Family-owned footwear name Brandecosse has been making great strides in the market for almost 15 years but perhaps that‘s no surprise, since the man behind it has almost unrivalled experience in the sector.
Trade News spoke to Brandecosse founder and director Mark Trueman to find out how it all started and what we can look forward to at this year‘s Scottish Game Fair.
TN: How did the brand come about?
Mark Trueman: I had been working in and around the outdoor/country footwear market for quite a long time, including almost 14 years at Hunter. During that length of time you build up a tremendous bank of experience, not only around products and markets but about technology and manufacturing.
Brandecosse was based on wanting to leverage this experience to build not only great country footwear products but also bring great international brands to Europe and build markets for them here.
To this end we have worked in conjunction with a number of brands and are currently engaged in building the UK/EU market for Skellerup Footwear and Swanndri – both classic Kiwi country brands.
TN: Brandecosse has some real pedigree behind it and an Anglo-Italian background. Can you explain a bit more about that?
MT: We first started working with the Italian manufacturer Diemme back in 2008, alongside a Dutch company who were distributors for Hunter at the time.
The Italians had some serious pedigree in manufacturing classic flexible welted footwear but, like a lot of Italian manufacturers, their technology/materials/lasts were tailored to the domestic mountaineering market.
Brandecosse input was about making the key tweaks to the Italian styles to improve the fit, comfort and in particular the durability of the footwear to suit a demanding country market.
TN: How important is traditional craftsmanship in what do you?
MT: Being able to access classic manufacturing capability and a highly skilled workforce is very important for us. Like so much that has happened to consumer products over the past 30 years, we have seen the move from durable and sustainable to consumable and disposable. We have become buyers of more but much cheaper products.
These cheaper products are, by necessity, largely machine made and price, not sustainability, is the key driver. With our boots we expect them to deliver longevity, providing they are looked after properly.
So, into this we can build some serviceability and therefore sustainability into the product. Classic flexible welt construction allows for easily replaced outsoles, worn footbeds, easily replaced. High quality hides are less likely to be damaged by rough conditions.
TGF: Have you faced any particular challenges in the last couple of years?
MT: The last couple of years have been tough for any business, the immediate reshuffling of organisational operations to a shift to working from home while ensuring we are still fulfilling orders proved to be a difficult balance.
However, our real challenge came last year after we faced stock shortages at the start of the winter due material shortages. With most manufacturing closing down worldwide in 2020, Italy was no different.
Subsequently, it impacted the supply of quality Italian hides and Vibram outsoles as the world of manufacturing opened back up with a high demand for limited resource.
TGF: Is there a bestselling Brandecosse boot? What is it and why?
MT: Given the seasonality of our range, we have two boots which have proven to be very popular.
Our Cervo Rosso is our flagship country boot for the hunting market, being a popular choice amongst gamekeepers, stalkers and guns through the autumn and winter months, with many now choosing the ankle support and surefootedness of a lace up over a traditional rubber welly.
The Cervo Rosso bridges the gap between the two featuring a 11in upper for a high water line while providing the security and support of the extended lacing system. However, it is the durability, quality and replaceability in which we have become known for. A message which is close to the heart of our company is buying right and not twice. It’s a crucial factor in a sustainable future.
As for the warmer months, our Capriolo has become a firm favourite. Lightweight at only 980g/pair (at size 9), it has a low profile thanks to a soft but strong Italian suede and a highly flexible yet grippy Vibram Friction outsole. The Capriolo is a great option for an everyday boot, summer stalking or hitting the trails.
TGF: You’ve just launched a new boot too. Tell us a little more about that…
MT: After noticing a hole in our range for a lightweight walking boot to sit in between the ultra-light Capriolo and the more substantial Fagiano, a traditional alpine hiking boot, we began the development of the Stabecco.
This is a lightweight, mid-ankle walking boot aimed at those who live in their boots day to day and enjoy lowland trekking. So, ensuring it’s practicality in a variety of conditions and environments was the aim of the game.
The Stambecco features a tough yet subtle 2mm Italian hydrophobic leather upper with a rubber toe cap and a padded nubuck collar.
It’s fully lined with a waterproof and breathable Sympatex H2Out lining to protect from the elements plus there’s a Vibram Winkler Evo and shock absorbing micro midsole, offering high levels of traction and stability across varied terrains while ensuring flexibility for ease of wear and comfort. While an extended lacing system with D-ring eyelets and a ball bearing roller ankle locking eyelet for a highly adjustable and secure fit, complete the package.
All while remaining very lightweight for a boot of its calibre, at only 1.25kg per pair. It’s a truly versatile lightweight walking boot, with trustworthy Calzaturificio Diemme durability.
TGF: What are you most looking forward to when it comes to exhibiting at The GWCT Scottish Game Fair?
MT: For us, The GWCT Scottish Game Fair is our opportunity to see all our wonderful customers. Being based in depths of the Galloway hills, the majority of our business comes through our website.
So being able to attend The GWCT Scottish Game Fair means we can often put a face to the people we have been talking to over the years. Sharing stories of their adventures and meeting new faces, it’s a great part of the job and we can’t wait to be back.