Dec 23, 2018

Olly Laws, Sales Director UK and Ireland for On, talks about the company and their future plans

Olly Laws, Sales Director UK and Ireland for On, talks to Mark Hayhurst about the company and their future plans

Can you tell us the history of the company?

On is a young Swiss sports company based in Zurich, Portland, Melbourne and Yokohama. It has one simple mission: put the fun in the run. A team of sports scientists, world-class athletes and designers spearheads this notion. On running shoes are winning design and technology distinctions all over the world.

Cushioned landing, firm takeoff: that’s the core concept behind the groundbreaking running shoe by the young Swiss brand. On’s patented technology combines the benefits of a soft training shoe and a firm racing shoe. The secret to this lies in the On’s “Clouds” – hollow pods on the sole of the shoe that stretch back on impact to cushion the landing, then lock to form the solid foundation required for a powerful push-off. The result is a new running experience: fast, light, agile.

Eight years after market launch, On is available from more than 5,000 specialist running stores in over 50 countries worldwide.

How is your company developing and growing?

On is growing 70 per cent globally and at 100 per cent per year in the UK and Ireland.

Have there been any recent developments that have changed your company’s profile?

I wouldn’t say there has been one singular development but our product range has broadened with apparel and accessories, so we now offer a head-to-toe premium solution for an On customer.

What inspires you to create new products, how do you develop them and bring them to the market?

Our goal is to put the fun into the run so any new product has to reflect this. We look for possible gaps in our range to bring out new products and use consumer feedback to improve existing models. The new CloudVenture train shoe for example has a total new outsole to improve, grip, traction and cushioning, which was as a result of customer feedback.

What can we expect from your company in the next 12 months?

We will expand our range of Outdoor products and also come out with a maximal cushioning offer with a wider fit.

How has the market changed in the last five years?

The way shoes fit in running speciality has changed hugely. Gone are the days of control/ maximum support shoes and it is now far more about comfort and looks, which fits On well. On has never used a dual density post and now most brands are following this.

What do you feel has been the company’s greatest success?

On has established itself as a leading footwear brand by being different and premium - no one was looking for a new footwear brand when we started in 2010.

To what do you attribute your success?

Having product that has a point of difference, and working in partnership with specialist retailers to help drive sell out of product.

What advice would you offer to retailers?

I think speciality retailers need to keep the difference between themselves and big box retailers and they should look to brands that support this with limited distribution so they get return customers.

What services and support do you offer retailers who stock your product?

Nothing is off limits but the main ways we support are in-store sellout support, tech training, premium windows and in-store POS and event support to raise awareness.

What trends do you predict will be popular in the coming year?

I think Outdoor is recovering after a few flat years and also the demands of the new runner of having a good looking performance shoe which they can wear all day will continue.

What are you currently working on? New launches, etc?

We are planning our sell-out support for 2019 and are in the sell-in for the FW19 range, which we have eight new models. We launch our updated trail shoe next week and will launch a very commercial neutral shoe in Q1 next year.

How can a new customer open an account?

By contacting myself, we would then meet at the store to see if the requirements of our distribution policy work for both parties.

How important is social media to you?

As a smaller brand we use this a lot to grow awareness. Our ambassadors are also very active on this, posting their own unique content.

How important are your influencers and athletes to your business?

They are important to grow awareness but I am not convinced how many pairs of shoes a high profile athlete can help sell. An influencer can be someone in a running club who speaks favourable and we can win more new fans this way. The most important thing with influencers and athletes is that their personality fits the brand.


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