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20.11.2014

Company profile LLOYD - Step by step on the road to success

In its 125-year history the shoemaker LLOYD has always understood how to build on its position as one of the leading shoe brands in Germany. D’life asked Andreas Schaller, CEO of LLOYD Shoes GmbH in Sulingen, Lower Saxony, about the secret to this long-standing success. He also reveals why health-care management at LLOYD is top priority and how the company has succeeded in holding its tradition aloft while at the same time producing footwear with a zeitgeist that is on the move.

What’s the secret to the decades-long success of the » medium-sized business LLOYD? “To begin with continuity. Closeness to customers. Observing market development. Being out in front, in fashion, with product statements and for customer demands”, LLOYD’s CEO points out. “Furthermore we have consistently executed our Three-Pillar Strategy over all these years. To us, quality, wear comfort and design form part and parcel of every product. Our quality standard is just as demanding as it is binding. Our design is always in line with the times and we guarantee wear comfort. Taken together this shapes the success of LLOYD and is rewarded by our customers”. Of course Andreas Schaller also has own personal preferences for shoe design and comfort. And anyone who left the latest International Dental Show (IDS) with aching feet knows what he means when he says; “I think we make the perfect trade fair shoes. Shoes that you put on in the morning and feel right. Shoes that feel just as good during the trade-fair marathon as at a late afterwork dinner.“

Aesthetic, individuality, personality

These three criteria play a critical role for teeth. Are there similar aspects for shoes? The shoe expert’s answers could yet provide dental specialists with a eureka moment.
“Similar to the teeth, which perform a heavy toil every day shoes and feet must also carry and endure loads like no other article of clothing. Both must bear the entire weight of the body, and shoes that furnish a sense of well-being and protect the feet are paramount. Appearance is also important for both. The disadvantage of bad teeth is that they do not work well as a tool for chewing, while bad shoes can hamper mobility. Bad teeth simply don’t look good. And as expressed in an age-old saying; Look at a man’s shoes to see what he is like – a well formed, well designed leather shoe rounds out a man’s image. Studies have shown that women first look at the eyes and teeth, and then at the shoes. Unfortunately most men don’t know this – unfortunate indeed.” Another commonality between teeth and shoes: both are handicrafts, and top-notch ones at that. For LLOYD quality awareness is an important component of success, as is, of course, also the case in dentistry.

The shoe factory of the future

In the context of Expo2000, LLOYD has built a completely new shoe factory in its home town of Sulingen – the shoe factory of the future. Lots of health management is practised here, since workers’ health is considered one of the most important factors that influence employee performance, company culture and image. Many projects and measures are oriented toward active employee health maintenance. In planning the shoe factory of the future, particular attention was paid to the ergonomic interests of the workforce. As the maxim highlights: healthy workers need a healthy business and a healthy business needs healthy workers.

The future of shoes

Since 2009 branded shoes have polished an image of LLOYD that was still valid until a few years ago. Its ‘classic, traditional, classy, high quality men’s shoes with British touch virtually fulfilled all of the characteristics of expensive footwear. The distinct move of the collection since then toward fashion, casualisation and personalisation has also appealed with great success to the fashion-conscious generation between 20 and 30. Andreas Schaller is convinced that classics in the shoe sector will never again play the same role as years ago. “If you went into a shoe shop 15 to 20 years ago, there was 70 % classics and 30 % leisure shoes in the men’s department. Today there is 80 % leisure and sport shoes and 20 % classics”. Thus the future of shoes lies more in a stabilisation of leisure-oriented shoes than in classics.

“The evolution of classic leather shoes into a luxury item cannot be stopped”, says Andreas Schaller. And he knows the reasons why; “There are more and more people in more and more countries who appreciate first-class leather shoes. High-quality shoes have become status symbols with cult character over the last ten years and are becoming real objects of prestige. Since rising demand almost always brings rising prices with it, superior leather qualities have already become 10 % more expensive”.

Women & shoes = the exception
Men & shoes = burden

German men tend to be shoe grumps; male shoe fetishists like in Asia are extremely rare. “Even fashion-conscious men seek more of an evolution than a revolution”. Slowly approaching, observing what others are wearing and finding security, that’s his thing. And precisely this security gives the company its clientele – the assurance of not feeling embarrassed with shoes from LLOYD. For instance the universal model, which has got to go with everything and everyone when one doesn’t know when and what to wear. The idea is that ‘nice and modern is good, but please don’t stand out’. Andreas Schaller does not find that very satisfying. Nor that HE only buys 1.7 pairs of shoes per year. The fun SHE has with shoes is also shown by her yearly shoe purchase: it’s 4.2 pairs, much more than twice HIS.

As far as footwear fashion is concerned, today’s woman will also be a step ahead tomorrow. “For HER it doesn’t always have to be leather”. says Andreas Schaller. “Women are more tuned to fashion than men and let themselves be seduced by colours, materials, ornamental elements or completely new high-tech materials”.

With regard to shoe material it gets more difficult for HIM, or better said more expensive, if the classic line is to be maintained. Yet casualisation provides an equivalent. Materials and, of course, new high-tech trends that the leisure industry is preparing at full steam are shining a light on the emancipation of men.

As to shoe colours, blue is a runaway hit, while traditional colours such as black and brown certainly remain classic favourites.

Published by: rf/tk 04/14
Company profile LLOYD - Step by step on the road to success

Company profile LLOYD - Step by step on the road to success

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