Over the last couple of months I’ve been visiting all our customers across New Zealand to show them our new range of colourful “indent” boots, specifically targeted at NZ based retailers. On my travels I’ve seen some fantastic displays of Canterbury Sheepskin boots and slippers. One of the most impressive was in the Naturally New Zealand store in Tekapo – a small town on an idyllic lake on the road between Christchurch and Queenstown. Tekapo is a very popular tourist stop because of the awesome views across the lake towards the Southern Alps.
The great thing about the Naturally New Zealand store in Tekapo is that Canterbury Sheepskin is head to head against the product we contract manufactured for 28 years and which is now almost entirely made in China – UGG Australia. Here are a few photos of our boots displayed in the store:
Another view of the display of Canterbury Sheepskin toe to toe with UGG Australia
A Little more about Canterbury Sheepskin’s story:During the 1980’s whilst exhibiting at Trade Fairs in Las Vegas an alliance was formed between Canterbury Leather International and Brian Smith, the original founder of UGG Holdings, and the UGG Australia brand. This initial contact led to the development of the UGG supply relationship which continued even after the Deckers purchase of UGG Holdings in 1995.
Deckers were originally manufacturers with plants in the USA; Costa Rico and Mexico, but as their sales grew they have increasingly focused on the design, sales and distribution functions, and outsourced most manufacturing to China, whilst the manufacture of high-end UGG product remained in New Zealand.
During the early 2000’s CLI received “Supplier of the Year” awards for four consecutive years, from 2000 to 2003. The factory was responsible for manufacturing may of the pairs of Ugg Australia boots that were given to celebrities for endorsement. Many people in the business still remember the 40 or so pairs that were custom made for Oprah and her team. In 2005 Ugg Australia really took off in the USA and production demand was huge on CLI. Doug Price and some of the CLI team members went to China with Deckers to help train up some of the Chinese footwear factories to help meet the growing demand.