Jack Wolfskin

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Jack Wolfskin
GmbH & Co. KGaA
Industry Outdoor Clothing
Camping Equipment
Genre Outdoor Clothing
Founded 1981
Founder Ulrich Dausien
Headquarters Idstein, Germany
Number of locations
worldwide
Key people
Melody Harris-Jensbach, CEO[1]
Revenue Decrease 351 million (2012)
Number of employees
ca. 700 (end-2012)
Parent The Blackstone Group
Website jack-wolfskin.com

Jack Wolfskin is a major German producer of outdoor wear and equipment headquartered in Idstein. It was founded in 1981 and is now owned by the American company The Blackstone Group.

The company claims to be one of the biggest suppliers of outdoor products and at the same time most successful franchiser in the German specialist trade market of sports equipment. Their products include mountain and leisure clothing, footwear, rucksacks, sleeping bags, and tents. The brand is popular not only among hikers and mountaineers but predominantly worn in everyday situations; Jack Wolfskin clothes and accessories are fashionable amongst urban Germans Wilderness chic.

History[edit]

Jack Wolfskin was founded as a trademark of the company Sine in Frankfurt am Main by Ulrich Dausien in 1981. With proceeding success Jack Wolfskin was incorporated separately from Sine. In 1991, the company was sold to Johnson Outdoors. Jack Wolfskin had supplied only specialist shops until the first own shop was opened in Heidelberg in 1993. Up to now there are more than 600 Jack Wolfskin-Stores worldwide (mid-2012). Almost all of them are organized in a franchise system.

In 2002,[2] the private equity corporation Bain Capital acquired Jack Wolfskin from Johnson Outdoors for 42 million Euro. In 2005, Bain Capital sold Jack Wolfskin for 93 million Euro to the two finance investors Quadriga Capital and Barclays Private Equity. In 2011, these owners sold the company to the US holding company Blackstone Group.[3] Blackstone is expected to help Jack Wolfskin to grow further on an international level. Simultaneously the former CEO and co-owner Manfred Hell left the company with immediate effect, after 25 years on the top of the company.

In November 2014, Melody Harris-Jensbach has been nominated CEO of the company.

Corporate responsibility[edit]

Jack Wolfskin shop in Leeds
Jack Wolfskin shop, Mercer Street, London

Since July 2010 Jack Wolfskin has been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, a multi-stakeholder initiative working to improve workplace conditions in the garment and textile industry. In July 2007, Jack Wolfskin became patron of the I.C.E. Youth Camp[4] a UNEP-initiative which has the aim to train young persons an environmentally awareness and a thrifty use of resources in cooperation with Arved Fuchs.

Even since 2008 an extensive supplier monitoring was established at Jack Wolfskin and in 2009 Jack Wolfskin announced that a membership in a multi-stakeholder initiative will be checked. When the Clean Clothes Campaign distributed questionnaires about working and production conditions to several outdoor producers in 2009 and 2010, Jack Wolfskin decided to become a member of the FWF as there were many similarities to the own established social audit system.[5] Together with Wolfgang Niedecken and World Vision Germany the project "Rebound" was initiated in 2008. The aim of the project is to improve life conditions of former child soldiers in Uganda and to reintegrate them into society.[6] In 2010, the Swiss NGO Erklärung von Bern compared working condition standards in countries of production of 77 fashion brands. Jack Wolfskin was graded into the second best category of five categories. [7]

Litigation[edit]

A Jack Wolfskin rucksack being worn by a tourist.

Jack Wolfskin has a history of aggressive legal action related to their paw print logo. In 2002 they succeeded in prohibiting the taz newspaper[8] from using a paw print design on merchandise designed for outdoor use on the grounds that the taz logo designed in 1978 was not registered as a trademark, whereas the Jack Wolfskin logo was registered in 1982. This led to many people boycotting their products.

In October 2009 Jack Wolfskin's lawyers sent demands for damage payments to handicraft hobbyists who had used paw designs in their creations, irrespective of whether the paw design was of wolf, cat or other animal.[9] This prompted a backlash in online forums for handicrafts and bloggers documenting corporate behaviour, outraged at the bullying tactics used by a large firm against individual hobbyists with barely measurable income through clothing and no intention to mimic Jack Wolfskin goods. The protest reached national news media in Germany. A blunt refusal to back down by Jack Wolfskin led to calls to boycott their products in several online communities in Germany and abroad. As the impact of the negative publicity became apparent Jack Wolfskin later issued a press release to indicate they would in future open dialog directly with people it suspected of breaching its copyright, rather than sending damage payment demands as the first contact.

In November 2009 Jack Wolfskin threatened the Dutch company Bearwear, a clothing supplier to the gay bear scene, with legal action causing it to suspend its European web shop and generating ill-feelings to Wolfskin with its customers. This was eventually resolved, allowing Bearwear to continue trading with its logo that incorporates a bear paw print.

On 19 December 2011 the Civic Association Dog Soul from Slovak Republic (a non-profit organization) received an e-mail with a copy of a letter from an attorney and patent office representing the JACK WOLFSKIN Ausrüstung für Draussen GmbH & Co. KGaA company. Simultaneously - without any valid court decision - they directly accused them of violating trademark property rights.[10]

Sponsorship[edit]

In August 2010 Jack Wolfskin signed a 3-year deal to sponsor the English football club Liverpool FC, in a chance to increase its exposure in the UK.[11] In April 2013 Liverpool FC and Jack Wolfskin announced a 3-year extension of their current partnership deal.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Impressum". Jack Wolfskin. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Bain Capital Private Equity". baincapitalprivateequity.com. 
  3. ^ "Jack Wolfskin Acquired by Blackstone Group". Outdoor Business Update. SportsOneSource Media. 2011-07-21. 
  4. ^ Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP): International Ice-Climate Education 2007 - Education Svalbard 2007 - Arved Fuchs Schülerexpedition, arved-fuchs.de, June 2007
  5. ^ "Christliche Initiative Romero e.V.: Start". ci-romero.de. 
  6. ^ "Jack Wolfskin Rebound - Project Rebound". jack-wolfskin.com. 
  7. ^ "Hippe Label – unfaire Produktion". tagesanzeiger.ch/. 
  8. ^ http://www.taz.de taz newspaper
  9. ^ Der Spiegel magazine, Germany, October 19, 2009
  10. ^ "Jack Wolfskin threatening the Civic Association Dog Soul". psiadusa.sk. Psia Dusa. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Jack Wolfskin signs with LFC". Liverpoolfc.tv. Liverpool FC. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  12. ^ http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/latest-news/jack-wolfskin-sign-for-3-more-years

External links[edit]

Media related to Jack Wolfskin at Wikimedia Commons