Dr. Martens: 60 Years Putting the Right Boot Forward
Craig White | Director
60 years ago, if the brand “Dr. Martens” was mentioned, your brain would instantly dance off to images of mohawked punks stomping around, leaving a trail of anarchy behind in their iconic yellow-stitched footsteps. It’s true that’s where the brand really began, but half a century later the landscape has changed somewhat, and Dr Marten’s versatile product offering has become a staple amongst young trendsetters and influencers.
Everyone from Gigi Hadid to Emma Watson have been kicking the glossy heels and opting for the super comfortable boots, and one style in particular seems to be dominating – the original 1460s. Strewn all over the tabloids are images of celebrities donning the boots for a casual look or even paired with dresses and suits at red-carpet events. The brand’s versatility knows no bounds and when we step out of our doors and onto the streets of our home cities, spotting feet adorned with Dr. Martens is almost a guarantee.
Huge year-on-year financial growth
This popularity of gigantic proportions is reflected in the brands annual revenue. And, according to their 2018 – 2019 full-year financial report, the year closed out with full year revenue up 30% to £454.4m, with retail up 30% year on year to £126.7m. Their success at retail is partly attributed to the celebrity brand fans donning the boots, but there’s also a lot to be said with the cutting edge, unique customer-centric stores that have been capturing the consumers attention.
Customer-centric stores with star quality
When it comes to retail, Dr. Marten’s stores are ceasing to be simply rows upon rows of pretty boots perched on shelves, and they’re beginning to become an immersive experience which puts their target audience at its heart. Combining edgy, industrial elements which pays homage to the brands tough appeal with cool tech aspects, this is a brand that knows what the consumer likes and is owning it.
A prime example of this is with their Camden, London store which opened in 2017. Part experience, part live music venue, part shop, this store brings together the youth subculture and music mix with an intimate space called ‘The Boot Room’, created to showcase up and coming artists to a maximum of 60 guests. And, the store boasts interactive aspects such as a design your own boots station and a VR factory tour.
It’s stores such as these which have started to become something which customers peel themselves away from their screens for, with the promise of their physical stores allowing individuals to get up close and personal with Dr. Marten’s alluring brand personality.
What does the future hold?
Where the CEO, Kenny Wilson has outlined plans to start pouring more funds into digital, he’s also indicated in an interview with footwear news that he sees no future of slowing down with the creation of the iconic Dr. Marten stores and believes them to be a crucial part of customer’s purchasing habits:
"We believe that stores play and important role in allowing our customers to interact with the full range of the product and try the product on, which is important with footwear."
2019 saw the brand open 20 new stores across the globe including 8 in Europe, 4 in the US, 6 in Japan and 2 in Hong Kong, so with this in mind, we should see more Dr. Marten’s doors flying open in the next 5 years and the creation of more mesmerising customer experiences. This continued store growth is also supported by the fact that in November 2019, 2 million was invested into one of their production factories based in Northampton, as part of their plan to double production by 2020.
2020 celebrates 60 years of the iconic 1460 boot and there’s no plans in the pipeline to slow down. So, if the past is anything to go by, the future indicates a bright and lucrative future of more customer-centric stores, more products and if executed correctly, more boots stomping into the hearts and homes of consumers all over the world.