World Footwear

Trade

Kyaia, owner of the Fly London brand, celebrates 30 years and announces 2024 targets

Jun 5, 2014 Portugal
Kyaia, owner of the Fly London brand, celebrates 30 years and announces 2024 targets
The largest Portuguese footwear group grew 8% last year and aims to double its turnover in the next 10 years

“In 2013 we grew 8% and we had a turnover of 56 million euros. The aim is to reach 120 million euros by 2024, which may allow us to be leaders in the Iberia”, says Mr. Fortunato Frederico, Kyaia’s President.

The group was born 30 years ago, and for the first 10 years it was devoted entirely to private label manufacturing. By then, the two partners, Fortunato Frederico and Amilcar Monteiro, decided it was time to start a project with their own brand. They were at a trade fair in Düsseldorf when they saw an abandoned stand, with a fly printed and named Fly London: “They told us that the partners had separated and wanted to sell the brand. We bought the brand immediately. The Fly London was exactly what we were looking for".

In the first year, the brand sold 1 800 pairs, and with a factory prepared to receive large orders, sales have fluctuated during the early years. It took five years in the market to witness the significant rise on sales. 20 years later, the brand continues to break records. During the last year, 800 000 pairs of shoes were sold, and the expectation is that the 1 million barrier is crossed during the current year.

Kyaia footwear currently reaches 56 countries and the group currently produces 4 500 pairs of shoes per day, distributing production around the factory in Guimarães and 3 other plants in Paredes de Coura, both regions in the North of Portugal, where the footwear industry has its roots and where most Portuguese footwear production is based. The group believes they will be on the top 5 of European manufacturers by 2024, reaching a daily production of 9 000 pairs.

To help achieve this, an average annual investment of 1 million euros for the next decade was announced. Three new industrial buildings in Guimarães, and another one in Paredes de Coura, are part of the plan. Altogether, the increased facilities will generate about 300 new jobs, which will add to the current 600 positions.

The group owns brands Fly London (created in 1994) and Softinos (2011) and footwear retail chain Foreva with over 70 stores in Portugal.

Fly London is the worldwide known brand of the portfolio, sold across 7 directly operated stores located in Portugal, UK, Ireland and Denmark, and several multi brand stores all over the world. A new store will be open in New York later in the year. The brand Fly London grew 16% in 2013 and the expectation is that growth will continue across the globe. According to Mr. Fortunato, “if the brand wants to be global, several eyes have to engage” and that is the reason why there are 6 designers, from different countries, working on the Fly London collections.

Softinos, whose moto is Soft shoes make feet happy, is a recently launched brand aiming to “contradict the idea that comfort shoes are for old people and emerged as a complement of the Fly London brand.” With 70 models per collection, this brand is currently selling 150 000 pairs per year and it aims to reach current Fly’s turnover levels by 2020 (34 million euros).

Innovation is another key element to explain Kyaia’s success and the High Speed Shoe Factory is a good example of that. The project was created a couple of years ago and focus mainly on online sales: the aim is to be bale to respond to online orders for customized shoes in 24 hours by 2018. The company also developed in house an online sales system, and created an autonomous company to start selling software solutions.

According to Mr. Fortunato: “It is key to have a combination of several elements. Good commercial team. High quality products. Good quality price relation. Good design. Quick response to orders.”

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