The family feel you get from AKU

Where did we go?

We’re back fully Italian-ised from our first sales meeting for a very long time.  The good guys at AKU Footwear extended an invitation to the Spring team. We bit their hand off, naturally.  Well, when you’re flying into Venice en route to Val Gardena, in the Tyrol region of the Dolomites what’s not to like?  What’s more, we got a first look at the exciting product lined up for spring/summer 2023.  (Take it from us … it’s awesome!)

Chris King, sales manager at Ardblair (UK AKU Distributors) listening to the beautiful music coming from somewhere in those hill tops!

What is AKU like?

It’s at an event like this where you are hyper-aware of the culture of a brand – a subtle concept for a PR company to communicate overseas but an important part of what we do nonetheless.  And if we were to drop some cultural words on you about AKU they would be family – Italian – quality – honesty – conscience.  Isn’t that heart-warming?

OK, tell us a bit about AKU

A quick potted history:  AKU is a family-owned footwear business run by Paolo Bordin, son of the founder Galliano.  Galliano came from a family of shoemakers and founded the company at Montebelluno in Northern Italy (there are a lot of footwear brands based here including Scarpa and Geox).  AKU soon began to export walking, trekking, and mountaineering footwear to over 30 countries around the world.  And so passionate was Galliano about the business that he was active in the company just months before he passed away in 2021 (we were lucky enough to meet him). 

Today the brand still exudes a vibe of friendly familiarity eager to share its passion for the Italian outdoors with visitors.  In fact, when you visit AKU you instantly feel a part of the family.  The Italian heritage is evident in everything they do. And when talking Italian hospitality we can’t not mention the food and drink of which there was plenty!  We dined out on typical Italian fare: pizza, pasta, meats, cheese, tiramisu, bomboloni, and apple strudel (we were in Tyrol!)

The ambiance

Putting your AKU footwear to the test is always something that we look forward to and a frolic in the Dolomites was just the ticket.  Singing echoed from high up in the mountains, a nuance engineered by Vittorio, head of marketing – honestly, it was magical.  The horn player with his traditional hat drew a crowd and a brass band accompanied us while we chomped on cheese, meats, and gherkins.  A perfect setting, a perfect introduction to what was to come the next day.

AKU’s hospitality was second-to-none and included surprise entertainment from the locals!

And what did come the next day?  Presentations of new footwear and sustainability projects and initiatives all of which deserve resounding applause. 

As Paolo Bourdin says “We have super strong content with the work we’ve done on sustainability and responsibility.  We have a strong basis to keep on growing”.

AKU & sustainability

Made in Europe using sustainable, quality, locally sourced materials is a great start but these guys have gone even further.  We can’t wait to get stuck in so brimming with ideas, are we!  Here’s to a more sustainable future in beautiful Italian footwear with a conscience.  Makes you want to go hill walking right now, doesn’t it!

From left to right: Simon Robinson, sales, Ardblair; Chris King, sales manager, Ardblair; Stephanie Briggs, owner, Spring PR

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