Earlier this year, I wrote a feature about ISPO Gold Award winners – the team at Cortez Outerwear. Their attitude, innovation and enthusiasm caught my imagination so it was a pleasure to deal with them. Earlier this month, I was surprised to receive an email from brand co-owner Wiebe Poelmann which included the following news, ‘I’m writing you to announce that Cortèz Outerwear continues as Cortazu. Why? Read our story below and learn more about the bright future ahead.
‘Our adventure started back in 2017. We launched Cortèz Outerwear on Kickstarter and a new outdoor brand was born. By embracing a direct-to-consumer model to create the highest-quality outerwear at an attractive price point we were able to grow rapidly. Of course, we had our ups and downs but within 2 years’ time our team of just 4FTE sold products to +3500 customers living across +50 countries.
‘Our growth did not go unnoticed. Shortly after our latest campaign we received a letter from one of the biggest sportswear companies in the world: Nike. After we opened the letter and read its content we knew we had another challenge to overcome. Nike wanted us to stop using the name Cortèz to avoid any confusion with one of their product lines featuring the same name.
‘The result? After lots of conversations and extensive negotiations it occurred the only option was to stop using Cortèz Outerwear. They say, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, right? So, today marks an important day for our company as we will continue as Cortazu.’
I wanted to check with the guys how they felt about the development and it came as no surprise that they are upbeat, forward-looking and moving on. I put a couple of fundamental queries to Wiebe.
How do you feel about the name change?
In a running business, a name change takes time and effort. Customers need to be informed and the logos need to be changed, especially for production purposes. Luckily, we received many positive replies and our customers are very supportive. Like them, we do prefer to see this change as something positive instead of negative. We know there will always be challenges to overcome as this is part of a growing business. So, we take them as they come and keep focussing on our goal.
What are your plans for the future?
Although our name has changed, our strategy did not. We still source the best components on the market, focus on functionality and style and, together with the factory, create the best outerwear we can possibly make. Afterwards, we sell it directly to our customers and skip as many middle-men as possible, all with the goal to create the highest quality outerwear for a much better price. This is how we started and why customers in over 55 countries have bought our products. So, this is also how we’ll continue.
Good luck and best wishes, Cortazu!