Though Birkenstock plans to stay true to its roots, the company known for sandals still wants to grow.
It’s proving that by doubling its four-person field representative team to better cover the U.S., said Shelly Glasgow, Birkenstock’s director of product development and merchandising. The field service representative team helps serve the specialty retailers that sell the company’s products.
“Our existing team has been charged with serving the entire U.S.,” Glasgow explained. “Now we’ll just be able to do a better job of it. We just can’t get everywhere right now. We don’t like to do drive-by shoeings.”
Birkenstock has had some presence at Outdoor Retailer for a while, but five years ago it started attending the trade show regularly to make an increased push for specialty outdoor and running retailers to carry their product. So far, it's succeeding with that goal.
“We see what’s happening in the outdoor and the running market,” Glasgow said. “They’re on fire right now and it’s important to be there and talk with those retailers.”
Though the general silhouette and concept of Birkenstock products has not changed much since the 1960s, the products have increasingly been marketed as recovery shoes.
Many of the folks who got comfortable wearing Birkenstocks in the 1960s are still wearing them today, plus the company has increasingly been accepted among the younger demographic, earning it shelf space in hipster stores owned by Urban Outfitters like the namesake store, Anthropologie and Free People.
“That says to us not only is our product healthy and good for you and can be sold in our specialty running and outdoor channel, but our products are also in the hip channel,” Glasgow said. “It’s always important for us to get new younger wearers.”
Like other traditionally summer footwear brands such as Teva, Birkenstock is making a play for the year-round market with a few of its new silhouettes that are completely covered, versus its traditional two- or three-strap, leather-and-cork sandal.
“We’re launching two closed shoes that use same exact footbed technology,” as some of its other products, Glasgow said. Those items are the Maine (MSRP $160) and the Dundee (MSRP $175, photo, right). “That’s pretty exciting for us that we are expanding into a year-round type product.”
For more information on the field service representative jobs, visit Birkenstock’s job website.
“We want to do a good healthy search,” Glasgow said. “While we always appreciate folks that are in the business and have experience, we want to cast that net pretty wide and broad. Our brand is diverse we always want to have a diverse group working for us.”