Urban consumers are also the target of another Canada Goose expansion project: retail stores. This year the company is opening two stores, in Toronto and New York, to court its new fans. Dani Reiss, Canada Goose’s chief executive officer since 2001, said he’ll “definitely” open more Canada Goose outposts in busy cities, though he doesn’t envision a fleet of hundreds of shops.Reiss has tried this seasonal expansion before. None of the attempts, which go back 10 to 12 years according to Reiss, were successful enough to warrant keeping the products around. This time, he hopes the red-hot Canada Goose name will push shoppers into buying.“It’s one of the hardest things to do for a brand–to make counter-seasonal products,” said Reiss, 42. “We make the warmest jackets. As we become a company that’s known to more and more people around the world, and not at the South Pole, they want stuff that has the same functionality, but built for them.”
It’s a key initiative for Canada Goose, as Reiss doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into selling nothing but superwarm coats for eternity. He must count on low temperatures each year to keep sales churning. With expansion on his mind, diversifying through the seasons was the next logical step.“Their credibility is in outerwear,” said Jaqui Lividini, CEO of brand strategy consultancy Lividini & Co. Canada Goose should be able to push protection against all the elements, she said. “They just happen to specialize in snow wear.”You’re going to see more products suited for urban environments.Next spring, expect Canada Goose to release even more spring styles–windwear, rainwear, ultra-lightweight items. For now, though, the York, Ont.-based company will stay an outerwear maker, and there are no current plans to get into ready-to-wear apparel, said Reiss.“You’ll see other things that are more diverse than just rain,” said Reiss. “You’re going to see more products suited for urban environments.”Dani Reiss had no intention of running a billion-dollar clothing empire when he joined his dad’s shop making winter parkas 20 years ago. He was an English literature graduate from the University of Toronto, looking for a few bucks to finance his travel plans.“The last thing I ever thought I would do was work for my parents in the family business,” Reiss said in an interview last year. “I wanted to be a short-story writer; I wanted to write fiction.”
Many cold weather companies have attempted to stretch into spring and summer, with varying degrees of success. Ski jacket maker Moncler Spa is working to win the warmer months with apparel and accessories. Ugg Australia, seller of comfy shearling booties, is so famous for its footwear that executives worried it was doomed to be forever known for one product. The company has pushed into all kinds of items now, from sandals to handbags, in an effort to become less tethered to winter.The question for Canada Goose is whether it can be known as more than a winter label. Reiss is trying to convince shoppers that his brand is about tech–proprietary fabrics and performance features. Indeed, that’s how the products are marketed. One lightweight anorak, for instance, touts a “laminated microporous 2.5 layer fabric” called Bi-Durance.5 and a water-resistant YKK Vislon zipper.