After getting the chance to hear Harvey Jacobson of the Jacobson Group talk at an event I recently attended, I want to get my hands on some Manchester Heritage. Yes, that means I want some Gola!
Harvey Jacobson’s company owns, among other brands, Gola. Gola is one of the UK’s oldest fashion brands and considers itself one of the major British Heritage brands in the sports/fashion sector. I couldn’t agree more. The look of Gola is typically Northern British, and this aesthetic has been reinforced by clever branding, marketing and undeniably the Gallagher brothers. When asked, at the event, who the most famous person he has ever met was, Jacobson retold the story of when Noel Gallagher called Jacobson Group and asked ‘can you get some trainers for me and our kid?’.
Many of the event’s audience were made up of Importers/Exporters because Jacobson Group does not only own and supply its own brands but also makes and distributes footwear for a vast number of shoe Retailers, Designers and Wholesalers. People in the audience were also interested in Jacobson’s brands and Harvey’s personal successes with branding. Of creating a brand, Harvey said: “It’s very hard to build a brand from nothing. All of the successful brands we own, we bought” his cut throat but brilliant advice continued throughout the night including when the question was asked about his recent Gola Caranby St store.
A member of the audience asked when would Manchester, the home of Gola, see a stand-alone store? Jacobson answered, much to the dismay of many in the audience: ‘I’m from Manchester and I’m proud of it, but business is business and I go where the business is … My number two store would be New York.” Harvey then went on to say that ‘Flagships aren’t supposed to make money, they’re supposed to sell a brand’. I totally agree with him, which is why I think Gola would benefit from a flagship in the brand’s home city. A brand so dedicated to British heritage and it’s Northern routes should capitalise on having a stand-alone flagship in the brand’s hometown. Still, I’m not Harvey Jacobson.
Moving on, top items on my Christmas list this year will be – obviously – the Harrier Trainer. Debuted in the late 1960s the shoe became the staple in any trendy lad’s wardrobe. The shoe was then the cutting edge of shoe design technology and remains today and example of craftsmanship and true quality.
I also want one of those Chavy-Chic tracksuit zip jackets. I used to have a Gola one as a kid that my Dad (a true Mancunian if ever there was one – living in Devon now, naturally) got my Brother and I.
If you’re going to step into the sports fashion market, having generally and rather publicly being opposed to it in the past, I think Gola, a brand with true heritage and gutsy focus for the future is a safe bet.
See my report on the topics Harvey covered here
Photography by the lovely Vicki Day, product images from Gola website.