Soon, winter will be drawing in and city streets across the globe will be awash with Canada Goose coats — the $600+ parkas that everyone thinks of as the warmest jackets around.
Canada Goose is a brand synonymous with winter. The company spent its early years producing warm outerwear for the Canadian Rangers and police force.
Decades later and its luxury coats, made with real coyote fur and “Hutterite” goose down, have been worn by celebrities like David Beckham as he played soccer in Antarctica and actor Daniel Craig during the filming of “Spectre.” Canada Goose is the parka of choice for film crews and scores of winter sports enthusiasts.
But now, Canada Goose is doubling down on springwear. It wants to become a year-round brand, also selling lightweight jackets and rain shells.
Jackie Poriadjian-Asch, Canada Goose chief marketing officer, told Business Insider: “We expect sales this year for spring are going to be 50% greater than last year. Expectations are huge.”
She added: “As we looked into our archives, those lighter-weight pieces — rain shells, or lighter-weight down — were already existing in our heritage and history. As we used the archives as a reference point, it became the obvious thing to do. The brand strength continues to grow as people continue to look at Canada Goose as the preferred outwear of choice, we want to tell them that [we cater for] other seasons as well. The designs and styles are still centered around utility: we’re not chasing a trend or trying to be fashionable.”
Canada Goose first released a spring collection in 2014, but it has a task ahead expanding from just being the reference brand for parkas alone. A Google Trends search shows searches for “Canada Goose” peak around the winter but then drop off fairly rapidly around spring each year.
Poriadjian-Asch has a few reasons to feel confident that is about to change.
Last year was the first time Canada Goose had launched an advertising campaign. This year, the media budget for its first global digital and outdoor campaign, launching September 19, is up 64% on the last. It stars “Vikings” actor Travis Fimmel and Canadian model Crista Cober.
There’s another first for Canada Goose this year. The brand’s debut flagship store opens on October 18 in Toronto and a New York City flagship is coming in November. The company used to be a largely wholesale business, but now it will have bricks and mortar locations for the first time, plus it has been steadily building out its ecommerce business to ship products around the world.
Canada Goose opened a larger factory in Winnipeg last year and outlined plans to double staff in the factory to 160 by March 2016 and a further 364 in 2017 to further support its international growth. Production had been one of the brand’s major stumbling blocks in the past.
Poriadjian-Asch explains: “These coats, you can’t forget, are handmade. A classic winter piece like the Snow Matra requires 247 pieces, put together by 49 sets of hands to create that one coat … because they are handmade in Canada there was so much demand, we could barely keep up. Most outerwear companies in 2013 and 2014 were able to ship in July. We were just being able to keep up with demand and orders to ship in November; we weren’t in stores in that [spring] period.”
Now, for the first year, Canada Goose can begin shipping far earlier and it means retail partners that would not usually consider the brand are putting their orders in.
The brand’s Hollywood glamour has certainly helped fuel some of that demand, but Poriadjian-Asch says “no dollars are being exchanged” and the brand doesn’t request celebrities to post on media about Canada Goose and other “traditional stuff brands go after” when it comes to endorsements.
Instead, Canada Goose would rather work with celebrities to create limited edition pieces.
Poriadjian-Asch said: “Rebecca Romijn [who plays the Mystique character in] X Men 2: her costume was nothing but painted on. She came to us and said: ‘Can you help me out and create something that’s ankle-length and super warm for me to wear between takes?’.”
The “Mystique” line was created as a result of that request and still exists in its line today. Canada Goose has also fulfilled similar requests from Jennifer Lawrence, Gerard Butler, and Stephen Spielberg. It also gives out jackets to filmmakers at the Toronto Film Festival.
Poriadjian-Asch’s next task is to look at pricing. At a typical retail price of $600 to $800, the brand is out of reach to many average consumers — although they’re not necessarily its core customers.
“Our sweet spot is 25-to-45-years-old, evenly balanced between men and women, average household income of over $75,000, but really pushing upwards towards $100,000 to $150,000,” Poriadjian-Asch said.
“At the end of the day, they want the product to function as well as make them look good. We feel like function is a thing that never goes out of style.”
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