Nicolas Bargi, founder and CEO, Save The Duck, speaks about the company’s future strategy after its 80% had been acquired by Reinold Geiger and André Hoffmann, respectively executive president and CEO of the multinational L’Occitane International.
He is also explaining how the brand, that celebrated its 10th anniversary during the last Pitti Uomo, is facing the global market challenges while remaining faithful to its own 100% animal-free-DNA.
We are very happy. The company is performing well and flying as it registered a +35% growth in 2021 and further +40% this year. We will close this year with a €60 million turnover this year and a 20% EBITDA.
The private equity was just presented with good returns on investment. Our new majority owners are two entrepreneurs as I am, and they want Save The Duck to become a global brand with great investments in marketing, retail and on-line, as digitalization remains an important part for our growth.
Our main markets are USA and DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Export counts for 65% of our sales.
What about e-commerce? How important is it?
It counts for 8% of our sales, but it can still grow significantly. In Europe, as average, they say it generally counts for about 10%. In The US it already counts 10% for us, but we aim to reach at least 20% only in the US while in general we can aim to reach a total of 10-%15%, thanks to the US which is our strongest market.
Out of our total sales, 85% is still represented by the 2,000 multi brand stores that sell our brand in 42 countries. We also sell through four mono brands stores and two new ones that will open soon - one in New York at Spring State, Soho, in September, and one in Bologna in Via Delle Clavature soon after. We are also looking for new spaces in Rome and Paris. That’s how our new owners are pushing the brand’s growth.
Speaking about the collections, how many pieces does it offer? What is the core business?
It is made up of about 150 SKUs for adult and 40 ones for kid, which is a reduced size version of the adult’s collection.
For men, we also launched beachwear. It was highly appreciated, also in this case it is 80% recycled and 20% Lycra. Next year we aim to also launch women’s beachwear.
Yes, it is. We are a B Corp, and as we got this recognisement three years ago, this year we will be re-evaluated. To reach this achievement, we have to gain a higher score - and we will manage that - and we will know the result at the end of this year.
Will you introduce any new material or development?
We have reduced the number of materials we work with and have concentrated on making more sustainable the ones we are already working with. The offer of sustainable pieces has increased from 30% to 55%, and we are trying to work on the quality of what we already have and trying to make it become more sustainable rather than looking for new products.
We are surely also putting our attention on the aspect of biodegradability of recycled and recyclable garments, but we also have to keep in mind that the final consumer is not so prepared and doesn’t know all the latest updates in this field. For this, the evolution has to be gradual. If not, you risk offering products that cannot be understood by the consumer.
We have already registered an increase in prices for f/w of 12% and that will be replicated for s/s too. It is mostly due to the cost of transportation and to the cost of the raw material, even if the synthetic materials have suffered less than all other ones. Though, our fabric suppliers are worldwide leaders. For this, didn’t have to face problems of production or availability.
Who are they?
We use Teijin and Toray for fabrics and YKK for zippers.
In China. We use six factories we have been working with them since the beginning, and they are making the whole path of sustainability with us. We are implementing this path as 80% of the impact depends upon the manufacturers. Therefore, we have to work constantly on this aspect.