Winter 2019 - Inside Outdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | WINTER 2019 32 A n “overseas experi- ence” or OE is a rite of passage for Australians and New Zealanders. Following high school, teenagers from these countries take a gap year before university to travel the world, often with a Kathman- du pack on their back. Kathmandu was born in New Zea- land in 1998 and has since grown to be the largest outdoor brand in Australasia with more than 160 retail locations in New Zealand and Australia. It is publicly traded on the New Zealand and Austra- lian exchanges, and its sales revenues in 2018 exceeded $500 million NZ. Even with its size and strength in its home market, many in North Amer- ica hadn’t heard of the brand until it purchased Oboz Footwear last spring. This was its first step into the U.S. market as it embarks on launching in the U.S. in the fall of 2019. “In the U.S. we are focused on wholesale distribution in the specialty outdoor channel,” said Bill Chandler, vice president of sales and market- ing, Kathmandu North America. “There are no plans for physical brick-and-mortar stores here.” At the Outdoor Retailer Show last November Kathmandu made its first public appearance in the U.S. where the brand presented apparel, outer- wear, bags and packs. “The Kathmandu range is quite ex- tensive in Australia and New Zealand,” said Chandler. “We’ve selected a tight collection for the U.S. – most of it trav- el-centric with the fabrics and designs driving the conversations.” While travel is a core pillar of the brand, Kathmandu doesn’t define itself as a travel brand or an outdoor band. “We are a brand that is a culmi- nation of our experiences,” added Kathmandu Comes to America BrandWatch