Under the leadership of new CEO Paolo Porta, Hunter Boots seeks to diversify its products for a new generation – Glossy
The 165-year-old British brand Hunter Boots is known for several things: its British heritage, its rain boots and its focus on a female clientele in the older millennial age bracket.
While all of these things will remain a big part of the brand, Hunter is launching a “brand reset” campaign this month aimed at attracting younger consumers, expanding sales into categories other than rain boots and to reintroduce the brand worldwide. .
The reset was designed by new CEO Paolo Porta, who joined in June 2020, and CMO Claudia Plant, who joined in November. Since Porta took office last year, having held leadership roles at Jimmy Choo and Christian Dior Couture, he has filled the rest of the company’s management team with new blood. This includes Plant, who co-founded Net-a-Porter, as well as Sandra Romboli as Director of Global Design, Dave Powell as Director of Supply Chain and Lara Meiland-Shaw as Vice President of the Americas. . All of these executives have joined in the past six months.
The first campaign under the new philosophy is called “To the Outside World”, which launched on September 13 across all Hunter digital channels. The campaign features seven people with a connection to nature, from the founder of a community farm to a nature photographer. Their work for the environment and the outdoors is showcased in videos and photos.
Porta and Plant wanted to take advantage of the last 18 months of monumental change to reintroduce the brand and reaffirm its pillars of concentration. According to Plant, a critical aspect of Hunter’s identity is his connection to the outdoors.
“The past year has allowed people to connect more with nature, because they have opted for [more] walks and hikes, ”Plant said. “And, like all brands on the planet, we have turned strongly to digital. We are therefore trying to get this message across on our social networks, which serve as the gateway to our brand. “
Part of the reset under Porta’s leadership includes a focus on e-commerce and direct sales. While Hunter has a wide variety of wholesale partnerships around the world – with more deals being signed right now, according to Plant – the company has seen significant growth in direct and online sales. DTC accounts for 40% of the brand’s revenue, and current UK e-commerce sales are up 94% from the last quarter of 2020. Hunter only has two flagship stores – one in Japan and another in the UK – so most of its direct sales are done online. Hunter Boots does not disclose annual revenue, but its last published figure was $ 155 million in 2019.
Plant said physical experiences, like pop-ups and events, will be key to driving direct sales in the future. Hunter will focus on in-person activations in high traffic online marketplaces to help drive ongoing direct sales there. For example, Hunter is hosting an event at New York streetwear retailer Extra Butter in early October. The United States is Hunter’s largest market, so more events are planned in the United States over the next year.
“We have a growing business in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, as well as a great interest in China,” Plant said. Hunter entered China primarily through partnerships with Tmall and JD.com. “We are always looking for other ways to strengthen our business in China, but the growth there has been really impressive. ”
Finally, while rain boots are Hunter’s flagship product, Porta and her team want to expand into other categories. Using “outdoors” as a theme, the brand wants to stock more snow boots, sandals and sneakers in shoes, as well as its clothing, including winter coats and sweaters.
A business cannot live on just rain boots. Some areas receive very little rain. And South Africa, while a healthy market for Hunter, doesn’t buy as many rain boots as the UK, for example. Ultimately, Hunter’s management believe expanding into other categories is the best way to grow.
“I believe in Paolo’s vision to stimulate growth through the elevation and diversification of products [to become] a year-round, all-weather brand with a clear focus on sustainability, ”said Lara Meiland-Shaw, vice president of the Americas for Hunter. “There is incredible demand and love for Hunter in the Americas. We plan to capitalize on this momentum over the coming seasons with innovative product design and launches tailored to the US market. “