In Sweden the name Didriksons is synonymous with rain and functional outerwear–no wonder, since the brand has a bit of a history: it was founded in 1913 by couple Julius and Hanna Didriksons who initially started with workwear for fishermen. A couple of years ago the brand has started its European expansion, bringing its Originals and Sport collections to the German speaking and Benelux countries, among others. Via e-mail, we spoke to and asked Jan Henning, Didrikson’s country manager DACH Benelux and European sales manager of Originals, why the market needs yet another outerwear brand.
Didriksons gives the stores a more clean and Scandinavian look versus most of the other outerwear brands. The mix of fashion and function is in our DNA almost since the beginning. Already in the 1930s the brand developed functional and fashionable outerwear for business people in the Swedish cities. We actually celebrated this story with our Rex collection in spring/summer‘’19.
Another difference is our focus on women as most of the outerwear/outdoor brands are driven by a more masculine approach. Our women’s products are functional but still feminine and work on every occasion for the modern women.
Also we perfectly match the top three purchase criteria from the consumer, when the consumer decides on buying outerwear. These criteria are function, style and price value. And on top of that we also keep an eye on sustainability, which is getting more and more important for the consumer. We did this already for a long time. As an example I would like to point out that all our products are PFC free since 2015 and we save millions of liters of water every season by using solution dyeing.
What's your key recipe to make Didriksons better known outside of Scandinavia?
It’s based on two approaches:
Partner up with the right retailers to make sure our products are in the right environment and the retailer can be successful with our products. This also means that we work together with our partners on the individual assortment, which fits best into the individual store. The consumers in Sweden have different demands than the ones in the UK or Germany. And even inside the countries there is sometimes a big difference in terms of demand in between different regions. It’s also important to figure out what the reason is for the consumer to go to this particular store. This also affects which product should be offered in the store. With the variety of our products we are able to fulfill different demands of customers and consumers. A short summary of this could be: The right product at the right place at the right time.
And of course we invest in classical marketing activities like PR, out of home campaigns in key cities, social media and online marketing.
What are your main competitors in the market and in what surrounding do you position the brand?
The main competitors differ across the European markets. In general we like to position ourselves next to the market leaders, as in most of the cases we offer a totally different feeling to the consumer. This also helps the retailers to fresh up their portfolio and catch the consumer who is looking for something different.
How does Didriksons want to bring its heritage, the functional approach and modernity/fashion trends together?
As we are over 100 years old we have a lot of heritage and stories to tell. For every season we are looking into our archive and get one of these stories back to life. Therefore we turn these stories into modern products without losing our heritage and our core, like we did with our Rex collection in spring/summer ’19. In the next two seasons we celebrate our founders Hanna and Julius Didrikson. In autumn/winter ’19 we celebrate Hanna as the modern businesswoman she was with a collection made for the modern businesswoman of today. In spring/summer ’20 we then tell the story of Julius, who was a very creative mind and proved this by writing poems and at the same time working on solutions to use the wind and the waves on the Swedish west coast to produce energy for his factory. This we do by creating a product, Julius, which is a perfect match of our heritage and the newest developments in terms of fabrics.
Please tell us about current product novelties...
In spring/summer ‘19 we launched fully recyclable rainwear, where we managed to make the shell and the membrane out of polyester. This fabric will now also be used in our spring/summer ’20 Rex coats.
Also for spring/summer ‘20 we will launch a men’s sportswear collection out of Sorona fiber from DuPont. The base for Sorona is actually corn and it takes 30% less energy and produces 63% less greenhouse gases than nylon. It is also very durable and of course the look and feel of it is great.
Today it is all about collabs, collection segmentation and limited editions: anything in the pipeline?
In 2018 we had a collab with the German streetwear brand Pacemaker with a very limited distribution (stores like Overkill, 43einhalb, Tittolo), which has been a great success for us. We sold about 400 jackets in 24 hours.
For spring/summer ‘20 we will release the previous mentioned Julius. Here we are also looking for an exclusive distribution and the quantities of this product will be limited to 150 pieces globally. This is a new approach for us as a brand and probably the biggest statement product we have done in the last couple of years. It tells the fantastic story about our creative founder Julius and combines one of our icon silhouettes (Anorak/Slaghöken) and fabrics (Galon) with a state-of-the-art sustainable fabric mix (recycled polyester/organic cotton and solution dyed lining). And to honor Julius’ engineering skills we also have some creative and functional details added to the jacket.
We are currently not planning to open physical retail in terms of changing to a retail organization. We will continue to focus on the wholesale business with our partners. Of course we have our own webshop, but here the focus is more on inspiring our consumers and give them insider information and the news they need and demand from our brand.
To support our storytelling and increase our brand awareness we will open some pop-up stores in the future. This gives us the chance to showcase the brand and our collection in a more marketing driven way. And of course this gives an additional touch point with our consumers, where we can interact with them.
We are currently running one at NK in Stockholm and will open another one the mall Bikini Berlin in autumn/winter ’19.