And they’re off. Pushing off hard, landing softly, enjoying the ultimate running feeling: for this, you need the right shoe – a model from the brand On, for example. On has only been around since 2010, but around three and a half million runners, joggers and top athletes are now wearing the Swiss premium product with its patented cushioning system on their feet. On tartan tracks and asphalt roads in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, On is increasingly becoming a lifestyle object that is just as easily matched with a suit as it is with casual wear.
Olivier Bernhard is the face behind the development of the sneakers’ CloudTec technology. Plagued by chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the former top triathlete spent many years searching for a solution before finally, together with an engineer, he developed a prototype that would allow him to walk without complications. Why not put this running shoe on the market? Together with two friends – David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti – Bernhard, who has since retired from professional sports, founded the company On. Together, they courageously set out to conquer the global running shoe market with premium performance products through premium channels at a premium price.
A clever strategy
Eight years later, On is the fastest growing brand in the running shoe market. One success factor is “the uniform, global premium positioning with products based on Swiss technology,” says Christina Stender, Sales Manager for Distributor Markets. The shoes are developed in Switzerland and produced in Asia.
On carefully planned its entry into various markets. It opened branch offices in countries such as the USA – which is currently the biggest market for On – Germany and Japan, and more are being planned in Brazil and China, while in Central and South America, Asia and Eastern Europe, distributors and partnerships are employed or trade is limited to online only. There is huge export potential: “We’re already selling 90 percent of our products abroad.”
This will continue dynamically: the company has ambitious goals, as Christina Stender says: “You need the right team for this: around 200 employees from 35 nations worldwide work for On, and we currently have 50 open positions.” Large personnel and financial resources flow into the expansion of existing markets as well as into new markets. And so the race to success continues at a brisk pace.