Justin Expands Presence in Europe

Two Smiths — Sam and Stan — had a big night at the Grammys.

Justin Brands Inc. continues to ramp up its presence overseas. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company, which expanded its sales force in Canada and Central and South America in 2012, now is focused on the European market.

The company has the ability to reach both traditional Western and mainstream consumers in Europe with a team of about 14 representatives set to service 18 countries. Accounts can work directly with the staff to deliver product to their stores from a newly established Justin Brands warehouse in Lanaken, Belgium. Operated by Euro Logistic GmbH, the warehouse will provide an alternative to importing from the U.S.

CFO and SVP of international sales Herb Beckwith said that by distributing boots in Europe, Justin can reduce the cost of its product by as much as 30 percent. “Some retailers were flying in 100 pairs at a time,” he said. “We can now put together [those smaller] orders.”

These new initiatives, he added, also could boost sales in Europe from several million dollars to $6 million by year-end.   

“[Europe] is open to what we [produce] because we cover everything from lifestyle by Chippewa to Justin, which is core Western, and Tony Lama, which has a 113-year heritage,” he said.

The firm’s history in manufacturing in the U.S. also is resonating with a European audience. “It’s 90 percent of our business there,” said Beckwith. “[In high-end markets], they look for quality, and it has to be U.S.-made.” 

In addition to stocking product in Europe, a customer service agent will be based in Belgium, giving retailers the opportunity to communicate with the company during regular business hours. Retailers also will have a Europe-specific pricing structure that allows for the purchase of boots in other currencies.

Beckwith said the company next has set its sights on Eastern Europe, including Poland and the Czech Republic.