Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on January 14, 2009
Obsessive-compulsive G Living fans know I’m a fan of SIGG. I’ve waxed lyrical about the environmental perks (sipping water from an aluminum reusable water bottles is obviously preferable to downing H2O from the plastic disposable kind), the health benefits (plastic bottles leach toxins) and the aesthetic enjoyment (top fashion designers including Michael Kors, Anna Sui and Donna Karan recently created one of a kind designs for the Swiss bottle maker). According to an article in Reuters, I’m just one of the many, many SIGG devotees.
Based in Frauenfeld, Switzerland, a small town 30 miles north of Zurich, SIGG is a relatively small company with just 100 full time employees. Until recently, the company had limited distribution in Europe and an annual turnover of approx $1 million. Today SIGG products can be found in over 40 countries with sales between $30 and $100 million. So what happened?
Although the general interest in all things green hurt, much of SIGG’s success can be attributed to some clever behind the scenes maneovering by US private equity company, Riverside — a company which specializes in investing in premier small to mid size companies. SIGG global CEO, Steve Wasik, knew that the challenge for bottle maker was to broaden its appeal “beyond hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts,” says Wasik. “We saw that it could be more than a functional product. We saw that it could be a fashion accessory.” And therein lies the answers. After some revealing market research, the company successfully transitioned from mere manufacturer to must have product. Stocked at the trendy Whole Foods chain and yoga studios to hosting design competitions and “developing new channels of distribution,” SIGG is thinking big and it’s paying off.
So regardless of whether you are into SIGG to do good by the environment, out of concern for your health or purely as a fashion statement, this is one obsession you can be proud of.