Berg ahead of its time

Even before the athleisure trend, Berg Outdoor already grew under the principle of offering consumers clothing that combined functionality, design and versatility. The brand owned by Sonae continues to add fans in Portugal and around the world, with the online opening doors for a possible physical store in the future.

Born in 2002, the brand owned by Sonae has positioned itself, from the beginning, in the urban outdoor segment. «The brand is aimed at people who wear outdoor in their daily life and who like to mix it with casual pieces. Despite obviously having functionality – it must to be possible to go spend a day on the mountain or traveling – the items are very versatile and effectively allow a very casual use, which is what a lot of customers demand today», said Susana Barros, brand manager of Berg Outdoor, in Jornal Têxtil’s March issue.

The trend, however, has contributed to the growth of the brand. «It is exactly why we have grown. There are many brands making that path but they started at the opposite pole, the ultra-technical, and are now approaching the casual-technical. We are a brand that was born exactly in this position and, therefore, I would say that it is in our DNA and customers can see, by the colours and the design, that we are not an outdoor brand like the others – we are different by this touch of urbanity», she highlighted.

The collections clearly reflect this positioning of Berg Outdoor. The snow line, for instance, earned higher ranges, «always with the principle of maintaining a high level of functionality, but with a great design and a touch of urbanity and versatility. For example, all our snow jackets can turn into winter coats – removing the hood and the “skirt”, it is a winter coat with colours that perfectly match everyday clothes», explained the brand manager. Also the Active range, «which is the brand’s heart» has new features, including «hybrid, which is a mixture of filler and polar knits, and, especially in the woman collection, we have increasingly feminine cuts, more differentiated from man, which is relatively rare in outdoor», she underlined.

Internationalization began only in 2011, but five years later 35% of its sales are in international markets, especially in Spain, but also in countries such as Austria, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, Mexico and countries in Eastern Europe. «Our largest client at this time is in Slovakia, it is a sports chain called Exisport», revealed Susana Barros. «This year we are entering, for the first time, with the spring-summer 2016 collection in Germany, in relevant retailers like Globetrotter and Engelhorn», she mentioned. Germany, moreover, is one of the major investments, since the brand has even created its own structure in the country, with a country manager and a showroom in Munich. «We are open, of course, to the whole world, but our active focus is Europe, with special emphasis on Germany», she pointed out.

To a year of growth in 2015, Berg Outdoor expects to continue to add international sales in 2016, especially beyond the Iberian Peninsula. «We will have to have 20% to 25% of our business outside Portugal and Spain», anticipated Susana Barros.

To this will also contribute its international online store, for Europe, following the launch of the online store in Portugal and Spain.

A virtual step that could, in a year, become physical. In the process of having its own stores, «we decided to start with the online», explained the brand manager, revealing, however, that «we are also anticipating in our plan to work in a store concept to open it in 2017», probably in Portugal.