C. & J. Clark International Ltd., which also trades under the name Clarks, is an international manufacturer and retailer of shoes. An England based company, Clarks was founded by brothers Cyrus Clark and James Clarke in Somerset, England. It was established in the year 1825 and now, with the company being active in its operations for almost 192 years, has over 1000 franchises and branded stores all over the world and it sells its products through a third party distribution channel. The place where the Clark brothers first started the company in 1825, i.e. Street, Somerset, England, is the same place where this company still has its headquarters.
By January 2013, the company became the 31st largest private company in the United Kingdom by making a profit of £150 million through sales. As of now, the Clark family holds 84% of the company while the remaining 16% is held by their employees and related institutions.
Out of many products provided by the Clarks Company, it is well known for their desert boots which were officially launched in the year 1950 and designed by Nathan Clark, who was the great grandson of James Clark. It is a distinctive ankle height boot, and the British officers wore these during World War 2.
Architecture and service/product
Over the years, Clarks have produced many products which have been popularised all over the world due to their quality. Some of the products made by Clarks are as follows –
- Desert boot
- Joyance sandal
The Desert boot is the company’s most well-known product. It was officially launched in the year 1950, and it was designed by Nathan Clark, the great grandson of James Clark. It is a distinctive ankle height boot with its crepe sole being made out of calf suede leather which is usually supplied by Charles F Stead & Co tannery of Leeds. Desert boot was used to be manufactured at Shepton mallet with a small scale production. With time, the Whitecross factory located in Weston-Super-Mare was then commissioned for its manufacturing to relieve the Shepton factory from doing the same. They were manufactured there until the year 2001. They are now made in China.
Joyance sandal were produced by Clarks especially for the children. It was during the 20th century when they decided to establish a reputation for making quality footwear for children as well. The crepe rubber soled T-bar for both boys and girls was one of their most popular designs of the Joyance sandal. The production of these sandals was launched in the year 1933, and it ran till 1972 when it finally stopped its production. It became very popular during its production days.
The Clarks acquired the right for the Wallabee in the year 1963 from the German company Sioux. Clark continued to operate the Wallabee product till its closure which came in the year 1987.
What differentiates them from other competitors
The competitive advantage this company holds over its rivals is that it is already widely adopted by different cultures. The products of this brand have appeared in many popular cultures over the years like music videos and popular films and TV shows. This further promotes the product as the viewers would be willing to follow their style icons.
One such example would be the lead character of the cult TV series “Breaking Bad”, in which Walter White portrayed by Bryan Cranston does only one type of shoe throughout the five seasons of the show, i.e. the Wallabies.
History about brand
The origins of the Clarks Company can be traced back to the year 1825 when Cyrus Clark formed a partnership with a Quaker cousin for wool-stapling and fell mongering in Somerset, England. By the year 1828, the business began to grow due to the increasing popularity of their brand Meanwhile Cyrus appointed James as an apprentice. The brother then worked together and took the company to new heights as it developed international trade with many countries. The company started to develop its roots in Ireland during the 1820s, in Canada during the 30s and in Australia by the 1850s.
Few bad years during the period between 1863 and 1903 combined with financial drought and questionable planning nearly brought the company to the edge of its bankruptcy. Thankfully, to put the business back on track, certain playing fields were established which would later prove out to be beneficial for the company.
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