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The Graduate


At timezone people are ready for the next chapter of the story: with new manpower, streamlined processes and a collection statement which is more self-assured and modern.

Wolfgang Endler was always an unusual entrepreneur. A cabinetmaker by training, he stayed above water by teaching surfing and importing various sportswear brands until founding Escape Clothing GmbH and the fashion label Timezone in 1993.

After running his sportswear label successfully for a number of years, recently Timezone has become a denim and casualwear brand that is now more or less standing still. “The danger is that when you’re doing well you might fall behind in the race. Recently, there was some stagnation at Timezone, but we weren’t in dire straits,” says Uwe Kauert, who was named managing director of Timezone by Endler in December 2013.

Endler felt that something had to change to ensure the success of his company. He didn’t want to sell the company–he wanted to hand it on. He stopped working at the company on a day-today basis and handed the reins over to Kauert and bought land in Inntal, Bavaria, close to Brannenburg, where a former army barracks complex was located.

There, spread across 15 hectares of land, a multigeneration living space called “Dahoam” for 850 people is being built where senior citizens care for children and in return are taken to the theater by working moms. The entire Timezone administration building will relocate from Stephanskirchen to Dahoam 20 kilometers away by mid-2016 at the latest.

But it isn’t only a new location which marks the company’s new start toward “Timezone 2.0.” The main focus of modernization is not only new processes and organizational structures but the product of course. With more reserved branding, a smaller range of
basic looks and pushing the fashion envelope within the collection, Timezone is targeting more fashion-conscious customers. “We don’t want to be a trendsetter, but pick up on trends earlier at the business level,” explains Kauert.

Klaus Hämmerle (previously responsible for menswear) was named to the newly created position of head of design to ensure this takes place and the design team expanded in order to devote more energy to shirts and knitwear in particular. The market team has also rolled up its sleeves.

Headed by Sven Schlager, who has been with Timezone since August 2013, among other things a new brand logo was created: with cut-off corner, timeless typeface and the characteristic red “T.” The new logo will be unveiled for the first time for the spring/summer 2015 seasons. With the corporate motto of “Real People” the collection was presented with friends and acquaintances of Timezone employees instead of with models. “This authenticity may seem artificial elsewhere, but with us it’s real.

Here it is not about dressing up to be something else, it is about getting dressed, about people and their character. A friendly familiarity is our company philosophy,” says Kauert. The revamped and cleaner typeface line will also be shown off at POS, on hangtags, displays, etc. “In the next 24 months we want to focus on extending our presence through shopin- shops.

We aren’t currently considering running our own retail,” adds Kauert. He is generally convinced that revenue growth doesn’t have to be generated through new markets but that Timezone can also continue growth with existing customers–by retailers who used to  only order basics from Timezone now also purchasing fashion items.

Nevertheless, Kauert also has new opportunites in mind. “We are completely under  represented in major cities just now,” he says. There are also definite plans for overseas markets, where Timezone achieves about 40% of its sales revenue. That means a new Timezone office will be opening in China and operations on the Chinese market will be pursued with a local retailing partner.

Even with so many ideas in the pipeline, Kauert is very aware that it can take up to two or three years before his strategy bears fruit. “I am not a big fan of rapid or radical changes. Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can take two steps forward,” he says.