Earlier this year we formed a new partnership with one of the leading high-quality sportswear in the world, Craft, and a leading running concept store in Denmark, Kaiser Sports. How does this new partnership supplement the Albatros Adventure Marathons brand?
Our goal at Albatros Adventure Marathons is to offer our runners the best experience possible in every way, and this includes our merchandise and services. Having races in a wide range of locations means that each race requires very specific training, gear and conditions to be able to succeed.
Let’s delve into the story behind Craft and Kaiser Sport, and how their values align with our own.
It all began with a Swedish fighter pilot
Back in 1973, Anders Bengtsson, a pilot and cross-country runner, found himself troubled by the following scenario: he is ejected from his seat into extremely cold air in his underwear, often drenched in sweat. Finding a fabric that could quickly evaporate the sweat could make the difference between life and death. He needed a fabric that would keep him warm even when sweating in cold air and cold when it was warm.
Being a creative and demanding person, Bengtsson began to put his daily runs to good use. Every day, he would put a fabric on his hot spots and perform the same round of exercise, after which he would measure the moisture content of the fabric and compare it to previous results. It would take him three years to develop a fabric that made a difference when performing high intensity sports. Once he had that fabric, he founded Craft in 1977.
From consumer needs to the 3-layer concept
The Craft principle is based on providing different layers and fabrics to suit all types of activities and temperatures. In order to educate the client, Craft first has to understand the person's needs, what activity do they perform? In what conditions do they perform said activity? There’s a difference between a slow run, where you might need insulation, and an intense run, where you need to evaporate the sweat. Although Craft is usually known for their baselayers, and this is part of their DNA, they have since gone through a significant transition and expanded to other categories as well, including a second layer for insulation and moisture transportation and an outer shell. In order to fulfill demand from different markets, Craft works from the elite and down, adjusting as they move downwards. We develop products to fulfill the needs of top performing athletes and then adjust them to fit a wider and more commercial market.
Running in extreme conditions
Albatros Adventure Marathons organizes marathons from one extreme condition to another, from the Jordanian desert to the Arctic Circle. The needs of these runners fit perfectly with Craft products, for example, sun protection in the base layer, very important to avoid body temperature rising too fast, such as in Petra Desert Marathon and Bagan Temple Marathon.
“When you run an extreme race, choosing the correct gear will get you pretty far and gives you an experience that will make you want to come back for another race. We are in a position where we know we can make a difference, if you ask us for a guideline on how to make a better experience for the participant, then we can assist much more than other brands.”
- Heine Westbæk, Craft Brand Manager
The rise of the competence concept store
The idea of a new triple partnership was initially suggested by Jacob Gliese, External Sales Manager for Kaiser Sport. Gliese has been a part of the Albatros Adventure Marathons team for over twelve years, as a race official. He has travelled with us to China for the Great Wall Marathon and to Greenland for the Polar Circle Marathon. To him, it seemed only natural that Kaiser Sport provide their services to complement what we already offer to our runners.
Kaiser Sports and Orthopedics is better described as a competence store, where a retail store and clinic have been merged into one.
“Where there is a movement in the body, we have the solution [to prevent injuries, to treat injuries, or simply to provide you with the best gear].”
- Jacob Gliese, External Sales Manager for Kaiser Sport
That is how the idea of Kaiser Sport was born in 1999. The staff at Kaiser Sport is like no other we’ve seen before, the staff is highly educated in a wide range of areas, from biomechanics to physiotherapy. As countless retail stores struggle to survive, Kaiser Sport and their exceptional service has allowed them to keep moving forward. However, expanding their services such as B2B sales, has also been part of their strategy to find new ways to survive.
Think big: across-borders big
“Our goal is to open 1 new store every year for the next 10 years. Not only in Denmark, but also to expand on the other side of the border.”
- Jacob Gliese, External Sales manager, Kaiser Sport
Runners travelling to the Polar Circle Marathon come to Copenhagen for a few days beforehand, they will get the opportunity to meet Jacob and get a good deal on Craft equipment before flying up to Greenland.
Despite Gliese’s longstanding relationship with us, he has never participated in any of our races. However, we hope to see him next year at Big Five Marathon or Bagan Temple Marathon (he has expressed interest in these). After all, he is a former national champion in 800 meters on track so he should be able to take-on any Albatros Adventure Marathon.
Top-quality service for high-performing runners
In a world where web shops are expanding and prices keep dropping, a lot of sports stores don’t know where to position themselves, this is not the case for Kaiser Sport. They serve the 6-8% of customers who demand top-quality service and are willing to pay the price. Kaiser Sport has three main values, these are passion, knowledge and human closeness. The Kaiser employee will take the time to understand the needs of the customer and provide them a solution specifically tailored to them.
P is for partnership and performance
That is where we find an overlapping goal with Craft and Kaiser Sport, we also want to provide the best marathon adventure for our runners, and we can only do this if we also provide the best local know-how and performance wear.