UGG Case Study: A Look into the Brand’s Strategy

UGG Case Study: A Look into the Brand's Strategy

UGG  is a very popular fashion brand that is mostly known for its sheepskin boots. There are over 130 stores worldwide and a website that ships to countries all over the world. UGG has been well known and liked for many years, they hit peak popularity in the 2010s but have quickly emerged as a consumer favorite in the past few years. 

UGG’s sheepskin boots and slippers are the perfect shoes to wear during the winter to keep yourself warm while remaining comfortable and stylish. The brand’s footwear has classic colors like tan, black, and cream but also offers fun and vibrant colors such as pink, red, blue, green, and others! 

UGG also has clothing that has started to gain popularity. They mostly focus on warm and comfortable pieces. Additionally, UGG has entered the home goods industry and has been pretty successful. Their bedding such as comforters and blankets has become very popular recently. 

UGG’s Products

  • Men’s & Women’s
    • Footwear
      • Slippers
      • Boots & Chukkas
      • Classic boots
      • Weather boots
      • Sneakers
      • Moccasins & Shoes
      • Heels & Platforms
      • Sandals & Slides
      • Extended Sizes 
      • Socks
      • Care & Cleaning
    • Apparel & Accessories
      • Robes & Sleepwear
      • Outerwear
      • Hoodies & Sweatshirts
      • Sweaters & Cardigans
      • Loungewear
      • Tops
      • Bottoms
      • Pants & Joggers
      • Dresses & Jumpsuits 
      • Handbags
      • Cold Weather Accessories
      • Plus Size Apparel
      • Basics
  • Kid’s 
    • Boots
    • Slippers
    • Weather Boots
    • Classic Boots
    • Sandals & Slides
    • Sneakers
    • Cold Weather Accessories 
    • Blankets
  • Home
    • Blankets & Throws
    • Decorative Pillows & Poufs
    • Bedding
    • Sheepskin Area Rugs & Decor

UGG’s Beginnings

UGG was founded in 1978 by Brian Smith. Brian was an Australian surfer who moved to California in the US. This makes UGG an American company, but since it is founded by an Australian it has a unique vibe to it. The brand quickly gained popularity and by the mid-1980s, it became a symbol of SoCal beach culture. Initially, the brand only had the classic sheepskin boots, but as it grew to be worn by fashion figures and the rest of the world, it quickly expanded to apparel, accessories, homeware, and more footwear. 

The name UGG originated from the name for utilitarian footwear that was worn mostly for warmth. These were called UGG boots and were commonly worn by surfers, which makes perfect sense when considering who the founder was. The fact that the boots were first worn by surfers may be surprising and hard to believe since surfing is viewed as a beach sport that is done in the summer. However, professional surfers must surf year-round, even in the cold, so they often used UGG boots to keep their feet dry and warm after surfing sessions in the freezing water. 

UGG’s Modernization of Their Products

UGG has developed its products a lot since they were released. In the 2010s UGGs were extremely popular worldwide. Celebrities and normal people alike wore them daily during the colder months. UGG’s products back then matched the times’ fashion very well, but as fashion began to develop they lost their trendiness and popularity. In the 2010s when they were extremely popular, the higher classic boots were very popular, along with the Bailey ones that included bows on the back of the boot. All colors of UGGs were extremely sought out and many people had multiple pairs. The tan boots have always been the classic and consumer favorite, but back then many people really enjoyed the vibrant colors such as the pink ones! 

After falling off the big trends list for around 5 years, UGGs have recently made a very strong comeback. The brand released new boot models that fit modern fashion styles and quickly caught the eyes of fashionistas! For example, they created shorter versions of their classic boot that included the Classic Short II, Classic Mini II, and the Classic Ultra Mini. These boots exactly resemble the classic UGG boots but the height of them and where they reach on your leg is different for each boot. The high boot trend was over, so UGG adapted and made shorter options. Customers have different preferences when it comes to the boot height, so having many different shorter options was a very smart move on UGG’s part. In Addition to these options, UGG released a platform version of the Classic Mini boot. Platform shoes have been one of the biggest trends these past few years, so UGG capitalized on the trend and released its own version of the shoe.

Aside from these variations of UGG’s Classic Boot, the brand also released many new styles that have become very popular. UGG has ventured into the slipper and slides industry and has successfully made several types that are very popular; The Fluff Yeah Slide, Scuffette II Slipper, and the Tasman Slipper. The Fluff Yeah Slide is a very fluffy slide with a strap on the back. It has a platform sole and many people purchase this slide in either black or a fun color. The Scuffette II Slipper is more of a lounge and relaxed activity kind of shoe, it has no back to it but it is very warm and fashionable. It has a very skinny sole which makes it perfect to wear around the house. Finally, the Tasman Slipper is the perfect mix between a shoe and a slipper. It is fully enclosed but hits below the ankle for a snug yet relaxed fit. It is a great everyday shoe for simple activities during the colder months. It also has a detailed lining around the ankle, which adds a pop of fashion to a classic and comfortable shoe. 

These shifts and modernizations of UGG’s classic products put UGG right back into the footwear market. The brand is very strong and has a competitive advantage since they have been around for so long and have been able to stay popular and relevant through different fashion eras. 

UGG’s Responsible Actions and Commitments

UGG’s self-awareness and proactive mindset when it comes to things like sustainability, DE&I, and animal welfare is also another reason the company has become very popular again. With the new perspectives and focuses within society, it is crucial for companies to pay attention to these topics in order for them to be successful. UGG has done just that, they have taken specific actions and made further commitments to pay attention to the things that really matter. 

Sustainability

UGG is striving for a more regenerative world. They say that being regenerative goes beyond recycling, organic, and sustainable. They have three aspects they focus on; people, the planet, and products. 

Be Good to People

UGG recognizes that its people are the reason for its success, so they are focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. They strive to be advocates for their employees, customers, community, and more. They focus on diversity, gender equality, and female empowerment. UGG practices what they preach by employing over 45 thousand women within its supply chain and donating to various causes including supporting social and racial justice and people in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Do Good for the Planet

UGG’s focus is to minimize the environmental impact their operations create in order to protect the planet for future generations. The following are commitments and actions made by UGG:

  • “By 2025, we’ve vowed to help convert one million acres of grassland into regenerative farmland, and we’ve already converted 200,000 acres so far.”
  • A commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses. The brand has already reduced them by 31.6% per pair of shoes. 
  • “There are 1,170 solar panels at UGG GQ, which is LEED Silver certified to demonstrate its energy efficiency.” 
  • “UGG’s recycled paper efforts have saved over 2.4 million trees since 2017.”
  • “Over 95% of wood-based products from responsible sources.”

All quotes from this section came from the UGG website (link). 

Refelt

As part of UGG’s regenerative world commitments, they have released a ReFelt collection. The felt used in this collection is made with recycled plastic bottles and the outsole foam is made with renewable sugarcane. This renewable sugarcane removes CO2 from the atmosphere and does not require irrigation, which is very beneficial to the environment. This collection includes Tasman and Neumel models. 

Animal Welfare

UGG is committed to maintaining animal welfare and sourcing the materials needed for its products ethically. UGG uses sheepskin, leather, suede, wool, down, cotton, and hemp so a big priority for them is to select the materials and where they come from with intention and care. To do so, they monitor animal welfare standards at their suppliers and also try to gain a deeper understanding of their environmental impacts. 

They only work with suppliers that comply with their strict ethical sourcing and animal welfare policy and their compliance is verified annually even after it is checked initially. The suppliers must follow the Five Freedoms: 

  1. Free from Discomfort
  2. Free from Pain
  3. Free from Distress
  4. Free from Fear
  5. Free from Hunger

UGG is only sourced from permitted animal hides, in a humane way, and never from endangered or vulnerable species. The brand does not use exotic skins, domestic or feral cats and dogs, angora rabbit, or rabbit hair. They have also made a commitment to not use Alpaca as of the Fall 2023 season. Lastly, they only use the by-product hides from animals that were raised for the food industry, because they do not believe in killing animals solely for their fur. 

UGG’s Fight Against Counterfeit Products

UGG has an entire page on its website dedicated to helping its customers be able to spot counterfeit products that are designed to look like UGGs. Many different people try to create counterfeit UGG products and sell them. This is very bad because there is no way to know how the products are made and with what material, which can be bad for the environment. Also, people will be charged full UGG prices for counterfeit products that never have the same quality as the true products. This is why UGG cares about educating its customers about the potential counterfeiting of its products. The page on their website, linked here, includes pictures to help customers decipher the differences. 

Customer Segmentation in the Fashio...
Customer Segmentation in the Fashion Industry

Final Thoughts: UGG’s Smart Decisions Led Them to Revive Their Successful Brand

Although UGG has always been successful, the brand’s popularity definitely declined from around 2015-2020. The brand quickly realized it needed to make some changes to gain back its popularity in the fashion world. Without straying from its roots, UGG remodeled some of its most popular and classic products. They also added new products that quickly gained the attention of people all around the world. UGG saw the opportunity to revamp its products and it capitalized on it. If you are hoping to get a pair of UGG boots, now is the perfect time to do so. As the weather in Europe and North America gets colder these shoes tend to sell out quickly and it may take a while to get your hands on them once they do sell out!

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UGG Case Study: A Look into the Brand’s Strategy In this post, we're looking into UGG to understand how the success of this company has to do with both fashion and sustainability.
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