by Ettore Pettinaroli
“We entered the sports sector in 2008 in order to diversify the activity of the B Holding company [owned by the Boroli family – eds.] to take advantage of a good market opportunity. But, above all, it was the excitement of stepping onto the field.” Carlo Boroli, president of the Milan-based Briko company is actually an active sportsman – skiing, hiking and cycling are his favorite playing grounds.
“I think this is not irrelevant. I know what people who do sports need and I can give an objective opinion on whether or not a product meets the needs of customers.”
The Briko world is divided into two areas: snow, which generates 70% of its turnover, and bicycles. “To the goggles, face masks and helmets of the previous owners, we have added two lines of high-spec clothing for cross-country skiing and cycling,” he continues. “Our preference is to always emphasize the Italian nature of our products, both in terms of style and originality. You have to be able to see from a distance that it is something designed in Italy, especially in order to be able to take on the international market which is always interested in Made in Italy products.”
Today, Briko has billings of 7.5 million euros (in 2008 this figure was 3.5 million), divided exactly in half between Italy and abroad. However, these percentages are destined to change in favor of foreign markets. Towards this, two branch offices have been opened in Canada and the United States (“where we are especially active in the winter line”), and in recent months a major contract with OberAlp was signed for the distribution of Briko products in Austria, France and Poland. “We are also active in China, a market with immense potential, but only for cycling products. Unfortunately, skiing is not that common there.”
And they have not failed to be recognized. “Lindsay Vonn, the top female skier in the world today, sought us out because of the quality of our helmets and goggles, and today she is our no. 1 testimonial. With other top skiers, like Italy’s Max Blardone and Peter Fill, we have created a relationship that also includes consulting for product development and all-around collaboration, including on social networks. The champion must have a positive attitude and be perceived by the public as someone who fully knows the product he or she wears.”
Although registering positive results in 2011, Briko finished the year under the growth objective it had set. “In fact, starting in late September, sales slowed abruptly,” Boroli acknowledges. To recover, focus is now on new products, from the ski goggles with built-in GPS (already on the market) that makes it possible to see one’s speed, altitude and terrain in real time, to the Thrama Evo lenses which, by increasing contrast, assure visibility even on days in which diffused light makes the skier’s life difficult.
Sports enthusiasts will also see new things in stores, thanks to the Briko 10.0 project presented in recent days at ISPO in Munich. Starting next fall, helmets and goggles will be able to be personalized by choosing your personal color scheme for the various components, from the top of the helmet to the goggle frame, offering a total of 10,000 different combinations.