As Danier Leather starts to sell off stock and store fixtures at reduced prices, and more than 1,000 Canadians prepare to start their next job search, we have to wonder why this is happening, again, in Canada.
Mediocre sales numbers in the last few years just couldn’t keep Danier competitive with other brands selling similar items. The brand was born in 1972, and for nearly 45 years was able to make a name for itself selling leather jackets and accessories. But now they’re on the way out.
In looking into stories about the brand and their bankruptcy it’s clear that two things pulled the brand down.
1) They didn’t have the proper inventory customers wanted during the long, cold winters of 2014 and 2015. A problem that may be excused because nobody knew just how long the winter weather was going to last.
2) According to Brent Houlden, chief financial officer for Danier, “There was also too great emphasis placed on serving a younger demographic, which resulted in a loss of sales to the company’s historic customer base”.
This reason is the most troubling, because something like the stock issues (not enough heavy winter coats to sell with high demand, too many light jackets with low demand) are explainable. They’re major issues that can drastically effect the bottom line, but you can see what happened, and how.
However, making the conscious decision to change the market focus has nothing to do with inventory or the weather. This decision was ill-fated from the beginning.
Danier Leather was never the young, hip or cool brand. It was the store in the mall or commercial district that had basic leather goods at reasonable prices. That was their image. And their customers were adults who wanted quality goods at reasonable prices. They didn’t care if they weren’t tightly on trend with New York or LA.
Targeting a new audience isn’t a bad idea if you have all the elements in place to shift your brand tone along with your product line. Danier only went party way, which almost never works. And when you’re trying to turn the ship around and you abandon your brand community to start fishing for a new one, the odds will never be in your favour.
Bye bye Danier, thanks for the discount deals on the way out.