Since forming over ten years ago, Buffera has grown from one brand to three and has broadened its focus beyond headwear to include clothing.
That growth, which has been maintained over the challenging past year, has also brought about a warehouse move (with another one likely in the next 12 months) and the doubling of its staff over the last three years. Also, with a continual stream of messages from happy customers, Buffera looks stronger than ever.
The busy firm has come a long way since its genesis on the snowy mountains of the Alps. Company founder Julian Peppit was snowboarding in the Alps when he bumped into the then marketing manager of Original Buff in Spain. Peppit liked the product, started to work with Buff, and ultimately set up Buffera to promote, market and distribute it in the UK and Ireland.
And from there the firm has snowballed, with the popular line of products which are suitable for all outdoor activities, appealing to not just the cycle market, as Team Buff explains to BikeBiz: “Our appeal is growing among all outdoor activities after 13 years of grass roots promotion and investment. In triathlon we sponsor Tom Sturdy and Tom Curtis, two Loughborough-based Elite triathletes, and we sponsor the Sevenoaks Triathlon, too.
“We also sponsor the Winlatter Duathlon, Sophie Coleman, and Tim McDowell, professional Xterra triathlete, and we sponsored the British MTB Orienteering Team at the World Championships in Israel earlier this year. We’re also just finalising sponsorship with www.thetriathloncoach.com.
“We try to support as many athletes and events as possible in all markets and these are evaluated against our overall plans. Involvement can range from a few prizes to our attendance with the whole Buff cavalcade including Winnebago, marquees, vans and the team. Some events are tiny, raising money for the village school, while others are huge, like Mountain Mayhem and the UCI World Cup Downhill at Fort William.”
The recently launched Merino Wool Buff is one of the firm’s latest key lines: “The Merino launched in the UK in August and so far has sold extremely well. We expect this product to appeal to the more fashion conscious as it looks great on, but it’s also functional and performs really well in use.”
A slightly more unusual Buff product arrived this year, the Dog Buff. The team explains how the quirky product came about: “When you’ve heard consumers repeatedly say they’ve bought one for themselves and one for their dog you start to think...Team Buff carried out a little research, gave out 200 samples and got loads of feedback. There was such enthusiasm that Buff created two designs and so far sales have been amazing.
“It might seem daft, but it sells really well and people tell us how much their dogs enjoy wearing them and of course there’s the safety angle. The reflective stripes are coming into their own now that the clocks have changed and people have to take their furry friends out for their evening constitutional in the dark.”
This year has also seen a rise in copycats, something the firm addresses: “The lowlights would be the slew of cheap, poor quality Chinese copycats riding off the back of all the work we have put in building the category and trying to pass themselves off as Buff. The retailers that choose to stock these copycat products are supporting brands that have no real passion for the cycle and outdoor industries, and which don’t put anything back into them. The retailers would surely be better off supporting those who help the outdoor industries and the people involved in it.”
BUFF BACKS BIKE RETAILERS
Retailer support is a key part of Buffera’s offering, with the firm telling BikeBiz that it does as much as it can: “Our point of sale is designed to suit all shapes and sizes of retailer, from huge rotating stands holding about 480 units to counter-top totem poles. Our TV/DVD demos also work well and are provided free to retailers who commit to the turnover – reordering is key as gaps in the stands tend to turn consumers off; for some reason they think the best designs have already gone. So a ‘pile it high, watch it fly, leave it low and it won’t go’ attitude is required in order to maximise sales.”
The firm has retailer incentives too: “We have a trade website which has some exclusive offers and products, plus the carriage paid order is lowered on the trade website. We also provide a 2.5 per cent discount for orders placed online, so long as the product is paid for at the time of ordering.”
Buffera offers a customised service, as the team explains: “Most products can be customised to show an event logo, retailer or brand name. These can either be for promotional use or for resale, but for retailers they’re a great way to reward loyal customers. Prices vary with the number of colours involved in the design and the size of the run, but we can print as few as 25. For further information, please email Maria@buffwear.co.uk.”
Team Buff concludes: “We’d like to thank all the retailers who stock our brand and have believed in and supported Buffera in all that we are doing to promote Buff the brand and getting people into the great outdoors.”
Phone: 01707 852244