Paul Gils, Vice President EMEA at New Era discusses about expansion plans in 2013 and huge difference between US market and the EMEA region. Interview by Maria Hunstig

As a successful headwear brand - do you plan to enlarge your apparel collection?
We are putting a lot of energy into our Apparel division, and from past learnings we have focused on strengthening our internal resources and choice of manufacturing partners. In 2012, we went back to basics with an offering of t-shirts that went very well. Now, we are in a position to introduce a cut and sew collection. Our customers do not want an over-designed line from the brand and with that in mind, we want to focus on quality, and make it work with the right retailers instead of pushing it into mass distribution.

What are your expansion plans for 2013?
In 2013, we want to continue our growth in the UK, Germany, France, Scandinavia and the Benelux states. Apart from that, Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland and the Middle East are important focus markets for us. In some of those countries we have changed the leadership and distribution back in 2012 to prepare for the expansion. Also, we have a vivid interest in developing our Women’s collection. We have developed a silhouette with a shorter visor, and more trend-inspired prints and colours.

How do the US and the European markets differ for New Era?
New Era still makes more than 80% of its profits in the US. There is a huge difference between those markets for us, as the EMEA region, follows a lifestyle approach whereas the US has a much higher fan following. If a young and trendy guy in the Berlin Mitte district walks around with a Yankees cap, he does it for reasons of style whereas in the US, that would simply mean he is a fan of the New York Yankees!