German workwear brand Korntex was introduced to the UK market at the beginning of 2019 and is exclusively distributed through Absolute Apparel. Here the man behind the brand, Alexander Jurack, tells all about the range and plans for the UK market.
Q. Can you provide a little bit of background on Korntex?
A. In my younger years I had a severe motorcycling accident which left me injured and hospitalised. It happened in broad daylight – yet the car’s driver didn’t see me. I kept wondering: how could something like this be avoided in future? High-visibility products were only a niche back then.
It was during this time, that I founded my first enterprise in the textile sector; we were a printing workshop with 25 employees specialised in sublimation, flex transfer, reflective printing and screen printing. Korntex evolved out of that printing business. The safety vest story started off with one carton and last year we shipped 75 sea containers.
Q. Can you provide an overview of your product range to our readers?
A. Our products are divided into three sectors: we offer workwear, automotive and consumer products.
These three sectors comprise high-visibility safety vests, jackets, T shirts, polo shirts and sweaters. Furthermore, children-sized and women’s vests facilitate the inclusion of a wide range of heights, shapes and ages to provide safety for all people.
Other areas are covered as well: rain ponchos and a colourful selection of neckties, bow ties and pocket squares.
As we develop our customer base, we take feedback on board for new product ideas and improvements. We strive to implement these into product development. Naturally, our product selection has grown over time and still is growing.
Q. What makes your products different from other safetywear in the market?
A. Having started off with a printing enterprise, I have always kept the printability of Korntex products in mind. When developing new products, we always think about where the customers may want to have logos printed and what kind of printing technique they would use. We also always make sure to select the most suitable fabrics for both decoration and for wearer comfort.
We naturally place great value on safety regulations. As a result, most of our products have certifications not only for the mere product itself but for printed versions as well. This approach creates convenience for our customers and protects them from potential fines by market watchdogs.
Q. You have partnered with Absolute Apparel to bring your workwear to the UK market. Why did you partner with Absolute Apparel and what advantages does this give you?
A. Out of all the UK-based companies we met with, Absolute Apparel demonstrated the strongest drinking skills (Laughing)! Of course, it didn’t hurt that Absolute Apparel as a family business shares the same values as Korntex, e.g. hard-work ethics and passion about customers and high-quality products.
We were impressed with their efficient distribution centre and the team’s focus on customer service. We knew Absolute would give our UK customer’s the most positive experience as our distributor.
Q. What are your plans for the UK printwear market?
A. Our main goal is to establish a network of like-minded customers who value quality safety products, namely retailers specialised in safety items, printing companies and advertisement agencies.
Although we are already a market leader in Germany, we want to introduce and popularise our brand in the UK high-visibility sector as well as in corporate fashion, with our necktie, bow-tie and pocket-square lines.
Q. Does the UK workwear market differ from the German market?
A. The UK and German workwear markets are both highly competitive, but with different requirements. If we take the weather, for instance, we find that the UK must contend with more foul weather conditions than, say, southern Spain.
However, we can adapt different regions’ specialities to the UK’s requirements and vice versa – all our customers across Europe can benefit from the product feedback we receive from our UK customers. We are looking forward to mastering the new challenges posed by the UK market. We expect to learn a lot on the way and soon to generally apply the new ideas brought up by our UK customers to our product development worldwide.
Q. You say that your overall plan is to become Europe’s number one with safety vests. How do you aim to achieve this goal?
A. With our focus on superior fabrics with practical styling and the networks we are establishing in the UK and other European countries. The ultimate goal is to cover the entire European area and, beyond that, a worldwide network. Which means more partners, hopefully as carefully selected and perfectly matched as our recent partnership with Absolute Apparel.
Q. Do you have any new products in the pipeline?
A. Some of our newer products include high-visibility biking accessories, belts and children-sized products. Beyond that, we will have to wait and see where our new endeavours lead us.
Q. Where do you see the Korntex brand in five years’ time?
A. I see us covering more countries, offering more products, maintaining a stronger market position and working closely with a strong network of dealers all over Europe – all the while widening our product portfolio. We are just beginning our journey.