Contact: Les Szabo, a Dunderdon director and head of North American sales
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden (U.S. headquarters are in Portland, OR)
Industry: Manufacturer, B2C
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 13
Dunderson, a Swedish manufacturer of high-end urban clothes, wanted to expand its clientele to key the US market. Since the vast majority of its business came from third-party retailers selling to European consumers, it had limited exposure to Americans—mostly through one retail outlet in New York City. At the same time, it wanted to shift its business model more toward direct business-to-consumer sales via its Web site.
Dunderdon.com was re-launched in Sept. 2006 as a community-focused e-commerce site, with several new branding components and, for the first time, the capacity to conduct online sales. Within six months, Dunderdon's U.S. online sales grew from nothing to about 10% of all sales. Foot traffic and sales at its New York retail store increased as well.
Founded in 1997 by a Swedish carpenter who wanted to create reliable yet stylish clothing for artisans and craftsmen, Dunderdon had a loyal niche following in Sweden and other European countries, but no name recognition in the US. Another problem: its website, while informative, didn't offer a way for customers to purchase its products. To penetrate the US market, Dunderon had to create a new, e-commerce-oriented website that established a hip image for itself in the crowded US marketplace.
The Swedish firm recognized that it wouldn't be easy for a foreign firm to create a group of loyal US Dunderdon evangelists. But Les Szabo, Dunderdon's Portland-based head of North American sales, saw that developing such a strategy was crucial. The company's sales had grown in Europe with the help of Web-savvy Dunderdon devotees, and he wanted to replicate the process in the US.