Established in 1948, Ogier is a luxury fashion brand renowned for its exceptional ski wear and outdoor apparel. Here we talk to CEO Laurent Ogier about the company’s evolution and the family spirit that remains at its heart.
Over the years Ogier has gone from being a small French family business to what’s now recognised as a global luxury brand. With headquarters in Zurich, the brand has boutiques in some of the world’s most luxurious ski destinations, including Aspen, Vail, Courchevel, St Moritz, Zermatt and so forth. At just 30 years old, Laurent Ogier is Ogier’s CEO; a role he’s held since 2014.
Tell us about the background of the company
My grandfather, and later my father, grew a successful wholesale retail business in French ski resorts. Ogier boutiques were known to be the place to find the latest trendy sport-wear collections from multi brands. But beyond that, they were also renowned for their luxurious environments and warm welcome – the quality of our service has always been a fundamental core value of ours.
My father was really exceptional because he always took me for business trips and meetings and continuously gave me a sense of business growing up.
In 2014, I decided to join the family business with a very different idea for the company – creating the private label. I have always felt that we were meant to do more given our experience and knowledges. I wanted to propose to our clients even better quality, better performance, and more fashion in our own stores around the world.
Ogier started out as a family business. Is this still the case?
Very much so. My younger brother Vincent is my business partner and COO – he leads the operations of the group – and my wife Maria is in charge of PR and Marketing. Our family history is an integral part of everything we do.
You’re well into your position as Ogier’s CEO, what have been the highs and lows so far?
We faced tremendous challenges going from wholesale to our own private label, starting with the whole organization of the business. The biggest challenge has really been rethinking all our operational strategy, from software to distribution, going through recruiting, supply chain to production. We had to start from the very beginning to create our own collections. We also had to take a lot of risks and make mistakes, but we always remained true to our believes.
In terms of highs, there have been payoffs for sure, particularly when it comes to our retail expansions. The US market has proven to be a significant success, with clients who adore our collections. On the product side, it has been great to see the response from clients from the very beginning. This positive feedback pushed us be even more bold about creating desirable and functional ski wear.
What mistakes have you made as CEO, and what have you learned so far?
Well, creating a brand is exciting, and of course we wanted to grow as fast as possible. Every day we had to make important decisions in all our departments. Some were soon revealed to be the wrong ones! My father always told me, don’t make the same mistake twice and I’ve always listened to that.
The biggest lesson we have learnt is to surround ourselves with the right people who are, themselves, able to take the right decisions.
What has been the secret strategy behind your success?
Our biggest strength is our family spirit, and our business is built on a culture of trust. I strongly believe in sustainable growth through people and the power of collective intelligence. We value our employees so much; they all feel that they own a part of Ogier. The company’s commitment to people extends into physical stores, too. There’s always a top executive at one of the stores to ensure that customers are given an exceptional service, and they often serve customers directly themselves. The wellbeing of our people has always been – and will remain – Ogier’s first priority. Our job, as executives, are to let people thrives under our management.
On a second note, the design team is dedicated to creativity and high performance, creating a constantly evolving collection of practical, yet stunningly beautiful winter wear that’s a must both on and off the slopes. The designs are innovative and off the beaten path, combining comfort with head turning glamour and fashion-forward style. We remain true to our core principles of unique craftsmanship and exceptional customer care, and our designs blend innovation, precious materials and beautiful fabrics that are both functional and elegant
What’s next for Ogier?
We continuously work towards our retail expansions. We are opening new stores in Vail and Dallas in USA, Crans-Montana and Zurich in Switzerland, and also in Austria and other markets. Las Vegas and Munich should follow soon. We are also investing in our production site in Milan to further improve on our creativity and quality.
We will also be introducing new accessories very soon, which is exciting!
To find out more, visit https://ogier-og.com/