AMG Group controls the UK distribution rights for Ugg, the most important footwear brand this decade. AMG sales and marketing director Dave Snowdon explains the Ugg evolution.
On a California beach in 2002, Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson, bronzed and blonde, is frolicking with a pair of classic Uggs swaddling her feet.
Fast-forward five years and the Pammy pics that lit the fuse on the Ugg explosion seem a million miles away from the grey industrial estate just outside Port Glasgow, off the A8, that is the home of AMG, Ugg’s UK distributor.
The sky may be miserable, but AMG sales and marketing director Dave Snowdon is bright and chipper. His upbeat attitude could be due to the role he admits playing in Ugg’s successes since he joined in 2006, which have seen sales at AMG’s footwear division rocket by more than 250% year on year.
The Ugg brand itself is a marketer’s dream. The biggest phenomenon to hit footwear since the likes of Dr Martens or Timberland, Ugg’s success is almost entirely attributable to the brand’s huge popularity among the celebrity set. “I think there is an element of celebrity endorsement,” agrees Snowdon. “But I also believe that the product stands on its own two feet.”
Whether down to celebrity endorsement or otherwise, the Ugg trend has refused to disappear. The brand has lit up the fashion radar every winter since 2002 and continues to drive sales for its 220 UK stockists.
It was in 2002 that AMG began its relationship with US footwear giant Deckers Outdoor Corporation, owner of the Ugg Australia brand. AMG initially landed the distribution license in 2002 for Teva, the outdoor footwear brand also owned by Deckers.
So impressed was Deckers with how AMG handled Teva, growing sales from a standing start to 28% of the AMG footwear business in five years, that it took Ugg away from footwear agent Michael Pearce and awarded the UK distribution rights to AMG in autumn 05. AMG has now built a business that last year sold more than £7 million of Ugg product.