shoe production to Portugal. Which motives led to that decision?
We know the companies and their professional performance and receive good individual support concerning craftsmanship. Short delivery times as well as a direct and immediate coordination between our designers and the onsite technicians are another big advantage.
Which role does the s.Oliver Group as the owner of the Liebeskind brand play in that decision?
S.Oliver is a strong mother company for us, whose services such as finances, logistics and IT we can use perfectly. Design, marketing and the selection of suppliers, though, happen completely independently from s.Oliver. Nevertheless there is a good, positive exchange between all the departments.
Liebeskind is mainly known for its high-quality leather bags. If the shoe production is transferred to Europe due to short transport routes and high quality standards, doesn’t that strategy also make sense for the main bag segment?
Absolutely. This is why we currently produce around 10 % of all our bags in Europe. This is new–and already applies to our current campaign bag, the Liebeskind Berlin B Bag, which was released at the end of August.
Was it difficult to find European producers that produce at your imagined price levels?
No, because we are willing to pay an appropriate price for high quality.
Who pays possible additional costs of the production? Are shoes made in Europe ultimately more expensive for the brand itself, for retailers or for the end consumer?
Neither one thing or another. It’s all about the cost-benefit ratio as well as speed, deliverability and punctuality–this is not only an advantage for us but also for the end consumer. We improve the quality of our products and prices stay untouched of this.
Do you openly communicate the transfer of production to the customer? Does “Made in Portugal” have the potential to drive sales?
Yes, it clearly does. We talk about it and our customers appreciate that.
Which role does sustainability play in the production of Liebeskind?
It continuously becomes more important and gets into the focus. We’re therefore engaged in a vivid dialogue with our suppliers. Our production is monitored extensively and fulfills all international standards. Besides leather other materials are tested in the product development. Those will only be introduced to the market as soon as they fulfill all standards required.
How is the use of leather as a main material of the shoes compatible with the maxim of sustainability?
We think that the sustainability thought is mainly transported by the longevity of our products. Our bags and shoes are not disposable products but everyday companions that accompany our customers for many years. The leather we use for production is exclusively a byproduct of livestock farming.
How do you evaluate the current development of the shoe market? How does Liebeskind position the brand on the market?
We are happy to see great new developments and fashion on the market. The sneaker hype remains unbroken and besides that there are many new forms.