Samsoe & Samsoe - Leander Struijk (CM Benelux)

Danish brand Samsøe & Samsøe is breaking into new territories with a growing cluster of carefully conceived standalone stores. Fusion Associates caught up with Leander Struijk to discuss the strategic path ahead.

Leander Struijk

Leander Struijk

Samsøe & Samsøe was founded in 1991. How would you sum up the brand today?

The brand’s identity is very distinctive and it’s now offering a full product spectrum for men and women – ranging from clothing, jeans, suiting and footwear to accessories and underwear. One of Samsoe & Samsoe’s strengths is value for money – we want to offer well-designed, on-trend pieces in good quality at reasonable prices.

What’s behind the growth seen over the last decade?

The Samsoe brothers set up the label in Copenhagen in 1993, offering menswear only. The company was acquired in 2000 and it is now headed by Per Ulrik and Peter Sextus. It has developed a lot over the last decade– womenswear was introduced in 2004 and we embarked on our retail business at the same time. Retail now accounts for as big a share as wholesale and we operate nearly 50 stores with more to come. Our standalone stores have helped us communicate our values clearly.

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What are the key strategies behind Samsoe & Samsoe’s current expansion?

We believe strongly in handling everything in-house, from retail and showrooms to sales and production. By managing every aspect of the business ourselves, we’re able to convey the right message, elevating the brand to the same level across all regions in which we operate. We’ll continue to focus on retail as it enables us to offer the entire collection within one space, allowing consumers to take advantage of one-stop-shopping and immerse themselves fully in the Samsøe & Samsøe world. Wholesale remains an important part of the strategy and we’re currently developing our showroom network across Scandinavia and the Benelux area.

In which cities have you opened stores most recently and which new territories are on your radar?

We recently opened new stores in Amsterdam and Oslo and we’re currently negotiating several possibilities in Germany, Holland and Belgium. We’re currently focusing on Germany and the Benelux region, but we will always consider new opportunities in our home market and Scandinavia as a whole.

Who’s behind the store concepts?

We work with our own in-house architect, the talented Morten Hedegaard. He’s worked closely with the executive team to come up with the entire store concept, from the overall design to furniture and fittings.

Is there a set retail model or does each store have its own identity?

Each project is designed on an individual basis. An old grand building needs to be handled differently than a new-build, for example. But the design direction is consistent – all our stores are created with a clean, minimalist feel, which is in line with the brand itself. We work with luxury materials throughout, ranging from wood to leather and copper. Every fixture and piece of furniture is designed exclusively for the brand and this ties in with our determination to handle every aspect of the business in-house.

Who is the Samsøe & Samsøe’s consumer?

A man or a woman between the ages of 25 and 45 who’s trend conscious and appreciates quality and well-made product. Our consumers care about the look of a garment but also the feel of it. A lot of them work in the creative industries across design, fashion and music.

FashionAlex Pescott