Managing Global Environment

Chapter 4
Holden Outerwear: Managing
in a Global Environment Where can snowboarding enthusiasts find apparel that is fashionable around the globe, whether the destination is Vancou- ver’s Cypress Mountain, Switzerland’s Saas-Fee, or Loveland, Colorado? Today’s style-minded boarders buy their snow duds from Mikey LeBlanc, a snowboard professional who founded Holden Outerwear in 2002 to inject fashion into the sport. In just one decade, Holden’s independent do-it-yourself ethic has hit slopes worldwide, from Japan and Norway to France and Canada.
Holden is a brand with attitude. First, the company’s namesake association with Holden Caulfield, the angst-fuelled anti-hero of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, is a symbol not lost on today’s youth. Next, Holden jackets and pants, with their street-wear cuts borrowed from skate culture and the global fashion industry, represent a rejection of the “Michelin Man look” so common among skiers. “Fashion definitely figures in to Holden—that’s where we look for inspiration,” LeBlanc says of his brand’s distinct style. “A lot of our competitors look inside our industry for inspiration. We’ve always looked out- side, whether it was stores, current trends in fashion, or to our friends.” Not only do Holden jackets make a statement, but they also may be good for the planet. Holden fabrics are made from hemp, recycled plastic, and bamboo, and finished garments ship in biodegradable bags that reduce waste while keeping products free of dust. Although Holden boasts followers throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, LeBlanc’s team manages business operations from the sports-apparel Mecca of Portland, Oregon, home to such iconic brands as Nike, Columbia, and Nau. To serve stores in the United States and Canada, Holden maintains an in-house sales team led by a company sales manager. Overseas marketing, however, is handled through partnerships with outside distributors.
Like so many other American brands, Holden apparel is “made in...