Thursday, November 14, 2013

Doc Martens takeover

After Klaus Martens had a skiing accident in Bavaria in 1945 he could not find a comfortable pair of boots to support his ankle injury. Out of frustration he developed shoes with an airpocket in the sole. He continued to develop the idea with his friend Herbert Funck and together they used army surplus aircraft tyres for soling. Keen to commercialise they went into partnership with a Northampton based boot maker run by Bill Giggs. Giggs bought the patent , anglicized the name, and started manufacturing Dr. Martens (Airware) boots. At first airway shoes met with cold indifference but soon became firm favourites with women who found them incredibly comfortable. Later the boots became popular with workpeople in search of comfort. Dr Martens boots have experienced enormous transitions across the decades and become firm favourites from policemen to punks; clergymen to high fashion divas. The iconic boots have come to represent both fashion and anti-fashion which no other shoe has. In 2003 declining sales and bad business decisions nearly forced the company into bankruptcy. A successful restructuring saw sales improve and by 2012 new records were again being set. Dr Martens has doubled the size of the business over the last four years and sold about five million pairs of shoes a year. Most are made overseas, but 70,000 a year are still produced at its factory in Northampton. Last month Permira Fundspaid an estimatd $485 million to buy Dr. Martens. Permira's portfolio of fashion businesses includes Hugo Boss, New Look and Spain's Cortefiel.

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