This story is a little bit more on the personal side as it has been one of my main projects over the last 12 months. I wanted to create something new that lived up to the values that I had been educated with during my time in Bata which had started to fade in the group, working with legendary Bata Men in the field. I was fortunate to learn so much from very experienced managers like Marcelo Villagran, Just Fuentes, Jim Russell, (just to name a few) and thus I was delighted to finally be able to act on these ideals in a fresh environment coupling them with my passion for skiing, as well as the environmental values that now are self-evident. In July 2019 - the idea of Mont Gele Gear (MGG) was born - a brand that would be transparent, technically excellent, good value, made in Europe and made sustainably. (I know that is a mouthful, but cannot be abridged to convey it's essence meaningfully)
Mont Gele Gear was inspired by the epynomous Mont Gele in Verbier. The Mont Gele is one of the most fearful and famous free-ski mountains around. My friends and I had spent our youth skiing this mountain and getting to know (and fall) down all it's perpendicular couloirs and ridges, so it felt only fit that it would provide us with the name. The crunch moment came a few years ago, when we were skiing in January on the Mont Gele at 3,000 meters, and we were in t-shirts the weather was so hot. It felt eery and unnatural. Beyond anything we could have imagined in terms of climatic irregularity. Following that we did our research and started to understand the dire effects that global warming and wasteful consumption habits were having on the ski industry and environment. This is when we decided that, when we created our brand, we would do so in a transparent way - reassuring our community that we were working with the future in mind.
The Mont Gele Gear team was assembled over following months with two partners joining on in the early phases and a friend and colleague of mine that I had worked with in Bata joining us to manage the operational functions. Our first challenge was to find suppliers that could create what we had envisaged and that were willing to work with us in a totally transparent way. This pretty much wrote off producing in Asia as labour and transparency standards were impossible to control adequately, so led us first of all to the Czech Republic. We were fortunate in Czechia to find two beautiful small factories that were willing to commit to excellence and our approach to product that have now become key to our supply chain. They were eventually joined by manufacturers in Portugal and Turkey that help complete the roster.
The team is incredibly international and thanks to the digital economy (and covid-19) we don't have an office. Our team and partners are located in the UK, France, Czechia, Switzerland, Portugal, Cyprus, Austria, Italy and many more places throughout Europe! We are very proud of this and believe it demonstrates the potential of the European single market and the massive resources that are available in working together across borders.
Our goal is for MGG to become a leading e-commerce first brand, with limited retail and wholesale. We believe that this allows us to offer the best combination of value, environmental footprint and efficiency for our customers. I invite anyone interested to visit us at montgelegear.com and find out more. We are happy to provide the Bata Community with a special discount using the code MGGPARTNER15 .
Thank you for your support and cheers to making MGG a great success.