The Giants: The brains behind the brands that boomed
Co-founder, On Running
Twelve-year old Swiss brand On Holding AG, backed by tennis star Roger Federer, entered its IPO in September 2021 with a $6 billion valuation. For 2022, it’s projecting net sales of $1.1 billion.
The growing brand, which has nearly 2,000 employees, adheres to a focus on technology, with its proprietary CloudTec sole stemming from founder Olivier Bernhard’s experience as a professional runner. In 2022, it partnered with luxury fashion brand Loewe on a product collaboration to reach a new audience.
“On is an innovation company at heart. Everything we create starts with athletes spending lots of time in our On Lab with our science team,” said Bernhard. “Nothing holds us back from pushing existing limits and reaching new levels of performance, comfort and impact.” The renewed interest in athletic gear since the start of the pandemic, thanks to people spending more time outdoors, has served the brand well.
Driven by consumers’ growing comfort with subscription services, On Running launched its own subscription, dubbed Cyclon, this year. “We realized we could offer the same experience for running shoes,” said Bernhard. Subscribers tap into a circular system by renting and exchanging On’s recyclable styles every six months.
In September 2022, On launched CloudPrime, the first shoe made of carbon emissions, in partnership with chemical engineering and material development companies Lanzatech, Borealis and Technip. “This was a crucial step forward for the future of the footwear industry, inspired by the necessary decision to move away from petroleum-based materials and seek alternative resources and methods to make incredible, high-performance products,” said Bernhard.
He added, “We envision a future where every On product is fossil-free and engineered for circularity. By the end of the decade, we want to take back the majority of our products.” The company plans to introduce more innovation in running products next year as it continues to manage the challenges that come with rapid growth.
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