With transparency and trust towards responsible growth
Within the last decade, Alife & Kickin made a name for itself as one of the most exciting sports- and streetwear brands on the German market. With its modern, casual and sustainable collections, it directly won the heart of consumers in an ever-growing niche.
Back in 2008, when Nico Jacobs founded the company, it all started with a small team of two. Today, more than 50 employees contribute to the success of the company. But when growing that fast, it can become difficult to keep your flexibility and individuality as a brand.
This is why Alife & Kickin quickly realized that digitizing its processes is key to managing increasingly complex structures. Since the beginning of 2020 Delogue made the cut on that journey as their new PLM partner.
Clothing on the pulse of time – but with care for the future
With its trendy and comfortable styles, the brand serves an active and urban target group. Its collections are mainly focussed on jackets, outerwear, sweats and shirts – being always up to speed with the newest industry- and consumer trends. This is embodied in diverse colors and prints, which never miss the personal touch of the brand.
But above all of that, Alife & Kickin is fully committed to its social and ecological responsibility. The brand abandoned the usage of animal products and vouches for animal-friendly, vegan and sustainable clothing. And they are as careful when selecting their production sides, which have to guarantee these values and ensure fair working conditions.
We sat down with George Kara, product manager at Alife & Kickin, to look back on an eventful year – shaped by the pandemic and a continuous digitalization.
Strong growth in challenging times
As it was the case for nearly every company, George and his team also struggled to deal with the new boundaries that the pandemic forced upon them. Along with the imposed lockdowns and empty offices, one aspect especially suffered from the remote working situation: the communication.
“If you ask me personally about the biggest challenge of home office: it is communication. Communication is something that is essential. And now we need to communicate more than ever. Because in the office people talk, you directly hear things or you can quickly go around and ask. When you are in home office, it is more difficult”, describes George the issue.
But that didn’t hold the company back from growing further. In fact, George can look back on a successful year with Alife & Kickin:
“We actually had a very good year with huge growth in our online business – in our B2C business – especially with retailers like Otto, AboutYou and Zalando. We saw a big growth there”, acknowledges George.
It’s nothing that can be taken for granted in times where many businesses are facing an uncertain future through the temporary closings of their shops. Next to the comparatively low dependence on physical shopping, especially the already advanced structural digitalization of Alife & Kickin was crucial for that.
Well prepared for an inevitable transition
Alife & Kickin is a rather young company, which focussed on its e-commerce potential very quickly. Along with that, the brand also knew the importance of the digital data management of products and processes from the beginning. And this is where Delogue came into play over a year ago as their new PLM solution.
“I am happy with Delogue. What I like most about Delogue is that you work in real time with the suppliers there. And also that it is so user-friendly – that is a big plus. It’s not rocket science, and that is good. If a system takes too long, then it is not a good system“, says George.
He also states that next to the daily calls in Microsoft Teams, especially the working environment in the Delogue system helped to overcome the communication barrier:
“Before there were just Excel sheets, where the communication and commenting was really difficult. With Delogue, we have the chance to deep-dive more into the products. And there are less mistakes, which gives us a safer feeling now. Because everybody is working on the same platform, where you cannot make mistakes basically. It is very difficult to make a mistake in Delogue. That is the biggest win”, adds George.
Even if Alife & Kickin understood the potential of the digital transformation from an early stage, the pandemic still pushed them to further digitize their processes:
The pandemic has forced us into more digitalization, which is not a bad thing.
Transparency as the key to success
Alife & Kickin has a clear mission. To get there, full transparency within the overall production process is fundamental in order to maintain internal control and build customer trust.
“We want to tell our story even more outside and there are more ways to show it. Everyone is claiming to be sustainable, but you also need to prove it. To create trust, you need to be as transparent as possible”, says George.
The brand does not only hold the “PETA Approved Vegan” certification for its animal-friendly production, their collections are also already 90% sustainable with a high focus on recycled materials. To meet the high expectations, which the brand sets for itself, a sound and transparent relationship with its many suppliers is key. And Delogue plays its part in that:
I think Delogue helped a lot to improve the communication with the suppliers. And also to have accurate tech packs and more transparency within and outside the company. This was a huge step forward for us. With more transparency across the teams, everyone knows what there is to do.
And this is just the beginning
Already today, Alife & Kickin goes the extra mile to positively contribute to society and environment. They work closely together with the Berlin “Kältebus” and give all of their product samples to the homeless.
On top of that, the company is on a mission to become even more innovative and sustainable. While their collections are already covering 90% of sustainable clothing by now, the brand aims to be fully sustainable in the near future.
And Alife & Kickin also dives deeper into the digital sphere. Their IT-Team is working on an in-house digital showroom that key partners can already use. Next to that, they focus on making their product journey even more transparent. In the future, videos about the production path will be included in the product descriptions. And Alife & Kickin is working on further projects to actively engage their customers in their efforts and promises for more sustainability.
We are excited to see what the future holds for Alife & Kickin and are proud to be a partner along the way.