Besides being one of the most important leaders of the brand Quiksilver, French native Nicolas Foulet is also a walking advertisement for the active lifestyle company. Decked out in board shorts, DC sneakers and sporting a messy beach hairstyle, Nicolas embodies the ultimate surfer dude.
His presence has been key to the company’s marketing strategy for years and has an unbelievably clear vision of Quiksilver’s prosperous future. Today, I get to pick his brain about their newest development in the virtual world, the simultaneous launch of 10 retail sites in different countries across Europe.
We’re touring the European headquarters of Quiksilver located in one of the last French cities on the coast before hitting Spain as Nicolas proudly explains the newest developments, “Quiksilver had a very aggressive market expansion strategy and we needed a platform that would allow us to roll out multiple sites across geographies in a fast, efficient way. Equally important was the ability to create distinct brand experiences that we can continuously evolve and enhance for our customers.”
The evolving part is something Quiksilver knows a lot about. Founded by surfing lovers, Quiksilver has known how to keep alive the passion that has been driving it on since it began. The company has always been acutely aware of the need not to alienate its core base. In order to stay true to its origins, Quiksilver remains heavily involved in the sports – surfing, skating and skiing – that put it on the map.
“Quiksilver sells its products in more than 90 countries through multiple channels, including online through other e-commerce sites. Does this mean retail locations are a thing of the past for you?” I ask.
“Certainly not at this point in time.” Nicolas reassures me. “We still enjoy a loyal following that visits our stores weekly and we are absolutely committed to staying true to them as well as our virtual customers. Not to mention we’re also very aware of our relationship with our traditional retailers and how important they are not only to us but to the entire industry.” He adds.
“You already have such a huge name in the active lifestyle industry, what does Quiksilver want to achieve by launching these 10 sites?” I question as we pass by a brainstorming session of 5 employees excitedly bouncing ideas off one another during a game of table tennis.
Nicolas waves at his co-workers and explains, “Our customers are evolving and we want to do it with them. If we continue to create platforms for them, they never have to think about where they can find our products, we will find them.”
We enter the Quiksilver lunchroom and its sprawling view of the Bay of Biscay. It’s the perfect backdrop to Nicolas’s cool Australian-like image. He heads to the bar to get our lunch and I’m left at the table staring out at the Bay where surfers brave the open water with their sun-kissed skin and surf gear.
He returns with baguettes and Brie and follows my gaze. I look at him and ask, “Is that your gear on those guys?”
“It sure is.” He says with a beaming smile at the perfect example of Quiksilver finding their customers. “Now, let’s eat!”
During lunch I think about how the company has stayed true to its roots and retain credibility among a skeptical and hard to impress 12 to 25-year-old key demographic while becoming a real mass-market company. And, they have Nicolas Foulet. He has been the leader in ensuring Quiksilver’s adaptations to the ever-changing market have been smooth and successful.
Yes, the Internet represents a new era and we all have to adapt to it, even brands that focus on being outdoors have to adjust to this development. However, the core values will always remain the same. Quiksilver was started by surfers for surfers and stands for creativity, confidence, adventure and progression both on the water and on the web. It’s Nicolas Foulet who makes sure that everyone is reminded of that.
Nina Schein for CoolBrands13 December,2012