|Key people||Brad Duffy (Founder) Jaimie Fuller (Chairman)|
SKINS is an Australian-owned company that designs and manufactures technical compression sportswear for athletes and sports enthusiasts.
The company was founded in 1996 by Brad Duffy, an Australian physiologist and ski enthusiast.
In 1998, SKINS launched their first three product ranges: ‘JetSkins’ for travel, ‘SportsSkins’ for multi sports and ‘SnowSkins’ for Alpine pursuits. Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh was chosen as the public face of the new products.
Initially, the range was limited to long tights only and was sold exclusively online and through telesales. By 2002, the product was still being manufactured in Sydney but was being sold through around 20 retail outlets in Australia. In the same year, Australian entrepreneur Jaimie Fuller was appointed as CEO of Skins. Fuller has received publicity for his straight-talking attitude and unconventional business style.
In 2003, other styles were added to the SKINS range, including half-tights and tops, and the expanded manufacturing operation was moved to Fiji. The year after, SKINS lodged patents on their compression technology.
SKINS currently sell over 160 different compression products including specific ranges for golf, cycling, triathlon and snow sports. The company currently has around 80 full-time members of staff and retails through more than 800 speciality retailers in their home territory of Australia.
SKINS headquarters are in Steinhausen, Switzerland with regional offices in Australia, the USA, the UK, France and Germany. SKINS has distributors in Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, New Zealand and South Africa.
- AFL Football
- Rugby League
- Rugby Union
- American Gridiron
- Cross Training
- Snow Sports
Advertising & controversy
SKINS has a history of bold and controversial advertising. A series of adverts that ran in 2005/6 caused the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to allege that Skins had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct. The adverts in question stated that "We don't pay sports stars to wear our product. They pay us." The ACCC contested this claim and produced a list of athletes who were sponsored and paid by Skins. In 2009 the Federal Court of Australia handed down judgment in favour of the ACCC and Skins agreed to provide undertakings to the Court, pay costs and publish corrective advertisements. The same court also upheld an accusation of retail price maintenance against Skins, who induced, by request, a retailer in Adelaide not to lower the retail prices of their products.
SKINS ran an advertising campaign in 2006 which featured the famous “Swoosh” logo of Nike, Inc. placed upside down across the mouths of athletes to form a grimace. Nike demanded Skins to cease this advertising, which they did. However, the advertising campaign received praise for its creativity from the Advertising Federation of Australia.
SKINS have been vocal opponents of blood doping in sports and were the first company to be certified by BikePure, an independent, not-for-profit organisation which advocates ethical cycling practices and conducts anti-doping research.
In September 2013 SKINS launched an Anti-Doping initiative called Pure Sport, petitioning for change with the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. Former Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson has joined the campaign; Johnson had his gold medal rescinded after the 1988 Summer Olympics after testing positive for the banned substance Stanozolol. In February, 2014 Pure Sport also launched a campaign during the Sochi Winter Olympics. The aim was to showcase the inequality,discrimination and poor practices that took place before, and during the games with the hope of increasing awareness so that future mistakes are not replicated.
SKINS products are endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Their compression stockings are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods as a medical device for reducing oedema.
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